if it’s too difficult for grown-ups, write for children

From the Archives: On the Eighth day of Christmas Vacation

Eight Maids A-MilkingDaphne gave to me a question for GE. (Wow, that one almost sort of rhymes. Woot!) Anyway, in the comments on another post, GE asks:

Do you think with all this reorganizing of different publishing companies, most other publishing places will do the same?

The economy is down, so what does that say to aspiring writers? Maybe self-publishing isn’t such a bad idea as long as we have strong outsourced editors, i.e., maybe a laid-off editor? What do you think?

Well, GE, even since you sent this question in, I think we’ve seen some more reorganization, like Macmillan’s big sorting of all their children’s imprints under one umbrella.

But the problem with self-publishing, as Book Promotion 101 guru Bella Stander posted the other day, isn’t about having a nicely edited book, or even a great looking package. It’s about distribution, and most self-published authors are never going to get their books into the big chains or really anywhere beyond a kind local bookstore.

I hate being so pessimistic about this — it’s totally not in my nature — but self-publishing isn’t the same as being published. Even with the very best editor that a downsizing publisher let go working on your book, it’s not the same thing as having the backing of that house on your literary efforts.

Use this downtime to polish your prose, keep researching agents, and we’ll all just hope for things to get better again, ok?

A MODERN UPDATE: Wow, talk about changes!! Self-publishing has evolved enormously in the last four years, as have our opinions of it, even as the traditional publishing industry continues to change and merge as well.

That being said, if you’re looking for placement in bookstores, most of the shelf space remains in the hands of the Big Six (Soon to be Five), though many self-published authors are using their own personal marketing efforts to publicize their books, and sell copies online or otherwise without bookstore placement. But with the rise of e-readers, maybe that’s not a problem anymore. Thoughts?