At this point in the writing process I am meeting twice a week with an editor to go over the changes she has suggested for my manuscript. We are working very closely with the text—line by line—to produce a clean manuscript (Clean, not perfect! I learned from my raw food diet that nothing can be perfect). I hope to keep working to turn my memoir into something that not only tells my story, but also offers questions and suggestions that will make it possible for readers to find their own way out of their eating disorders.
In addition, I am busy setting up some fundraising events in town (first one soon to be announced).
The journey into publication has been a long one. Here is the timeline of what it has taken to get me where I am today:
- I wrote the book originally as a journal from April 2011-June 2013
- I began making the journal into a book in January of 2013
- I edited heavily with advisor and professor Dr. Brent Chesley of Aquinas College in the spring of 2014
- I contacted agents summer 2014-summer 2015
- I began contacting small publishers in summer of 2015, then met and sought advice from author Dean Robertson.
- I hired Dean Robertson to edit my book in February 2016
There are many different ways to publish these days:
- Self-Publishing: If you publish completely on your own, you are responsible for all editing, design, marketing, publication, and distribution costs and for the quality of the final product.
Many publishers offer a self-publishing option for which you pay up front and then can choose to pay for those services individually.
Some authors don’t need or don’t want a publisher to distribute their work. That often includes writers who wish to sell books on their own at events or through stores, or those who simply want to build a book for limited distribution to family members or business associates.
- Hybrid: also known as co-publishing, this option requires the author to pay pre-publication costs. The fee depends on the quality of the manuscript and potential reach of the work. Those admitted to this program receive the same level of collaborative editing, creative design, marketing support and distribution as received by traditional authors.
Most debut writers, or those with limited sales of previous books, are offered this option.
- Traditional Publishing: Typically, manuscripts are considered for a traditional deal when submitted by literary agents or previously published authors with strong book sales and an exceptional marketing plan in place. It is very rare for a debut author, or those with scant book sales, to be offered a traditional deal. Only submissions of the very highest quality and with the broadest reach are considered. There is typically no expense to authors under this option.
The process to get there is very difficult–you contact agents (sometimes up to years) and, if you find one, that agent tries to help you get a large publisher (if you can even get an agent–many authors face loads of rejections, which is NORMAL). From my own experience in contacting agents, I learned that I had to have a lot of marketing behind me already and to be famous or widely known on the Internet or in the public eye for agents to take me on.
This is not to say any of these options are the worst or best–certain publishing methods work best for others, often depending on the book being published. After contacting agents for a year and starting to contact small publishers, I am considering the hybrid model for this first book. I have not made a final decision but I believe this offers a promising opportunity.
I never realized what a long and grueling process this would be, but I have loved everything I have learned along the way and I appreciate everyone who has helped me. It has been especially a big thanks to Aquinas college—for the professors who helped me to edit, guided me in the publication process, past professors who stepped up to make my February 2015 NEDAW event possible, and former Aquinas instructors (Wendy Marty and Dean Robertson) who have continually helped me. I have been so blessed and can’t wait to get this first of many projects done! (Yes, I’m already revising and editing book 2).