People ask me why I chose to publish my novel, SHOW ME YOUR FACE, as an independent project rather than try to find a conventional publisher. Lots of reasons. My experience with publishers was not always happy.
When HOLD THE FAT, SUGAR & SALT was first accepted by Perigee Books, a division of The Putnam Publishing Group, my co-author and I were ecstatic. Then Perigee released Hold the Fat without an index (corrected in the second printing). We pointed out to our editor that the contract required an index and the proof did not have one, but she said it was too late and we had such a great table of contents we didn’t need an index, and we were stuck with that. HOLD THE FAT was my favorite of our four cookbooks; it’s out of print now.
Our contract with Perigee included an option for our next book, We were ecstatic about that, too, but when we were ready to write the next book, we learned that Perigee expected us to first produce a complete manuscript and then wait 45 days while they decided whether or not to accept it. That next book was a collection of recipes that were “fast and fantastic!” (Says so on the cover.) We wanted to call it “THE CLOCK WATCHERS LOW-FAT,LOW-SALT COOKBOOK,” emphasizing the speed of prepping these recipes, but the editors thought “clock watchers” was pejorative. Instead they came up with THE QUICK AND DELICIOUS LOW-FAT, LOW-SALT COOKBOOK. Really snazzy!
Moving on, I wrote BACKPACKING WITH BABIES AND SMALL CHILDREN. I was really happy at first with Wilderness Press in Berkeley. Backpacking with Babies had first been published by Signpost Books, and then when they allowed it to go out of print, Wilderness picked it up for second and third editions. I chose a wonderful photo for the cover of the second edition, but the third edition came out with no cover consultation at all! I made sure that my contract for CAMPING WITH KIDS, my next book with Wilderness, included cover approval. (For more information about my books, go to Goldie’s Books in the heading of this blog.)
So we come to SHOW ME YOUR FACE. I spent many years thinking about this book and wrote it with many interruptions. Over the years I had submitted queries and chapters to various agents and publishers, and always they took weeks and weeks to finally respond. And then the response was, “show us a complete manuscript.” I finished the manuscript in late 2014. I knew I would turn 82 on my 2015 birthday. I knew from my experiences with publishers that it could take months and months, sometimes a year and a half, to publication, and I wasn’t sure that I would have that much time. So I turned to CreateSpace, the publishing division of Amazon. Now I am not only author and publisher, but also chief of marketing. I am a bookseller, in addition to everything else. Marketing is a pain! Should I have waited, and found a publisher? I don’t know. What do you think?