In my life I am and have been many things. Husband, father, brother, son. Friend, student, educator. Before my time is up I hope to experience many more things. One of the things I choose to call myself these days is a writer.
I’ve had jobs in a variety of sectors, and those jobs have required me to do many things at different times: Fire warden. Historian. Public speaker. An actor, a Master of Ceremonies.
But there are things I am not. Last week I invoked Dirty Harry: “A man’s got to know his limitations.” I invoke it again. This morning Rachelle Gardner posted “6 Reasons Why Authors Still Want Publishers.” She closed by asking Why are YOU pursuing traditional publishing? Here are my reasons:
I am not an editor. Yes, I edit my work. I look for continuity errors. I look for plot holes and logical gaps. I constantly ask myself if my characters are behaving, well, in character. And I look for typos and grammatical miscues, analyze word choices. I proofread and line edit. But I am not as quick and efficient at it as a professional, nor as proficient. I am not an editor.
I am not a graphic designer. In my life I have created many things. And I have done layouts and project design on printed pieces, and I’ve done some pretty nice work, thank you very much. Can I choose the right font? Can I get the page numbers just exactly where I want them? What I end up missing all the time are the little details, the things that allow you to show paged numbers on these pages but not those, without losing the sequence. I can do a passable job, but the finished work will lack “polish.” I’ve worked with a lot of design people and I’m amazed at what they can do, the way they make things ‘just right.’ I can carry a project so far, but I am not a graphic designer.
I am not a cover artist. Hey! Check this out at The Bookshelf Muse! Simple truth, once upon a time I was considered to be very good at drawing. Now, I’m not. I can doodle a mean doodle, but I can’t draw pictures, and I never really learned to paint. If I’m doing the work, my books will look like The White Album or Spinal Tap’s Smell the Glove. I am not a cover artist.
I am not a marketeer. Okay, any agents considering my query who may have found this blog have just crossed me off their list. What I mean is this: I can market. I can plug. I can do events. But I’m going to have a hard time convincing Ye Olde Bookstore in Fargo to carry my book. Traditional publishers have connections and ins and knowledge of the industry that I just don’t have, because I am not a marketeer.
One of the commenters on Rachelle’s blog, who chose to ignore Rachelle’s entreaty to not “get a whole “us vs. them” thing going here” called traditional publishing “a v expensive EGO boost IMHO”. Maybe there’s some ego involved, but it’s not my sole motivator. If you have what it takes to take total control over your book publishing, good for you. I give you a lot of credit and wish you the best. For me, I will seek out traditional publishing, because I am not a publisher.