Friday, March 8, 2013

Pet Peeves and Publishing by Kathleen Shoop

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Page Count: 264
Release Date: 11 December 2012
Publisher: Oakglen Press (self-published)

For every woman who thought she chose the wrong career...

In Love and Other Subjects, Carolyn Jenkins strives for two things—to be the greatest teacher ever and to find true love. She’s as skilled at both as an infant chowing down with a fork. Carolyn’s suburban upbringing and genuine compassion for people who don’t fit effortlessly into society are no match for weapon-wielding, struggling students, drug-using colleagues, and a wicked principal.

Meanwhile, her budding relationship with a mystery man is thwarted by his gaggle of eccentric sisters. Carolyn depends on her friends to get her through the hard times, but with poverty-stricken children at her feet and a wealthy man at her side, she must define who she is. The reality of life after college can be daunting—the road to full-fledged adulthood is long and unscripted. Can Carolyn take control and craft the life she’s always wanted?

Pet Peeves and Publishing

In thinking about pet peeves I have in regard to publishing, well, they’ve changed since I’ve decided to go through the publishing process independently, on my own. The peeves were once more centered on the process of finding an agent and publisher and the difficulties that went along with that. Now, being indie, I think it would be nice to have a publisher that shared an innovative relationship with me, that would share the responsibility of publishing. Because I am not an artist and the details surrounding covers and marketing and promotion freak me out, I would love to simply write. BUT, I understand that’s not possible to fully remove myself from the publishing process. Not even if I was on a traditional book deal path.

The benefits of self-publishing vs. not publishing until a traditional deal comes along are way too great. I am so happy just to be in the game, to have the chance to get my work to readers. The fact that I’ve been able to do that has pushed aside the old agent/editor related angst and cleared the way for new ones. But, any peevish experiences I have now seem miniscule when I stop and reflect and appreciate my current literary lot in life.

Before indie publishing, I obsessed over query letters, agent preferences (the obvious ones as well as the ones that they harbor deep inside their minds and only are revealed in the form of “Yes, I love this,” and “No thanks, didn’t connect.”) Now I understand that when they say they didn’t connect, it doesn’t mean NO ONE will connect, just that they didn’t. Now, with the changes in publishing the fact that an agent didn’t connect doesn’t mean life or death for a book.

The same lesson was taught to me in terms of another old pet peeve—the marketability of a particular piece of writing. The first book that I self-published was turned down by my own agent who said she didn’t think there was a market for that one. This was the third book she looked at for me (the book that won me the honor of her representation didn’t sell) and when she declined The Last Letter I went to other agents who didn’t take it on—same thought, no market.

Well, publishing changed and I took advantage of the indie world and I’ve sold over 65,000 of the book that had “no market.” That was an enormous pet peeve for me at one point—no more!

I’ve learned that in the traditional publishing world, marketability means something totally different to the gatekeepers than it does to actual readers. Although I am so very pleased about shaking off my former pet-peeves with traditional publishing, I’ve taken on new ones associated with indie publishing. The constant vigilance over the endless rounds of proofing (after four revisions and multiple professional edits), marketing, the cover, the formatting for print and digital, the disappearance of the price of my book on the product page, the disappearance of the very book itself from a product page, the mailing, the networking, the social networking, oh my!!! All of that is distracting to me and takes my focus from the actual act of writing. But, it’s all those things that allow me to be successful, that allow me to participate in publishing at all. And for that, for all those pet peeves, I am forever grateful! Back to writing, I go... thanks so much for having me!

About the Author

I'm married with two children. I've been seriously writing for almost a decade although I dabbled much earlier than that! I've had short stories published in four Chicken Soup for the Soul books, am a regular contributor to a local magazine, Pittsburgh Parent, and have had essays in local newspapers as well.

I have a PhD in Reading Education and have worked in schools for over twenty years. I work with teachers and their students in grades K-8 and am lucky to learn something new from them every time I walk through their doors. This experience was a huge help in writing Love and Other Subjects—a quirky, post-college coming of age story.
Right now, I'm finishing up a 20,000 word short love story for an anthology and am also using my characters and setting from my debut novel, The Last Letter, as per reader request to show what happened between the two timelines in the original book! I hope readers will enjoy the fact I write about varied eras and places and that they will love each book for its unique setting and time.