Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and I have much to be thankful for. I have a life most people envy and yet I'm not always grateful. I tend to focus on what I still would like to do or need to do rather than what I've managed to accomplish already. Once I reach a goal I'm never satisfied, there's always something else I'm aspiring to do.

Some cancer survivors say cancer made them slow down, live in the moment, and smell the roses- not me. Time is short and I've a lot I'd like to do before I die. I've come to realize I'm happiest when I'm overwhelmed.

If you can identify with any of this perhaps you have what it takes to publish a children's book.

This month I thought I'd Blog about my experiences as a publisher. It's the perfect topic to remind me I've a lot to be grateful about.

Not a month goes by that I'm not queried by an aspiring writer who would like to publish a children's book and I always try to respond. If you're one of them I'd like you to know I've been where you're at, know what it's like and would never tell another aspiring writer not to go for it.

I apologize if anything you read here sounds condescending. I'm certainly not a genius and from what I've seen in this business you could be a creative writer, expert marketer, highly successful business owner, and still fail at publishing especially when you’re publishing a children's book. On the other hand, that nerd you took one look at and dismissed just might be a publishing genius.

Much depends on what your expectations are - if you simply would like to be published, and have the funds, getting your book published is not a problem. What you need is a Vanity Press Publisher and for a fee they'll be happy to publish your book.

However, if you desire to see your book reviewed by literary critics, acknowledged as legit within the publishing industry and attainable by bookstores and/or libraries across the country- well it's a little more complicated.

It takes a lot of hard work but I also believe there's an element of luck involved which perhaps explains why some awful books get a lot of attention and some wonderful books never hit a bookstore.

I started laying the ground work for publishing my book a year before anyone ever heard of it. My company/book took off after I received an invitation to appear on the Rosie O Donnell Show. While I'd like to think it was my compelling pitch that landed the gig I know that national TV shows receive 100's if not 1000's of compelling pitches from veteran PR persons and expert authors far more credible than I was at that time, but I was lucky enough to be selected.

Time and again I've found my self in the right place at the right time or I've waited until the time was right. My manuscript collected dust for years and when I finally dusted it off it was during a time when the media began to devote attention to the emotional issues pertaining to children and cancer and my book was one of the first of its type. I really believe publishing Tickles Tabitha's Cancer-tankerous Mommy was something I was meant to do, which is why I've been able to find my way around some seemingly impenetrable obstacles.

As they say, ignorance is bliss and nothing could have deterred me from trying to get my book published. Today I know that over 90% of all children's books fail to make it and that's without factoring in a niche topic like cancer.

Most people think writing and publishing a children's book is easy. Children's books appear so simple but it's their simplicity that makes them more difficult to write and even more difficult to publish.

The best way, to get a book published if you're a novice is to find a large, mainstream publishing company to purchase your book idea.

That's the best way- but it's not the easiest, unless you happen to co-host The View, you're a rap singer, or have some other celebrity status. I did not, which is why I decided to establish the Nutcracker Publishing Company and publish my own book.

Publishing, I now know, is not as much about writing a book that people enjoy as it is about marketing it, and marketing is not just about public relations or getting the media's attention. Publishing is a double edged sword- you need publicity to get the attention of the public, but publicity is worthless if you're book's not available to purchase from bookstores, distributors and via the internet.

If despite what I've written, what people say, or the size your bank account, you still want to see your book published more than anything- then you'll find a way to do it. Ask questions, read everything you can about it, and don't give anybody a dime until you've read what's blogged about them on the internet. If you still have questions, or need to vent, send me an e-mail.

Much has changed since I first published Tickles Tabitha's Cancer-tankerous Mommy, but one thing remains true, it's still one of the experiences I'm most grateful and thankful I've had the opportunity to pursue.