Dawn Colclasure's Blog

Author and poet Dawn Colclasure

Friday, January 24, 2014

If a book is ready, then why not publish it?

It used to be that I would try to get certain types of books published each year. While this was out of my control for a while there, I really hoped that the following types of books would come out each year: Fiction, nonfiction, poetry and children’s. Thankfully, I was able to accomplish this with my publishers. After I started self-publishing, and after some publishers I have worked with stopped publishing certain types of books, or would not publish a certain book in print, I had more control over making sure this happened.

And that’s a system I got comfortable with. Thanks to my publishers and my self-publishing, these were the types of books that came out every year.

Then I came across something that made me change my mind.

I am a member of an online writer’s group, and someone in the group asked a rhetorical question: “Why would a publisher not publish a book that was ready for publication?” (I am paraphrasing this person.) The topic of discussion was the right time to publish a book in a series (most publishers publish one a year). Someone brought up a hunch that publishers were holding books back because of the one-book-each-year system. Still, the question got me thinking. Why would a publisher – or even a self-publisher – hold back a book if it’s ready to go?

Why, indeed.

It makes sense to publish a book if it’s ready for publication. Granted, some books are slated for publication at certain times of the year so they would have a better chance of selling (like a book about mothering for Mother’s Day), but if that is not the case for this book, then why wait?

As I like to say, there’s no time like the present.

So I decided that instead of “one poetry book a year” or “one children’s book a year,” like before, I’ll go ahead and self-publish a poetry book or a children’s book if it’s ready for publication. I do still try to do at least one nonfiction book a year, but sometimes there might be two, as I work with more than one publisher, or none at all. That is really all up in the air. The publisher has control over when that book comes out (as much control as they can try to have, anyway!), but not me. I do try, but sometimes it might not happen.

Because I have a series, however, I can count on 5 more of those books coming out one year at a time. In fact, the next one comes out this year. So I’m good with the fiction. And this year will see the publication of THREE nonfiction books (or maybe 5, if two other publishers come through), and I’ll admit that’s quite unusual. But this year is the 10th anniversary for two of those books, so it’s a special occasion. I have a nonfiction series, as well, so it is very likely I can count on one a year with nonfiction.

But there’s going to be something a little bit different this year with other books.

For starters, I am self-publishing a nonfiction book this year. The only reason why I am doing this is because it’s a short book and I would like it to be available in print. It’s one of those books that was ready for publication, so really, why not get it out there? I did NOT get this manuscript edited, however, and I have a very, very good reason for making that decision: The words in the book are not my own. I was inspired to write them. It’s hard to explain, but the words in this particular book, The Warrior Way, came to me in a trance as I meditated. This all happened several years ago. It was as though a voice was speaking to me and all I could do was type everything onto the computer. Because the words are not mine, I really do not want to change anything. This type of thing has happened to me before, like with automatic writing, and for other situations like when I'm between dreaming and sleeping. It has not happened so strongly again since. I am grateful that it happened, though, because I think it’s a good book with some really good ideas.

Another thing different is that I will be self-publishing two poetry books this year, as well as two children’s books. Again, they were books that were ready to go, so why not publish them?

There really is no time like the present.

I don’t know if I’ll continue with this in the future, but there will definitely be quite a few books I’ll have coming out this year. Not bad for the 10-year anniversary.

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