Rekindle Your Confidence, Fight Off The Imposter!
Publication, no matter the level one has obtained, is still a difficult, albeit, rewarding process. The generic take of publication is once someone has achieved a certain status in the publishing world, they will always have an open spot to delegate on the shelf, be-it digital or brick-and-mortar. However, some find it difficult to spark that flame once they’ve sent out a fiery fury of published works, and had the cork opened on in the celebration of being a published writer. Then suddenly, they lose sight of what they want…either their book becomes huge, and they are trapped in the never-ending cycle of writing a sequel to sequester the story, or they find it becomes something they’ve always dreaded: a job.
Published writers never want to doubt their creativity, their character, or their style to be anything but what the market demands. Knowing that publishing is the ultimate goal, and the worry of impostor syndrome, a psychological aberration to which an accomplished person feels downtrodden by their own successes, perhaps because they felt such success wasn’t earned via the proper channels, or that they in-turn were to never be as legitimate as others in their said field. The term coined by Dr. Pauline R. Clance and Dr. Suzanne A. Imes, is a rather pointed argument many make for the cause of good writers stemming away from tradition publishing routes. This causes a plethora of self-deprecation, along with other factors like pigeonholed plots, a lack of interest due to bouts with depression, and even a lack of ambition after that feeling of accomplishment has passed.
Writing is the art, publishing the business, and the desire to do neither stems from both external, and internal conflicts one may have with the medium as a whole. To combat this dodgy apropos towards the malaise dwindling of want and desire of those who have published and walk away, words of advice that can calm even the most savage heart of self-defeating notions is to be tolerable of the said writer’s purpose for giving up the art-form. Following the idea that writing is itself an isthmus connecting art to business, and book publication is the litmus test that describes a subjective measurement of success, a person who has given up a passion may provoke such loss due to abandonment issues. Reassuring that the writer is indeed capable of having past successes, thus capable of much, much more, there is no-doubting that the core progression for any writer daring to give up the craft, is talking themselves out of it more because they see themselves as a lost artist, pining for some sort of critique, and lowering the expectations of their own masterworks, simply because of the assumption of the populous-at-large.
Many seek to be acknowledged as authentic, so they search for formidable publishing houses that own the contracts of the largest names in the industry. They research forever a literary agent, which will give them more say with the larger houses, and they provide contiguous responses to any reader that happens along, even if they’ve answered it ad nauseam in prior e-mails or forums. It is the ever-present issue one finds themselves questioning whenever a new novel is published: will I make the same impact? Will I have set out to accomplish every laden goal I had mustered the energy up to in this book? How do I know it will make the same sort of emotions hit my readers that my previous works have? To the accomplished, published writer, there is always the wall of doubt as to whether-or-not they are in-fact: a professional writer. This hits harder to those who then choose the option of self-publishing, and with perhaps, a bit more understanding.
The facts still remain, unequivocally so: they are indeed professional writers. One who is paid for their work is a professional, one who scantily wisps by with neither rhyme-nor-reason, and spiffy work is an amateur at-best. Those questioning their own feelings, and skills should always look to the present, as evident in the idea of never looking back, because in art, history is kindest to the timeless, rather than the timely, and questioning your past achievements will never give one the satisfaction needed in their said lifetime. History is where your work will be judged, and long-after your bones have settled will it ever be of consequence. Move on to the next battle, and do not fidget over some boorish notion that writing is anything more than a heart placed in characters to-which the world will find refuge.
Therein lies the true issue with giving up on one’s art: the great deal of lacking confidence many renowned writers struggle with, at any give level, and the wanderlust of the passionate, creative mind to just dillydally the days away with a billion focal ideas, rummaging in the back of their messy, scattered mind. Salve these self-inflicted wounds with the reassurance that no writer is a library of perfect rows, and organized categories, they are a wildfire set ablaze to the mercy of the pen, and the stroke of genius to match the quip flicks of the quill. They are an artist first, a business second, and always the cathartic worrier of their own passionate unreasoning desire to be labeled a “true writer.”
Ending the career doesn’t end the art, it only embodies a self-harming nature to lock away the talent that yelps to be freed. Writing is a truth, writing is a metaphor of a world that exists inside the very nature of humanity. It is our ability to create from out of nothing, something magnificent that can only exist because the intelligent mind exists. So to those who fear the follies of impostor syndrome, to those who believe they’re nothing more than a renegade typing away on a click-clacking laptop at some un-godly hour, questioning their own sanity; know that no matter the hiatus, no matter the bloodletting on the signed contract to forever condemn the act of writing again! A writer is always a writer, they’re attracted to the muse of life, and must embark on a literary journey ever-so-often, lest they get lost in some ambiguous state of melancholy; to which, it can be said: to even the furthest wayward traveler of the written word, ink upon a parchment is the dribbling sound to find one’s way back, housed in the ever-comforting bosom of writing once more. Never feel any doubt that writing is fabricated luck, for a skilled writer continues to impress, and to outwork the rest who claim a professional badge of merit, fall in splendor with the pen to ease your doubting mind.
What is the best way to get a novelty children’s book published in 2020?
The children’s book market is one of those over-saturated markets that are in-lieu with other media branding. For example, it is a highly misconceived notion that the children’s market is only marketed towards children! It is also marketed towards parents, teachers, tweens, and even some teenagers, although that is the niche of niche to the market. If you’re a writer/illustrator/educator, looking to get yourself published in perhaps the most highly-contested, and sought-after publishing market, you may want to settle down first, and learnt he basics of what goes into a children’s book.
Having a fuzzy monster, or adorable rhyming scheme isn’t enough to outlast those in the market that have made billions of dollars on the bustling children’s book market that extends back to your childhood favorites, or the big-time contracts for some of the most popular brands that the current market caters to today. Knowing child psychology is a great start to understanding why children react to certain color schemes, words, and phrases, especially nonsensical limericks that make most adults confused by the awkward style. A great example of timeless childhood writing is by none-other than Shel Silverstein. Revisiting The Light in the Attic, or Where the Sidewalk Ends is a great ruminating task to give you just a clearer idea of what works in the market. Being able to mesh adult humor well into a child’s language comprehension can give a bearing on the mind’s of your young readers, and the garrish laughter that comes from a parent blushing red, exclaiming they’ll explain it to the child once they get older.
Writing for children in a 2020 market is a tad different than the utilizing limited media of the 70s, 80s, 90s, and even a slim moment in the 00’s, compared to the open-source freedoms found in the current digital age. The spectrum we find that kids now have access to with the internet, and the availability of millions of books at the touch of a button, show us they learn quickly, and are in-touch with a very hands-on world that allows them more individualism, and power over their own budding personalities. Toys, and brands are no-longer just fandoms, they’re staples of who and what that child wants to be affiliated. Your work helps to shape and develop their own passions, and personalities, it emboldens them to make their own stories, and follow their own trends. Writing to children in the second decade of this new millennium is about as complicated as writing for an adult of the 90s. Most children are challenged much earlier, and to much harsher conditions than the past, as science has made it strenuously clear that kids are sponges that need to be kept constantly stimulated with learning, else they may lose interest, or not feel like challenging their own limitations.
Writing may also become a factor: like adults, children too develop tastes, and know early enough what is pleasing to them, and what really isn’t however it is also at this young age where most parents will also try to have them try out every spice of life, reinstated by the ushering of ideas from other influences like teachers, family, and even media itself. Still, we now understand the importance of grasping the younger mind’s interest, and soaking it with as much knowledge can try to retain. This leads to understanding the aspects of this market, and how to capitulate your best ideas to the publishing houses, so they too see your artistic vision through the eyes of a child, hence giving you the best opportunities to capitalize on the big bucks.
Looking at the greatest, and most successful writers for children, you get a sense that many were satirists that wanted more conventional humor than dark shock. Writers like R.L. Stine, Roald Dahl, and E.B. White, likely didn’t start out wanting to be seen as writers for children, and saw their work as something far more serious. E.B. White was a literary genius for even his time, and stoked the flames of criticism, and his anal-retentive outlook onto the English language. Dahl was a fantasist that played out childhood fantasies in his super creative ultra imagination, stories to which dispel the notion that creativity is only capable of being rooted in said reality. And Stine, well R.L. Stine needs little-to-no introduction, as he likely was the most successful commercial children’s writer prior to the success of J.K. Rowling Harry Potter series. Hers is a story of impossibility, as she has now become perhaps the most successful writer read the world over since Shakespeare.
Still, to reach the status of a J.K. Rowling is one that even the most veteran of writers wish to achieve, and most never will, as it is more rare than being bitten by three sharks at the same time while lightning strikes you consecutively, and an albatross smashes you on the head with a dozen coconuts. Meaning, it shouldn’t even be theoretically possible...but somehow, it happened! Is it possible to make your own Harry Potter series? Where each book is a success drawing more and more readers with each passing year? Absolutely! Yet, the probability of such success is far from the norm, far be-it from even the equally improbable chances of publication in the field itself! Still, the merits of knowing that the world is abound with extreme improbabilities, can be enough to try one’s hand at the passion of writing for potential publication in children’s literature.
So a great understanding of child psychology, a vivid research of the past successes, and getting to know the proper markets, and what they’ve published most recently are tried-and-true methods for publication in the children’s market. Still, poems, short stories, and greatly illustrated books, with greater details to color choices, and amassed with a budding, illustrious world are also great indicators of a story’s potential for success. Learn from the greats, and harness your skills. Seek out talented artist with the same passion, and style you wish to convey. Read a great deal more of the stories you were fond of at such a starting age as your demographic, and ring in a new, resounding story, watching the trends, and guiding your thoughts towards creating something legitimate to compete in the market. With strategy, and leaving biases far away from your work, the bustling children’s publishing market may be your Giant Peach.
What Constitute Publication?
For years, and years, publishing my own short stories, and full-length novels was always a dream. I blogged since I was in high-school, back when Blogger was really nothing more than a blurb and bio-logging wasn’t something really known to me. Still, I started by taking the journalistic approach, and doing really terrible book reviews. Some of which make me cringe to-this-day, but seeing the evolution of the writer I am now in my mid-thirties; they mostly bring a squinting smile to my face. Poetry was my passion: a more literary approach in a truncated formatting of structure made it easy to rattle off a multitude of different feelings, themes, and a genuine attempt at being a literary versifier. I wanted my works to be tumultuous to traverse without perhaps a handy dictionary, or sound like something a first-year English major braggart would deliver in class day-one. Meaning, it was bloated, pesky language that wasn’t fluid in motion; but rather dodgy, and stumbling about trying to fit in with the royals, but not to the same pedigree.
Publishing a novel was all I ever dreamed of doing as a child, a life-long dream that I cannot believe would ever leave my being. I had always thought to look towards traditional publications to give myself some merit, and I had sought after many publishers. From Dell magazines for Asimov’s Science Fiction, to local newspapers having a monthly column in the lifestyles section while still in high-school. In-truth, I think that whatever the passion, whatever the desire, there is always a way to come up from failure, and find that success was there all along...as you will shortly read.
Whilst I had dabbled with newspaper writing, self-publishing, blogging consistently for years-on-end, I was never formally published the way I always dreamed of being. Until one-day I wrote a book based on the needs of a publishing house. They sought young-adult books in the guise of education fiction, this one book in-particular would focus on the process of hybridizing roses. The press was a small press, which make up about 80% of the market, and most are usually out of business within a few years. The ones that stay relevant are the ones that take the business in directions most others didn’t even dare to go, and the differential allows for unique voices in the writing community to be heard, with little fear of their repertoire being undermined by one of the larger conglomerates that bulk up the publishing market.
The book I written went to one of the editors that worked for the said publisher. They had personally called me back, saying they had enjoyed the sample chapters (chapters 1-5) that I sent out, and wanted to read the rest of my manuscript. Now I was very close to the end, nearly done with the work, which was encroaching on two-hundred thousand words! Now at the time, even I knew that this was an extremely high number of words, and I didn’t have the wherewithal at the time to even think of editing it down. This was the mindset of a twenty-something wannabe author, and the sound of someone interested was enough for me to just ship it off...in the worst-case fashion I could, and hope to hear back: “it was perfect! Already published! And by-the-way, Paul, you’ve got a 5 book contract until 2025!” (This was all happening about 2011)
Instead, reality hit me, and hit me hard. They liked it, but it was way too long, and it was way too much for them to edit and so I was asked to go with an outside editor, and that would cost me potentially thousands. Back then, even with a bustling internet market, there was still few options, like Fiverr for those who need a fairly decent edit on a budget, without the expensive add-ons of professional fees. So instead, I tried a hand at it myself, and became weary of the dream of publishing slipping through my grasp. Eventually the person who was interested in my project had left to pursue a career they dreamed of, and the individual taking over my account decided that she wasn’t as thrilled with the story, and didn’t have nearly as much time to dedicate. Which I understood, if they’re not as passionate about the hook of the novel as someone else who is all-in, you quickly discover that the market can be treacherous with the wrong people at the helm. Still, I was given a chance, but it felt like my passion and ambition was let-down by the lackluster treatment I was now receiving.
So I didn’t publish that book, and it sucked. I mean it really, really sucked, because I was close to the prize, and it was gone. That can make a young person, which I was very young, and under-matured for the time, to give up all hope on the dream of a traditional publication. So I was without a publisher, without a literary agent, and now I was just barely functioning to continue writing, because I felt that was my only shot….but it turned out not to be my only option.
Years later, I turned to self-publishing, and published my first book, Lolita’s Explosive. It was hard, gritty, and sort of the antithesis of what I had tried to angle towards earlier with the YA (Young Adult) novel. It had been read quite a bit, more than I ever expected, and it lit a fire under me to keep trying, and so, the passion returned. Even if it was by my own merit.
So am I a published author? No, not traditionally, but have I published a book? As of October 2020, I have self- published three, and that now makes me strive to publish more. Besides books, I had the opportunity to publish several newspapers, and magazine articles over the years, and have been freelancing since the early 2000s. If I were to give advice to the unsung youth looking to publish as well? Time is your greatest ally: read a lot, get lost in the magic of worlds from those great artists of the past and present. Learn what makes you enthralled with a tale, and take it to heart. Try to find freelance work throughout the internet. One of the best resources for writing comes from NaNoWriMo’s official website nanowrimo.org. NaNoWriMo is an acronym for National Novel Writing Month.
Seek out beta readers, and never be afraid to send out your work to potential publishing houses. I highly recommend Alpha Book Publishers, as their resources are a tantamount to the desire to help anyone see the dream of publication. Professional writing is a business, and to learn the business, trying new and unique ideas will be beneficial to helping you become a published author. Publishing should always be a potential outcome, but writing, and loving what you write is job one.
Are Self-Published Books Better Than or Equal to Traditional Houses?
Self-publishing has become something of an even playing field, allowing for those who shine brightest in independent talents of editing, graphic design, and marketing to bring their work to an audience without any interference from a major publisher. Yes, these do indeed give those capable an option to publication despite the frantic hoops most jump through to get a publishing deal; but there’s a lot of benefits that come from traditional publishing houses.
Most houses have the capital to put behind your book. Your book is the product they deliver to market, and if that book is something they believe in, they can work with you to put your best effort forward. Self-publication however, is up to the author. In this new age of digital print media, the author is a great deal of the marketing behind their own book. Publishers will get you to market, but you are the face, the power, and the media behind your book. So if that is the get-up-and-go attitude you have, then self-publishing is an option, and will make your book potentially equal to a traditional house. However good you may be at marketing, book design, and how well you may even know the market, know that the allusions to which most writers have of scoring a great deal of money in the independent scene, are not nearly the reward of a traditional publishing house. Houses give you a boat-load of extra tools, professional guidance, and they are in the business of getting you to make sales. Bringing your book to market is a risk they take, and that risk is made less of a chore by preparing you for what’s to come in the daily races of marketing your product.
Many publishing houses can get your book into brick and mortar stores, and even land you book signings, public speaking events, even landing you potential deals that weren’t possible before! Like a stellar literary agent that will fight to get your work published, and land you new gigs. The market isn’t so-much volatile, as it is finding the right people to work within the niche you fill, and getting you built up to a position where you stand out on the shelf, in the SEO searches, and can man the helm of your own juggernaut, pouring in those sales!
Self-publishing is a love affair with your work, where a traditional house is taking the best that you can offer, and shining it up as brightly as possible, in-order to get your name out there to the general public. Many self-described writers wear a different hat for every day of the week: blogging, podcasting, editing, proofreading, digital/social media marketing, analyst, and don’t forget old-fashioned newspaper journalism. Writing is a full-time gig for a freelance artist that wants to make a living writing. They wake up with a cup of Joe, or a freshly steeped pot of Early Grey, and get to hitting the keys. This is what is expected of any writer looking to publish, and thus the best chance of landing the right gig, at the right time, with the best supporting cast you could ever hope to obtain.
So what do we think of when we think traditional publisher? Some big faceless building with rows and rows of cubicles, dusty like it hasn’t been renovated since the 50s, something out of the post-war bygone era with cigarette smoke clouding the up the densely-stacked offices? Or am I just having a Mad Men flashback? Most publishers are indeed in giant faceless/nameless office buildings, but they aren’t always as plain and dull like a DMV or patent clerk office. Most people who work for the larger publishing companies are themselves authors, and are looking to find the next great book to land that big commission. Although it may not feel like it at times, they work for the writer, and in-truth, more-so they work to make the writer work to the best of their ability. This is why we see such a huge push to having authors be more proactive in their marketing, and self-starters that know their book better than anyone else, and interact with the public to the point it feels like a second job. Writing is just one minor aspect of publishing, and working with a house is what clearly separates a decent-looking self-published book, into the professional book on the shelf that is clearly the superior designed model. Yes, some independent publishers, and self-described indie authors can, and very often make their own work a shining pinnacle of perfection in the self-publishing field. Those are tried-and-true veterans of the grind, or individuals with a knack for the gift of social media marketing, editing, and an array of graphic design skills. The only thing that they do lack is the serious benefit of those in the market, that know what sells, how it sells to that demographic, and can put your work through an obstacle course to come out he best, most-polished product you can create.
Self-publishing is difficult for a writer with no real experience in the marketing field. They don’t know how to figure demographics, typically not familiarized with SEO keywords, and likely inactive on most social media platforms. I tend to find Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram are the three big adverts for a book that work to the fullest potential of the author’s most minimal marketing experience. Those with more media finesse could attempt to make a book trailer for their book as a marketing tool, but unless it’s got a gripping series of events unfolding in the span of no-more than forty-five seconds...it may be a bust idea. I don’t want to dissuade anyone from thinking self-publishing is impossible, it just requires more work than what is expected from a traditional publishing house. How-so you may ask? Because everything you get from a publishing house: the advice, experience, the media, the shelf-space, and the support, all falls onto the author, or maybe a paid beta reader. Almost everything the typical publishing house offers now has to come out of the pocket of the author, and you don’t always get the best results.
However, there are always exceptions to the rules. Dedication is key to assuring the work you present is the best you can do with the media at your disposal. The tools that are given to you via most self-publishing apps, like Kindle Direct Publishing, are quite extensive, and do allow you to have the visage of a truly realized, and finished product. The downside to this is,= you are now competing in a market of billions upon billions of books. There is a benefit to all this: Kindle does allow you to create paperback formats, so you can traditionally publish your work, all-the-while they will give you access to Kindle Unlimited.
What Kindle Unlimited does is makes your book free for a selected period of time, and give readers the benefit of reading a book without the charge, but Amazon will pay you a certain royalty based on the number of downloads your book receives. Think of it as providing a product for a subscription service, and seeing real-time numbers come back in for the amount of times that product is used. Providing books for Kindle Unlimited is a good method of expanding your reader-base to an audience you would never have been able to reach prior.
The market is a vast one for the independent author, and thus it creates a space for almost anyone with the integrity and fortitude to publish. Traditional publications are always going to be your best bet for an authentic author experience, but there is no harm in finding other channels to which your work can be distributed. If the optioning of your book is available through a publishing market, than stick with your publishing houses, and try to get every opportunity for your work out there. The world of publishing is one that should be traversed with magnanimity, and henceforth, do what is best for your work, because it is yours to share with the world whichever way you see fit.