by Eva Santiago
“What do these famous authors and their novels listed here have in common? Mark Twain– Huckleberry Finn, John Grisham– A Time to Kill, Walt Whitman-Leaves of Grass, Richard Paul Evans– The Christmas Box , Beatrix Potter- Creator of The Peter Rabbit series and Julia Child– the Joy of Cooking. These are among the many famous authors who self-published their works first then went on to become best sellers. These writers never gave up after receiving numerous rejection letters from publishing houses. So they took a stab at it an did it themselves. What followed for them was that once they self published, the publishers took note and picked up their self published work.
Before I had written one word of my first book, As Clear as Claire Gets, A Conversation with the Past, I did my home work. I was astonished to find that one of my favorite writers, Mark Twain had gone through the self publishing process. Would a major publisher take note of my work? But then I read a long list of other authors who had done the same thing and I thought, ‘ There’s obviously something to this! ‘ So heck yeah, I went for it! I self published my first book,which is my life story. As Clear as Claire Gets,is a legacy to my family. I didn’t promote it much and I did sell some copies. I also have it in a couple of libraries here in town. I was hoping to use it as a stepping stone and it did work that way. As Clear as Claire Gets, is long because I didn’t have the money to hire a professional editor. But alas, the writing business is a learning process like no other right?
A year and a half after my first book, I finished my second manuscript. Salsa! The Taste of Life, is a volume of mostly short stories with some poetry. I was thinking of self publishing again; I seriously had my doubts about sending it anyplace. One of my daughters kept telling me that she thought it was very good and that I ought to send it in to a publisher. I was terrified of those terrible rejection letters so I said no way. But I started looking around on line and I was overwhelmed with the whole process of having to have a literary agent in order to even pitch anything to most major publishers. So I kept looking and then I found Tate Publishing; one of the very few publishers left who still take manuscripts without all the hassle. So I sent them my manuscript and held my breath for several weeks. Six weeks later I received the news of my life: We want to publish Salsa! , the email read. They also informed me that out of hundreds of manuscripts they receive every year, they only publish 4% of those. I had made the cut, I was elated!So what have I learned from self publishing verses traditional publishing? Well for one, I had an editor assigned to help me polish my work and I thoroughly enjoyed it because it helped me see my writing in a new light. I also lost the fear of having my project scrutinized by the editor’s professional eye and realized she was there to help me take my writing to a whole new level. When I self published I had no idea what to do to market my book. Now, I am being trained by Tate Publishing so I can learn how to get my book out there. They invested in me so now they are going to do their best to make sure I do well because if Salsa! Succeeds it’s good news for them.