I’ve been asking myself this question for a few months. Should I self-publish? Backwards and forwards I’ve been, while editing my manuscript and researching the publishing process, both traditional and self-published route. My main reason for wanting to self-publish was the time it takes to get a book to market. Eighteen months to two years! Really?! And even closer to my heart, the illustrations. I’m quite fond of style used for Spike Lee and Tonya Lewis Lee’s book Please Baby Please which was illustrated by Kadir Nelson. This side of the pond I admire the work of Caroline Binch, as well as my Instagram finds Stacey Ann Cole and Naomi C Robinson to mention a few. Funding has been the biggest obstacle to making a definitive decision. In her book Insider’s Guide To Getting Your Book Published Rachael Stock advised don’t spend money you are not prepared to lose. I totally agree with her advice. I’ve lived my life taking calculated risk. However, it’s different when children are involved and there’s only one income earner in the family. While deliberating, motherhood as it often does gave me the reality check I that I needed. Having my book published the traditional way would be best for all concerned.
One thing I’ve read over and over again, is that there is no way of telling what book will sell and what will not. I’d been feeling confident due to my blogging networks in beauty, hair and parenting, surly I could swing it to sell my book?! Reality… I’m no celebrating blogger and there would be the issue of childcare cover to allow me to sell books at events and so on. I kept returning to the question Rachael Stock asked in her book, why do I want to get my book published? Money is good, yes. Who can live without it? But a writers life is not fast track to champagne lifestyle. Honestly, it’s about the story. I want to share my story with children and their parents. I want to be a part of a movement towards books that are inclusive to all children. Why should I have order books from the USA read an interesting story with racially diverse characters.
I recently met with children’s author Louie Stowell. We’d met a few months ago at Imagine Fest hosted by Inclusive Minds. Since, then Louie had been instrumental in pointing me in the direction of picture book twitter parties, networks to explore and basically sharing writing tips with me. While speaking to her about my manuscript, my writing challenges and plans for the future, it seemed more likely that a publisher was what I needed. However it wasn’t until I returned home on a high, to find my son Angelo ill that the other shoe fell. I don’t have the manpower to go it alone with my book venture. I’m not sure how working mothers do it, but it felt like whenever I have a ‘big moment’ one of my children fall ill. There and then it seemed to me, the best chance of giving my book a chance was to find a publisher.
Then, I attended the London Book Fair a few days ago. I was in the audience of seminar lead by the Book Trust, Inclusive Minds and Childs Play publishing house. The topic was ‘Meeting the challenges of publishing for children with additional needs. There is a gap in the market for meaningful identifiable stories for children with additional needs. The seminars was phenomenal! It made me consider a bigger picture, creating books that inclusive beyond racial diversity. Based on the feedback from Louie, the structural editing report from Head & Heart and friends, I went back to editing. I killed my last darling and it felt good. I’m very happy with what I’ve got. Now, it’s time to bring the pieces together for submission.
I’m putting out there into the universe, calling publishers and agents. If you’re looking for a charismatic, hard-working, social media-loving writer, passionate about creating books inclusive to all children, AND willing to do events I’M YOUR LADY.