Despite wanting to skip through the streets and scream from the rooftops that my book, my very own book, is going to be published in November, I don’t (other than the virtual street/rooftop you are reading this on now). I was raised to not brag and even though it’s not really bragging telling someone what you’ve spent the better part of the last year working on, it feels like it.
Often Annie will work it into conversations with people that don’t know the news. I guess it’s okay if your wife brags about you. She did this when we were home for Christmas.
“Kelsey is going to have his first book published in November,” Annie says to a family friend.
My face gets a little red and I feel an “Oh, shucks” coming on.
“Oh, that’s exciting,” says the family friend. “Who are you having publish it? Is it a publisher in Dayton?”
First, “having someone publish” the book implies that I paid a Print on Demand (aka Vanity Press) to do so, which I didn’t. Second, I never knew there were any publishers in Dayton, Ohio. If there are, they must be pretty small.
“No they’re from New York City,” I say. Actually Wiley & Sons is located in Hoboken, New Jersey, but you can see NYC from their office and they used to be located there, so that’s what I go with. I fight the urge to add a “you ever heard of it?” or, a “they paid ME,” or a “What the hell? Is it impossible to think that a large publishing house would actually pay little ol’ me for the rights to publish my book?”
A similar thing happened to me just last week. I was visiting my alma mater Miami University and was killing some time in the book store when I decided to ask one of the booksellers if they ever hosted any author events.
“Why?” She asked.
“Well,” I say, as my face, once again, reddens, “I have a book coming out in November.”
“Oh, a self-published book,” she says. (Note: this could also be a question, but it wasn’t; it was a statement.)
I understand that there are probably a lot of good books that publishers won’t stand behind because the “market isn’t good” for a particular book and self-publishing is the only way to give life to a work. I don’t have a problem with that. But considering that there are hundreds of thousands of books published each year by publishers, what makes these people think that my book couldn’t be among them.
Plus, there’s no way I could have afforded to pay to have my book self-published. The trip alone cost me (or I should say my second mortgage) $8,000. I am thrilled to have sold my book to a publisher because there was no way I could have sold the idea of paying to have it self-published to Annie: “Annie, my dear, I spent $8,000 on my quest, now for only a couple grand more we can have it published!”
She would have beat my (writerly) aspirations out of me.
What is it that makes people think I couldn’t be a paid author? Do I not look like an author or something?
Just Add Banjo