If it's new, it's the feeling of anticipation running through your veins. If it's used or borrowed, it’s the acquisition of someone else’s secret, waiting to become yours. A dog-eared favorite feels like you are holding hands with an old friend. And if it’s your own, it’s a feeling of highest accomplishment a writer can achieve (except maybe certain awards, but we don’t write for those). It all boils down to that gush of emotion that comes from just the feeling of the pages beneath your fingers.
With that being said, let me pitch my feelings towards eBooks and eReaders. It’s less personal, but it’s instant. You can’t feel the contours of the pages; you cannot feel a physical connection - but you can become absorbed immediately. If a writer has done his or her job, the words have put you under a spell. You stop paying attention to the lack of paper underneath your skin and get pulled into the story. The fact that you can access millions of books at once; being able to carry your whole library in the palm of your hand is the epitome of having the whole world in your hands.
With both perspectives on the table, I want to talk about my current struggle: wanting to publish my chapbook in print and in digital format.
There are not many small presses willing to do both. Most presses will give you a limited run on your book if it's in print (saddle stitch is not easy to reproduce at a whim - and on little to no budget). The presses that are willing to go the digital route will only make it available digitally. The ones that do both are either highly competitive, will only publish a full collection, or have requirements that do not match with my body of work.
While I am in the constant pursuit of finding presses that will meet this desire to be traditionally modern, I have been toying with the idea of self publication. I know that there are plenty of options in the Print On Demand world that will fulfill this request with ease.
The only problem?
Credibility and expertise.
When you are published under a press, it gives you a boost. It says someone believes in my talent, my work, and is willing to vouch for both. It gives you an audience who is willing to check you out because their press says that you rock. A press is also a resource for learning and being involved in book design, promotion, and selling. They have a model that works for them and if you find that you believe in their mission, admire their set of authors, and your work fits their bill - your chapbook or book has a chance to barrel its way into the literary world.
With self publishing, you are left to your own devices. Everything is your responsibility and you have to take the time to learn. I do believe that with self publishing, it gives you an opportunity to turn yourself into something that goes beyond the title of author. Suddenly you are a book designer, a publisher, promoter and sales man. If you learn how to do it well, you will earn credibility that will outshine with negative connotation that comes with self publishing.
If you don’t do it well, your book is in danger of falling in the cracks. There will be no one to back you up.
Fear is never an option when you desire to publish this much however. Those who self publish are willing to take the chance.
Does that mean that you will self publish Christina?
Not yet. While I am a modern day writer who is into all that is new in book publishing, I have some traditional whims floating in my heart. I want to be able to hold my first chapbook and see the imprint of a press that took the time to believe in me. If I see that I am not getting anywhere with pursuing presses, then I will work on going the self publishing route. For now...
Let's keep on trying!
Please feel free to let me know your thoughts on this matter. The comment section is always open!