Let me share the independent publication story of my first book, What Became of Them. It is a collection of short stories that I had written over a number of years in the 1980s. In 1987, I decided it was time to send the collection out into the world, but I was not ready yet to do independent publishing.
Taking stock of myself, I knew I had no need to be approved by someone, to have my writing found to be worthy. I know many writers want to have a “real book,” and by this, they probably mean they want their book to be canonized by someone—the larger the reputation and the more famous, the better.
This sort of approval was not important to me. I was looking for a way to reach my audience which I knew both existed and would want my book.
I also wanted to earn some income from my writing. I understood that my income would come both from sales of the book and from speaking and teaching from the podium my book would allow me to step up on.
Where to send my manuscript?
I gleaned names and addresses I researched in the library and bookstore. After selecting a few of the more promising—they championed topics which I thought would attract my audience and encompassed a territory where my audience lived.
I sent the book out—and then I waited and waited.
I totally understood how a book has to fit into a publisher’s catalog. (A fruit distributor doesn’t, after all, take on a chicken farmer as a client!) A new book must support the company’s mission and complement books that have already been successful.
In addition, a book must promise to earn the company some income (preferably a large one) from its audience.