Why I Chose to Self-Publish
After graduating from college with a degree in studio art, I moved to Portland and started out my career as a landscape painter. (learn more) It is primarily how I have made my living for the past 8 years. I always enjoyed painting but very early on I felt that I had, even more, to say, more ways I wanted to expand my creativity. Feeling a strong pull in the direction of children’s books, I began writing several stories and drawing mockup illustrations until I even reached the point where I had a few great ideas for picture books. However, I didn’t know the FIRST THING about breaking into that world . . .
So, I joined the Society of Children’s Books Writers and Illustrators and gently began to dip my toe in the water. I went to SCBWI book conferences, where I met up with agents, editors and fellow writers. After learning as much as I could about the pros and cons of self-publishing vs traditional publishing, I started down the traditional route. I sent in stories to publishers and then would wait for a response. It would take 3 to 6 months to hear back IF I even got a response at all. My books kept getting turned down. But I was determined to keep going.
Taking Charge of My Destiny . . .
Then I went to one conference where there was an exercise that demonstrated just how difficult it was to get published. There was a panel of agents and editors sitting at the front of the room. Aspiring writers submitted manuscripts to be read aloud and then one by one the agent or editor would raise their hand when they reached the point in the story where they would stop reading and put the manuscript in the trash pile. Not a SINGLE story made it past the panel!!! When one agent was asked why she passed on a particular story she responded
“. . . sometimes she will pass on a story if she didn’t like the character’s first name . . .”
I was shocked by this experience. I knew that at this moment of my life I had WAY too many stories to tell. I felt that I needed to take charge of my own destiny, find my own way to share my stories. After leaving that conference, I made the decision to self- publish and from then on have worked each day to get my books out into the world.
Over the past year and a half, I wrote, illustrated and self-published 5 picture books: What Do You See?, An Extraordinary Book, Digger’s Daily Routine, The Shape Escape, and Lawrence the Lighthouse. I also realized I had to come up with an authentic way to self-promote the books and get my name out as a storyteller. So I also decided to launch a children’s story podcast called Story Spectacular. Last year I taught myself how to podcast by watching Youtube tutorials and then recorded a content bank of 42 story episodes and launched Story Spectacular on October 2nd, 2017. Now I spend each and every day working like a maniac for one, but also I am finally doing the thing I wanted to do for so long . . . I am telling my stories . . .
2 thoughts on “How I Got Started”
Simple, yet very interesting, Angela! Thanks for sharing about how your journey got started. I’ll also be checking out SCBWI. Maybe with a little research I can determine if Children’s Book writing might be a possible fit for me. I’d really love to write the one for my Mama that I’ve had swirling in my brain for a couple of years now (even if it’s the only one I ever write!).
Really enjoyed reading about your journey!
Hi, great post! I decided to self-publish too (have nearly finished first picture book). Love how proactive you’ve been…very inspiring thanks.
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