My Book-shaped Heart Wants to Live in a Publishing House.

my handmade book

I published by book–by hand. A handmade book takes hours to put together, and it isn’t cheap. I love making them though. I made three, but I can’t make any more. I can’t afford it because who is going to pay that kind of money for a book by an unknown writer when they don’t want to (and can’t afford to) buy a hardcover book in a bookstore?

I’ve read a number of blogs on the self-e-publishing phenomenon. Adrienne Kress touched on a few points that resonated with me. And if you’ve read my last few post, you’ve read about Amanda Hocking and her e-success.

In my book-shaped heart, I know I do not want to self-publish in any format. I don’t have it in me. I’m not a buck-the-system woman. I’m not a pitch-it-myself soul. I want a publisher.

There. Said it.

Call me a sucker. Call me a coward. Call me a pleaser who needs approval of power.


Writing the stories I want to write take enough of my guts and hutzpah.

Kress touches a nerve when she suggests that some of the self-pub crowd want to see traditionally published authors fail. Is she right?

Have I showed up too late?

Oh well. The thing is to keep writing.

12 thoughts on “My Book-shaped Heart Wants to Live in a Publishing House.

  1. I guess I would consider myself part of the self-pub crowd, even though I’m not a writer. I have a writer’s heart though – like how you put it! Just can’t do it, like I can’t carry a tune in a bucket but I adore music.

    I can’t speak for all, but I sure don’t want to see traditionally pubbed authors fail. No way! There’s a reason the successful ones are successful. I think it boils down to wanting to see excellence rewarded, and the traditional publishers don’t seem to want to do that. They don’t like taking chances on unknown writers, especially with the market so unstable.

    Self-pubbing at least allows authors a chance to show off their gems, and it gives the public a chance to see if those gems really do sparkle. 🙂

    Like you said, the thing is to keep writing!

    1. I think both crowds do well having the other around. The book world is better for the both of them.

      There are many gems, but even self-publishing is no promise anyone will find it. But nothing is a promise as far as that goes.

      Keep writing! YES!

  2. I’m with you. But — as they say — ZOMG: that handmade book looks gorgeous.

    If you do nothing else with it, you need to be sure it stays with the kiddo. I can picture him on Antiques Roadshow, circa 2050…: “My mother was MP-B, and she left me these versions of her books…” And the appraiser faints dead away.

    1. Here’s what I don’t know and I’m finally going to ask. What is the Z for in ZOMG?

      Well, I don’t actually have that book. Someone did buy. And she paid a lot for it. As the owner of the store that was selling my work told me, this woman came in during her lunch break and read the book a bit each day. And when she saved up her money, she bought. BEST. FAN. EVER. I don’t know who the woman is, but I love her dearly.

      1. Here‘s an interesting, rather sprawling discussion of that Z. According to the Urban Dictionary: “The ‘z’ was originally a mistake while attempting to hit the shift key with the left hand, and typ[ing] ‘OMG'” — that seems to make the most sense.

  3. Beautiful book! I’m with you–I want to be traditionally published, and if that doesn’t work out I’m not sure if I’d have the (book-shaped) heart to try self-publishing. I think about it, but so far that’s all I do. Of course, I’m not writing much anyway.

  4. I guess I’m the only one on the other side of the fence. I’ve been published by a traditional publisher, but it was non-fiction so I guess that doesn’t count for anything with fiction-aries, right?

    On the fiction side, I want authors who are good to be able to get their work in front of the public. I want the public to be able to see the good work of writers, doing their due diligence to improve their craft, to produce a quality ware to peddle, who have put their hearts and souls into their work for a long time and now face the incredibly unpredictable and ridiculously capricious and arbitrary gatekeepers of the publishing industry.

    Agent’s in a bad mood? Rejected.

    Used the wrong salutation? Rejected.

    Used the wrong font on your manuscript? Rejected.

    Used the wrong font on your query letter? Rejected.

    Your synopsis is too long? Rejected.

    Your synopsis is too short? Rejected?

    No synopsis? Rejected.

    Synopsis? What are you, stupid? I want sample pages. Rejected.

    You sent too many sample pages! Rejected.

    Oh please, your book is 102K words? Rejected.

    You moron, your book’s only 72K words? Rejected.

    You didn’t use the right type of printer paper. Rejected.

    You used paper instead of an email. Rejected.

    You used email instead of paper. Rejected.

    You called me “Ms” when clearly I’m a “MISS”. Rejected.

    You didn’t double-space after your periods. Rejected.

    You used double-spaces after your periods. Rejected.

    Didn’t “grab” the agent with your cover letter? Rejected.

    Didn’t use the right “buzzwords” in your query letter? Rejected.

    Didn’t tell the whole story the way the agent wanted it told? Rejected.

    You’re not an ad copy writer? Tough. You have to be. So much for not self-pimping, right? Rejected.

    Ah, the list goes on and on. I’ve seen a lot of them. Heard a lot of them. And all the agent blogs I followed, wasted my time with, all said the same thing: “We’re NOT like that, really! We’re very easy to please! All you have to do is get everything exactly perfect AND happen to write the book I think is the next Great American Novel, and you’re IN!… until it’s time to do it all over again with the editors.”

    As for me, I say let the market bear the success or failure of the ones bringing the goods and their talents to the marketplace. Why not? Why CAN’T we let the readers judge what’s good and what’s not?

    Isn’t that how it should be?

    I think it is. Do I want published authors to fail? No, not at all. I want BAD published authors to fail. I want GOOD ones to be successful and lauded.

    And I want PUBLISHERS to fail. How’s that? 😉

    1. Of course your book counts. I’m not that fictionary!

      That just hasn’t been my experience. I’ve been rejected, sure. Obviously. And form rejections don’t tell me anything about why. If the rejections were for any of the reasons you listed, well, I’ve no clue.

      Agents are like any other group. Some good. Some bad.

      I’m sure that if you were sent hundreds of manuscripts a week, you’d look for any reason to reject them and save yourself a lot of time. I read a book by a former reader-of-the-slush pile–someone who started wanting to find them gem and ended cynical and frustrated. And reading about some of the crazy writers they deal with, I can understand.

      You’re right that readers should be the judge, but with traditional publishing methods, the costs of printing, distribution, overhead, bookstore employees, advances, et al, the publisher has to feel they can make some money.

      Then we get into the area of who is good and who is bad. Lots of people like trash, and trash makes money. They sell tons. If that is the only way to be published–give people their junk food so to speak–then other stories will never see the light of day.

      And there are indie pubs. They seem to be lost in most of Internet conversations I’ve seen. There are Indie pubs who publish quirky, daring work. They’ll never make real money, but we need them for sure.

      And we need self-published authors! Hurray for the bold and the brave! Self-published authors help keep the traditional publishers on their toes, I think.

      And I’ve exchanged a few letters/emails with a few agents now. They have been gracious. They didn’t have petty reasons for rejection as far as I could tell.

      And the agent I’m dealing with now, she saw something she didn’t like on page one. PAGE ONE! And all she did was say that she didn’t like it (and why), would I be willing to change it, AND would I still send her 150 more pages. So that one thing wasn’t a rejection.

      I know I can’t do what you do. I can’t figure out all that stuff you went through. Remember your posts about Amazon and Kindle etc.? I read all that and felt my brain contract. No way. I wouldn’t do that anymore than I would climb Mt Fiji or go camping. Will I applaud people who climb mountains? YES! I think camping is great! For others.

      Anyway, if publishers fail, I don’t see myself being published beyond my blog.

  5. Like others have said the hand-made book looks amazing. I don’t know where I sit as far as the whole self-pub vs. traditional. I think that both have their merits and faults as well; self pubbed authors may earn higher royalties since their is no middleman per say. Whereas traditional one gets an advance before the book sells; Amanda Hocking turned her self-pubbed series into a huge success via Amazon, so the potential for success is always there in both routs.

    Christopher Paolini (wrote Eragon) was self published until an agent discovered his book in some grocery store. I like the idea of traditional publication though, but I’ve heard the usual ploy, that smaller presses and POD are going to explode and push the big houses out of business.

    I don’t know, I guess either way gets your books in front of readers so that’s always a plus!

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