Morning Coffee: The Not-So-Straight Path

fallFew paths in life are straight and easy. Changes have to be made, twists and turns, perhaps back tracking before choosing a new direction. The reasons can be many, from an unexpected personal or family situation, to the decision that another path has become more desirable. I have made the decision to change my path toward becoming a published author.

My dream to publish has been a lifelong one. I have taken classes, joined critique groups. Over the years I’ve had success publishing poetry and short stories, but the goal of publishing a novel still beckoned, just out of reach, until recent years when I felt ready to push ahead.

My goal has been to find an agent/publisher. This is a high-reaching goal. Agents and editors receive thousands of submissions. Some requested and some cold. Some are not very good, but many, if not most, of them are very good and worthy of publication. Unfortunately, not all of them can be accepted. It costs a publisher considerable money to bring a book to the marketplace and they have to give everything they can to each title chosen to make it a success. Because of this, many wonderful stories have gone unpublished, unread, in the past. The rise in the number of small independent publishing companies has improved the odds of publication, but they have even less money than the big houses to invest in new titles.

Then along came self-publishing. The down side is this allows even poorly written unedited books to be published. The up side is now readers have so many more good books to choose from, books that don’t necessarily fall into the specific needs of traditional publishers but do provide an exciting and exceptional read.

Comments received from submissions have indicated my book is a good read but it just doesn’t fit into the narrowly defined needs of publishers at this time. I could decide to stick it in a drawer to wait and see if those needs change, or I can take control of my path and publish it myself. This being said, my path to publication has taken a turn. I’ve decided to abandon my search for an agent/publisher and self-publish.

I have arranged for a professional editor. I am discussing the correct path forward with authors I know who self-publish. I am considering cover design. I’m even considering a different title. While my path has changed, the end goal is the same. Stay tuned for updates.

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Morning Coffee: A Change of Seasons

fallSeptember is here. While technically it’s still summer, fall not scheduled to officially arrive until the 22nd, all the signs are here. Leaves are changing. Nights are cold with mild days. Acorns litter our yard this year in greater numbers than ever before, which causes me to fear a harsh winter is coming. School is back in session for children everywhere and their mothers are celebrating with pumpkin spice anything: coffee, lattes, muffins, scones.

Fall is one of my favorite seasons. The cold nights make for better sleeping. Mild days still allow for a round of golf, or a hike on one of our many beautiful trails. And I admit I might just love pumpkin spice a little more than is healthy.

When I was growing up I loved that school would be starting again. By then I was bored with summer and ready to go back to the classroom. Store shelves stacked high with colorful notebooks, file folders, and 3-ring binders made my heart race. There was nothing better, to me, than a new box of crayons, colored pencils, or markers. Oh the possibilities in that box! I couldn’t wait to find out who my teacher was going to be, and which of my friends would be in the same class with me. In high school, fall meant football games, dances, Homecoming.

When my children were young I still felt that excitement. Except, by then I was looking forward to days free from the complaint, “I have nothing to do!” From our current home I can hear the school bells ring and listen to the children on the playground during recess. That’s when all the old memories come back.

Perhaps my excitement came from my father. He was a high school teacher and always anxious to start the new school year. I think his excitement became my excitement. Before school started I would sometimes go with when he prepared his classroom. At the end of the year I could help him pack anything that wasn’t staying over the summer. During the school year he graded papers while we did our homework.

Later, when we were older, my mother went back to school to become a grade school teacher and librarian. I always knew that one day I would attend university, but the example of her going back as an older, non-traditional, student gave me the courage to do the same and finish my degree after my children were in school. And when I did, that old feeling came back, the excitement of a new school year, new classes, and old faces.

The one bad side…fall fast becomes winter.