Things are falling into place for the upcoming Decatur Book Festival (Sept 4th thru 6th). These beauties will be available at the Emerging Writers Tent (minus the toys, my son wants those back). I will be prowling around the festival looking for customers, hope to meet some of you.
Below is a brief explanation of my rationale for self-publishing the first Dinosaur Territory book, which will—hopefully!—be available next month (Feb. 2015).
About three years ago, I started writing the story; and about a year and a half ago, I finished it to the point where I thought it was ready for lit agents to review. Over the course of the next year, I submitted the story (or various parts of it) to about ten agents. My list came from googling something like “best lit agents for middle grade fiction”. Of those agents, a handful got back in touch and one gave me some helpful feedback. Ultimately, though, no one offered to represent me.
I then did some more research on the publishing business. From what I found, publishers and agents (even those interested in new authors) are looking for writers who are established in some way—be it with a previously published work, a popular blog, or a self-published title. This is completely understandable from their perspective. If you can spend your energy on a new author with a solid fan base on Smashwords (of whom there are many), why would you spend any energy on a new author without that kind of record? With any luck, using the latest tools of self-publishing, I will create that record for Dinosaur Territory. That’s the primary answer to the question above.
Through this process, though, I found out some other things about self-publishing. Most notable is that I like it. It’s challenging, interesting, and very hands on. I’ve had to do a lot of research about self-publishing perils and pitfalls. I’ve also had to spend a lot more energy on my text by writing, proofreading, editing and so on—which is why it’s taken me so long to self-publish since my first draft. Another thing it’s taught me is that I can’t be shy about my work. I have to ask for advice from friends and family to move forward. Because of this, I’m extremely glad I’ve taken the self-publishing route. It’s given me a much better understanding of the publishing industry as a whole. Plus, I think it’s made me a better writer.
This is the first entry and, if you’ve stumbled into Dinosaur Territory, you might look here to find out what it’s all about.
Basically, this is a site to promote stories written by me about Dinosaur Territory. If you don’t already know, Dinosaur Territory (the fictional place, not this site) is a part of the United States’ western frontier. Early in the 1800s unfamiliar creatures and plants began to appear. After a few decades they took over. Before the Civil War, they had completely replaced the plant and animal life west of the 99th meridian (excluding a sliver along the west coast). These creatures–I’ll bet you’ve already guessed–were dinosaurs. Because of the danger, the War Department took over responsibility of the area, and Dinosaur Territory was created (legally, by Congress). People, being the enterprising creatures that they are, began to populate Dinosaur Territory, and what you get is a land bigger than Western Europe where lots of exciting things can happen (dinosaurs + cowboys = exciting things*).
At this site, I’ll post progress about Dinosaur Territory stories and books in development. I also plan to include references to real news about Dinosaurs and the historical Old West. Feel free to use this site to contact me about Dinosaur Territory. I’d love to hear from you.
*This is a very basic formula, though not very well known.