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Publishing Dilemma

So I’m up on the roof. It gets me every year. A lifetime of conditioning tells me October weather starts cooling down. Here in Puerto Rico, the weather says, “Nope.” I used to think it just seemed hotter because I expect it to be cooling off. But the numbers don’t lie. It’s still hot. Tonight, though, there is a nice breeze, and the sunset brings a pretty orange sky.

I’ve been off writing for a few months, what with life issues and a hurricane, but I’m getting back on track. The break has given me a chance to assess some things about writing. It’s been a true gift to find this new aspect of my life. The creative process is fulfilling, if sometimes frustrating. I have entered a new world of wonderful writing friends that help and support each other. I’m still at the beginning of my learning this craft, but I’m happy with the work I’ve produced so far and excited about the new works-in-progress. The thing is, once I started thinking of myself as a writer, it is natural to want to be published. I got a small taste of this when one of my short stories was published this summer. The feeling of having a novel published must be a super high.

Therein lies the rub. The path I am on now is to try to get published by one of the five big publishing houses. Even though tens of thousands of books are published each year in the US, there are hundreds of thousands of emerging authors trying to get in the door. This requires finding an agent who will risk their time and resources on you. The agent sells the book to a publishing house. Getting an agent can take between six months and forever. Selling to a publisher can take a year, if it sells at all. Once sold, it can take one to two years for the novel to find its way to the bookstores and online sellers. It is daunting.

Another path is to self-publish. It is tempting, but there are downsides as well in terms of investment in time and money. I have seen some really bad self-published novels (okay, and some unfortunate published ones). If I put something out in the world, I want it to be well done. I want the craftmanship to shine. I will have to go through the editing that a publisher would do at my own expense, pay for the cover design, pay for the printing (if I want to sell hardcopies), and do all of the marketing. People do this, and some, but not many, are quite successful.

If I was thirty, or even forty, I would stick with the publishing route for a while. Given my age, at some point I will have to at least consider self-publishing. That is, if I care about being published at all. Another thing to think about. The writing itself is quite fulfilling. Perhaps that is enough. Time will tell.

If you like, you can see my published short story at . It’s on page 47.

Cobb Out

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