This is it!  I’ve decided that, come what may, it’s the Year of the Book.  I don’t know how yet.  Pieces of it are still out to agents, and one editor is still reviewing the whole manuscript.  I think so, anyway.  Let’s just say there are long silences.  And patience is not one of my stellar virtues.

An e-publisher is courting me.  We had a long talk a few weeks ago during a week in which there was so much e-publishing buzz that I felt very cool and with-it in today’s world.  William Styron’s family was making news about the fact that his longtime publisher, Random House, didn’t have rights to e-publish.  E-publishing rights weren’t even thought of in Styron’s heyday. In December Media Bistro sponsored a New York City digital publishing summit in led by Jane Friedman, a publishing industry luminary formerly with Harper Collins, who’s made the leap to e-publishing (of old titles, such as Styron’s) in a start-up, Open Road Integrated Media.

But e-publishing is not a perfect answer and hardly a universally accepted concept.  Personally, my patronage of and concern for book stores (especially independents) notwithstanding,  I have to confess to the Kindle as a guilty pleasure.  We bought them in preparation for this fall’s Africa trip that didn’t happen; you’re not allowed much luggage on safari, and the long plane trips mandated lots of reading.  With six books downloaded, I’ve used the device, despite not going to Africa.  It’s fun and SO easy to read print adjusted to my eyesight and to carry around (downside is it’s one of the electronic devices flight attendants want you to turn off for take-off and about 20 minutes before landing).

But my potential market for Secrets of the Afikomen will mandate a physical product.  And, if a book succeeds through some form of self-publishing, there’s a chance a big name might pick it up later.  Not likely with e-publishing. Publishers aren’t going to let those rights slip away for long.

Good segue to self-publishing, which is what I’m really pondering here.  I’m beginning to explore this option and fighting to conquer the ego part of succumbing to it.  Is it for losers in the formal publishing world?  Is the caché of a “real” publishing deal still worth the struggle? The reality is that a newcomer, even with a book deal, is not likely to be showered with big publishing perks like a goodly advance, a book tour, or much marketing help.  There’s a lot I’d have to do myself either way, and I’m prepared for that (this web site is the beginning).  But distribution to book stores is a problem with self-publishing.  Here in San Francisco we hardly have room for that proverbial garage full of books to load into the car and schlep around the country.  Yet, I’ve seen at least one self-publishing “house” advertise its products in the New York Times Sunday Book Review section, which is a good sign of the potential for this route.

Lots to uncover and discover.  But this is the year.  Time to embrace the Chinese New Year Tiger and make it happen!

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