Well, it is 7:27 a.m. and I’m drinking cocoa and emailing myself and doing other writerly things before caffeine, so I’m not sure how wise this will be, but here goes.
I’m not self-published. Self-publishing is a complicated and shifting and very-not-homogenous model, but generally speaking, if you can find someone’s books in Barnes & Noble or WalMart, they’re published by one of the major New York publishers (at this point).
I’m published by Scholastic, whom I love. It took me quite awhile to catch their eye, but I am fine with that. Publishing is a hard business, but it does not want to eat your heart.
People ask me if I “agree” with self-publishing, which I think is a weird noun-verb pairing. Self-publishing is not a question. I cannot tell you yes or no. Nor is it something obvious and straightforward like chugging a whole bottle of maple syrup. I would tell you in a heartbeat that the latter would be ill-advised because I’ve never seen anyone that it worked out well for.
Before I was an author, I was an artist. I spent the first part of my art career promoting myself — doing all the advertising, marketing, and art-making myself. I enjoyed it and it gave me total control, but it meant I worked 60 hour weeks and spent 10% of my time making art and the rest marketing it. The second part of my career, I applied to a good gallery and got accepted. They handled the marketing and advertising and … it was glorious. I got to shift to 40 hour work weeks and spending 75% of my work time actually making art.
This is why, for now, traditional publishing is for me. I would rather spend my time writing than marketing. Yes, I must work as part of a team, and I must give up my 100% control of the way my books are put out there, but for the most part, Scholastic really gets me. It doesn’t feel like a compromise. It feels like that gallery: glorious. There is something marvelous about that very first moment that I share a manuscript with Scholastic, and I hear what the marketing and publicity team thinks of it.
Also, I really want to be in every bookstore everywhere. And right now, traditional publishing is the only way to make that happen.
Did that answer the question? Oh! Getting started. I would start by researching agents, personally. Also, I have bunches of writing business and technique posts on the blog, all tagged “how I write.”
Hm. My cocoa is all gone. Also, this girl “Maggie Stiefvater” seems to have emailed me a line to my next novel. Weird.
/rebloggable by request