I couldn't feel more "outside naked" than I do right now. I've decided, after a few weeks of deliberation, to take the reins of publishing my next book. Drive Me Wild has been with a crackerjack agent since last September. An editor at a top publishing house for many years, she had enthusiastic hopes of a bidding war and dreams of movie rights; but traditional publishing, I've figured out, is no longer equipped to see the big picture. They refused to publish another author's latest book because her heroine was 18 years old ... which didn't fit their definition of YA (http://indiereader.com/2012/06/how-amazon-saved-my-life/). They refused mine because I lack a platform. Read: I'm not Sarah Palin. Platform, says my agent, gets more amorphous the closer you get to it. My spirit jumped tracks when Seal Press turned me down three weeks ago. I headed to British Columbia to visit confidant-Carole, who just happened to know an indie press publisher. I sat down with him in his garden for a couple of hours and wafted my way into a new world.
The learning curve was precipitous. It's not self-publishing, it's indie publishing. It's not a book manuscript, it's my intellectual property. Library of Congress numbers are free. POD is print on demand. E-books are as easy as formatting the book, which turns out to be the easy part because first I'm contracting a polish edit. I'd always assumed a publisher would do this. In fact, that's the mantra when one goes indie. It's like divorcing the husband and striking out on your own. Leaving the church behind; the Pope in the dust. Departing a job with benefits. Bottom line, I'm on my own. Edit. Blurbs. Fonts.Cover design. And things I can't begin to imagine. Yet.
I consulted several editors and asked for samples from each. The one I hired recommended a woman to format for CreateSpace (my POD copies), Amazon and Smashwords, who will get my e-book onto the major e-distributors (Apple I Bookstore, Baker & Taylor, Barnes and Noble, etc.) This woman, it turns out, recently turned her back on the secure, lucrative upscale life in the burbs, pared down and bought a trailer. I call that synchronicity.
I've found that there are as many options as there are finished products. The fact that I wanted to have more than an e-book propelled me to someone who could set up POD copies. I want hard copies to sell myself and for bookstores. I don't pretend to know the ins an outs, but I'm a quick study. Two weeks ago I'd never heard of Smashwords, an ebook publishing and distribution platform that serves 40K independent authors and publishers around the world.
I expect that final edit to land in my inbox the next day or so. Then onto the format-lady. Then, voila! A book is born before I die. My agent says this will help her to land a contract. I wonder if I still want a foot in that old world?