To publish or to self-publish: that is the question

As if they haven’t heard that it took J.K. Rowling years to place Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, many people ask “Why don’t you get a publisher?” when I mention In Mr. Handsome’s Garden. The answer is straight-forward: if you’re an unknown like me, publishers will not accept your manuscript or even entertain a pitch letter unless it comes through a writer they already know, their dentist while they’re under the influence or some other idiosyncratic route.

Occasionally, writer wannabes get a hearing from literary agents. But even they are signaling that, without a track record of selling books and making profits, you should take your business elsewhere.

On the other hand, as we’ve heard many times, the Internet makes it possible for anyone with an idea to publish nearly anything he or she wants. You need no approvals, not even an editor. Forget waiting years … you can do it today! All you need is money, which for better or worse, makes self-publication among the most American of propositions.

That is the crux of the question, to publish or self-publish. Much more to write about this in subsequent posts. For now, I’ll just say that It’s exciting to have the opportunity and to be tackling at least some of the tribulations!

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