I’m toying with the idea of going over to the dark side and publishing my junior fantasy as a kindle on Amazon. (I know! I never thought that day would come.) You see, I really think it’s a worthwhile story and I’ve done a good job with it. If I was reviewing it, I’d give it at least three and a half stars. (Rosanne Hawke suggested four!) But, I can’t find a publisher willing to take it. I’ve tried. I’ve been patient. I’ve been polite. Most of them couldn’t be bothered to even send a form letter/ e-mail reply. How hard is it to type, “Sorry. No.” and hit Send? I’ve spent nearly three years waiting…waiting…waiting… I can see why many authors, even those who’ve previously had books printed by traditional publishers, now choose to go the self-publishing route. It’s the sheer frustration of it all.
I’ve never been a big fan of self-publishing. It doesn’t have a good reputation. Unfortunately, anyone with enough cash can get their book printed, regardless of whether it has any literary merit. Too many times I’ve seen work that hasn’t been within coo-ee of an editor, written by someone who needs to revisit the basics of grammar, spelling and telling a story so that it makes sense. And, sadly, every self-published book is tarred with the same brush.
(I know there are some wonderful self-published books. Some of them have been written by friends of mine. I’m not disparaging their work and I hope they realise that.)
The other problem is that to use print on demand, or to do co-publishing, or even to simply pay a printer to put your opus together, you have to pay people. I remember how much it cost just to get three copies of my Masters’ thesis into print. I don’t know how people do it, but I guess having a day job is a big help. Unfortunately, I don’t have a job and I don’t have any money to spare. Any loose change goes towards doctors’ bills and medication. (Yes, I edit, but it’s sporadic work for little gain.)
Then there is the distribution of the things. I’m just not physically up to loading my car boot with boxes of books; driving across the country-side; lugging said boxes out of the car, into a shop and back again, to flog them off one or two books at a time.
BUT the beauty of kindle or e-books is that it’s all done on the net. No lifting boxes. No storing leftover tomes in my shed. No driving miles across desert wastelands.
The cringe factor is still there. Anyone with a bit of technical know how (I’m learning) can upload their stuff. And with e-books, with some companies, there isn’t even the filter of needing enough money! But, these are desperate times.
I posted a manuscript (YA historical novel) to a publisher this week, so I’m still giving the traditional publishing world a chance, but my fantasy adventure about two boys forced to become child soldiers, may well be coming to a kindle near you.
If the traditional publishers don’t do a major rethink, there may come a day when everyone will by-pass them completely. With PCs, i-Pads and smart phones, the technology is already here. (But, I still love and prefer a paper book!)
Anyhoo, watch this space.