I am quite good at helping clients achieve their dream of publishing. I have helped launch strong, successful writing careers which I follow with great satisfaction and even delight.
My own publishing story is different.
Maybe I should hire myself.
My publishing journey is not a three hour trip skimming over the smooth interstate of luck in a BMW convertible . My journey, so far, traverses over a a barely discernible track through burned and denuded prairies. My journey is more like riding in the back of a used Chevy through the Bonneiville flats with no AC while clutching a sticky Slurpee meant to last until Salt Lake City, but doesn’t.
If you want to feel better about your own rocky trip to publication, here is mine. Don’t compare, just know you aren’t alone.
The brief version of my trip so far:
Two books, Future Girls and Future Run, were accepted by a local (to me) publisher Eternal Press.
Eternal Press then sold to Caliburn Press (not local).
Caliburn Press’s publisher appeared on Newbie Writers Podcast. Nice man, sincerely interested in doing the best he can by his authors.
Two more Future Girls books were accepted by the acquisition editor at Caliburn Press.
A year later – nothing.
The books were not edited. The books already published and purchased were not promoted. In fact the published books were no longer even available on Amazon. It was like death.
Finally, the publisher offered to all the authors that he was willing to sell back our rights should we want to.
I wanted to.
Now I had four books with no where to go.
I sent off the descriptions to an agent, who respectfully declined.
I sent off the proposals to a service, Publishers Agents and Films. For a fee they submit a proposal to a set number of publishers (I asked for publishers).
That is the current new route for Future Girls.
While I was waiting around for the hand off from publisher to publisher for one set of books, I wrote a book with my podcast partner, Damien – Don’t Write Like We Talk.
This too was accepted for a new (some would say overly ambitious) imprint of Caliburn Press, we were thrilled and even walked through a set of edits.
Yes, you guessed it because you already had looked up the destination on Google Maps. Nothing happened. We went no where. Fast.
I bought back the rights to that manuscript as well.
What to do?
Agent? Publisher? It’s a writing book with a rather unique slant, where would it fit?
I stumbled upon a micro grant program called Awesome. One of the grant chapters originated in Adelaide, home to my podcast partner. I applied to the $1,000 grant program to pay for a book cover design, interior design and publication (ISBN, a small print run, Facebook and Pinterest ads).
I just applied yesterday.
Some authors are lucky. They take a hike, knock out a first draft, sell it to Hollywood for tens of thousands and hit the book tour circuit delivering advice on how to write a best selling book. Their path is clear and free of axle bending potholes (shout out to Petaluma, CA).
I find publishing looks less like the Bat-mobile and more like the car in Beverly Hillbillies.
This is the middle of the saga for a series of books and a single how-to book. The process involved many hours of writing the books, managing the 217 episodes of the podcast, managing what seemed a dream collaboration that then disappeared. Not with a bang, but a whimper.
Don’t feel bad if your first effort wasn’t greeted with a parade and a band. If everyone you mentioned your project to said – meh -. I’m here to tell you it just takes another try, a different angle, pursing another opportunity that is different than what you initially thought you wanted. Take the detour, take the alternative route away from the traffic.
I know it works for my clients. I’m working on taking my own advice and will let you know if the alternative route leads to if not my intended destination, at least a comfortable rest stop.