Thursday, October 11, 2007

On Self Publishing and... Graphic Novels!

You’ll notice that a number of the books featured on this blogsite are not from a major publishing house – some are, in fact, self-published.

Now there is a lot of discussion in the kid lit world about self-publishing pros and cons – often self publishing is seen as a last resort by relatively inexperienced writers who are impatient to be published. And their self-published works are not generally perceived to be on an equal “professional” footing.

In fact, even the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators' guidelines on what defines you as being a “published” author doesn’t count self-published works unless they have sold over 750 copies. The idea being that 750 is more than your friends and relatives could buy, and it shows your title is commercially available.

Why? The thinking goes that these books haven’t passed through the subjective and ostensibly qualitative hurdles as the books that went through the traditional editing process. In a sense, a book from a major publisher is “vetted” – in that SOMEONE besides the author had to believe it was a work of quality. And had to fight to get it through the system!

Now, we all know that there are books that come from major publishers that are not, in fact, what we might consider works of quality. (A Macy's Day Parade of celebrity authors comes to mind...)

And there ARE the giant success stories, with their own mythologies, of authors who self-published at first, only to find fame and fortune and major publishing house contracts later. Think "Eragon." Think "The Celestine Prophecy."

For an upbeat "go for it" assessment of self publishing, check out this article in USA weekend.

For a more measured take on the prospects, check out this great blog entry by Jim C. Hines.

And if we dive into the realm of graphic novels and comics, we find titles like


that are among the growing number of comic and graphic novel titles that have GLBTQ characters and or themes. But 95 % of these are self-published!

That's according to David Paul Brown, one of the team behind the amazing non profit Prism Comics – a non-profit whose mission includes getting the word out about GLBTQ themed comics and graphic novels. Check out their site with links to so many cool titles.

So, I think you can put forth that for a marginalized community, self-publishing enables that first wave of materials to get out to an audience hungry for seeing a reflection of themselves in print.

It's also a way for the maverick authors out there, who are willing to wear the publisher/editor/marketing/sales/distributor/and-everything-else hats, to bypass the traditional path to being published.

But these self-published books are harder to find out about. And harder to get.

So why am I including self-published books on this blogsite?

Because, as a fellow author, I believe these are works of passion, too, that are put out into the world with the hopes that they'll find an audience of Teen and other readers, and I'm glad to help get the word out about their books.

And at the same time, as a fellow reader, I want to let YOU know that their book is one that came to be published in a self-determined way. That's information that, as a reader, I find useful.

So, on this blogsite, you'll see self-published works listed like Kim Wallace's passion-driven and award-winning series
Erik and Isabelle Freshman Year at Foresthill High
Erik and Isabelle Sophmore Year at Foresthill High
Erik and Isabelle Junior Year at Foresthill High
Erik and Isabelle Senior Year at Foresthill High

And you'll see graphic novels like Abby Denson's "Tough Love: High School Confidential," from a small literary publisher, Manic D Press.

And you'll see novels from the major publishing houses, like David Levithan's "Boy Meets Boy!"

My goal is that "I'm Here. I'm Queer. What the Hell do I Read?" is as inclusive and thorough a resource as possible for finding out about all the YA books out there with GLBTQ characters and themes!

Thank YOU for being part of this community, and this discussion. Wanna share YOUR take on self-publishing? Click on "comment!"



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