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Friday, February 27, 2015

Work in Progress: Invitations and Rejections

"I really thought publishing books would be enough," she laughed. "Boy was I wrong."

January first, I decided to start charging a speaker fee (one which could be offset or eliminated by an equivalent or greater purchase of my books) and I am actively seeking out more and different venues in which to sell my stories.

As a result, I have TWO paid speaking engagements lined up, and one sale event. I am giddy beyond belief that two groups who couldn't find time to arrange for me to come speak to its audience when I was offering to do it FOR FREE are now paying for the privilege of my company and expertise.

But some rain must fall on my happy news, as I am still getting rejections like this one:

"Thank you for your interest in [LIT FEST NAME]. Yes, our roster is set and about to be announced. The Foundation realizes that the face of publishing is rapidly changing but at the moment the policy is to invite authors who have been paid for their manuscripts. Many wonderful independently published books are being written everyday. Still, I am sure this policy will remain in place for the foreseeable future."

I know more than a few of the authors on last year's list. There's an eclectic mix of not quite obscure to obscure writers being represented.  Some are University professors with an audience limited to students in their classes. Many are small press, which could include niche press. Like a poetry book with a stapled center and a cardstock cover could be considered superior to one of my books because a university press put its name on it.

On one hand, I understand that not all independent books are created equal. But being arbitrarily excluded from events and libraries because I am not employing middle men (and getting involved in disputes such as HACHETTE V AMAZON) hurts me, readers, and the industry.

There's not much I can do about it -- unless someone wants to buy my book(s) when it's (they're) still in manuscript form? Sure -- I'd like that, too. Give the responsibility of marketing, editing, cover design, LAYOUT (my most frustrating publishing element) -- to an army instead of making me do it myself. Give me more time to write and attend workshops and do speaking tours. If I wanted to take the time to research

But I don't like giving up control (and ultimate responsibility) of and for my books. Is there a grey area to exploit here? Without giving up control -- I need some investor with deep(ish) pockets willing to pay me for my manuscripts and yet let me keep control of their being published in book form. But that sounds like a small press. And around I go again!