During June and July, I worked half-heartedly trying to find an agent and a publisher. I sent about 20 query letters to agents and small presses.  I heard back from about eight of them with the words, “not for us.”  Many posted something like this on their web page: “If you don’t hear from us in six weeks, consider this a negative signal.”  I wasn’t surprised. Not that I am in the same league but,  I knew that JK Rowling’s first Harry Potter book was greeted with many rejections.  Steven King had the same hurdles.

I had worked for four years on my memoir and now it was ready, how could I keep sending these letters and waiting for a year or more with a slim chance of success?  I couldn’t.  Today there is a faster way to get your book into the hands of your readers and that is self-publishing.  Createspace is one of many services that makes self-publishing relatively simple. They will do all the typesetting, cover design, printing, and distribution for you.  It is rapid, too.  My writer friend in Solon Springs used them for her second novel, Amelia 1868,  and has had a smooth experience.

I know it is a feather in your cap if you get a publisher, maybe a full headdress of feathers. This means at least one publishing house believes your work is marketable.  But nowadays many of the publishers believe it is too risky to take first-time authors.  I read an article that made it easy for me to stop sending the query letters.  It was on Mary Carroll Moore’s blog and called, Can your Self Published Book Be a Best Seller? She says, “But we writers have been told that unless we get an agent and go the traditional route, we’ll never be taken seriously in our writing careers. I went the traditional route for years–agent, large publisher, small press.  Each experience had its ups and downs and I worked with some wonderful editors and publishers and some not so.  I stayed away from the stigma of “vanity press,” or self-publishing, because I believed it was a fast route to career suicide. Besides, I wanted the marketing and distribution help a publisher could give. Times have changed.  Advances are few and small now … the author has to learn to sell her own book as well as write it. Some writers are thinking seriously about their options now.  Many are choosing self-publishing.” Read the entire story here.

I liked the idea of having control over the whole process.  So I decided to publish Sunlight on My Shadow through my own company, City Creek Press. I started this company 20 years ago and it has thrived selling children’s educational books.  I know how to get a book ready for printing, assign an ISBN, and market books through traditional channels including Amazon.com.  Right now City Creek Press sells 400-600 books a month through Amazon.  It amazes me every time I purchase a book on Amazon. I just press the one-click button and presto!  There is the book on my Kindle Ap or on my front step in a day or two.  Amazon is a genius company at making shopping simple.  I have even ordered hard to find items like special plant food for my flowering hibiscus and garbage disposal liquid inserts for our septic system from the website giant.

So I figured I could sell Sunlight on My Shadow on CityCreek.com and Amazon after I published it.  I found a company called Lightning Source that will print on demand for a reasonable price and they are fast.  I signed up for an illustration class at MCAD, Minneapolis College of Art and Design, so I could get the educational software discount and then I purchased the new Adobe Creative Suite CS6 to do the cover layout and the guts of the book.  Then I signed up for Lynda.com to learn how to use the software.  At this date, I have learned how to use nifty things like paragraph styles in INDESIGN and use layers for the cover in PHOTOSHOP. The book now is ready for press.  I am hiring an expert to help me work on a marketing plan and hope to release the book in the next few months.  Please come to my book launch party.  I will let you know the date!