Friday, March 30, 2012

The Ever-Evolving Publishing Paradigm

The major misconception I had when I began self-publishing six years ago was the delusion I would operate my tiny publishing house using the same pattern that had evolved for the big publishing houses. Mine would only be smaller. Much smaller. With some modifications. Much smaller, modified, and regional. The path of Loblolly Writer’s House’s books would be manuscript → editor → print/book construction [Hardcopy only–ebooks were a glint in somebody else’s eye, not mine–a book was print on paper.] → Advance Reader Copies (ARCs) → reviewers → warehousing/distribution → fame and fortune.

Okay, not the “fame and fortune” part. Seven years of rejection had left me with no illusions, but I did figure on the other steps. Creating a book was a given. After all, there was no “published author” without one, and despite the fact I sporadically submitted my ARCs to the big five reviewers (Kirkus, Publisher’s Weekly, USA Today, Foreword, and Library Journal), knowing the odds were great against getting a review, I did count on some sort of recognition here and there from local newspapers and magazines. I even got a couple–in small county papers.

I have to laugh when I read a positive and upbeat “how-to” piece created by a book promoter, speaking in generalities and telling me magazines and newspapers are always looking for locals to highlight in their periodicals. Maybe, but my experience tells me those local editors have more takers than they have time and space. As it turns out, the features editor at my local newspaper doesn’t (and didn’t then) believe in reviewing or even highlighting self-published work, and the big reviewers still want books with broad distribution. Today, “features” sections across the nation are disappearing along with their newspapers, and with my fourth book, I didn’t even bother to produce an ARC. No, I’m not giving up; I’m taking a different route.

More on this later. Next week I want to discuss distribution...and how its significance has changed for Loblolly Writer’s House.

Thanks for reading,


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