Kai Strand is visiting today. She is awesome online, but more awesome in person. We live in the same town and see each other periodically for lunch and Guild meetings. She doesn’t share my love of Jonathan Rhys Meyers, but that’s OK. I like her anyway. Take it away Kai…
I don’t think my story is unique in the writing world. When I first started pursuing publication I dreamt of a hardback book from one of the (at the time) Big Six publishers. On May 6th,I self-published a young adult romance. So how did I end up there? It might not be exactly what you think.
With the dramatic shift in publishing over the past few years, the stereotype that authors self-publish because they aren’t good enough for traditional publishing is pretty shattered. If you are a regular reader of Mary Pax, then you’ll know that myth is busted.
My new novella, Worth The Effort: Ella’s Story, is actually my sixth published book. The first five novels are published with small presses. Even that isn’t for the reason you might suspect. Submitting to big publishers and their gatekeepers – literary agents – is a painfully slow process. I spent the first few years of my career waiting for months on end for responses. I even received favorable rejections, which gave me hope that I wasn’t a horrible writer. But after waiting eight months to hear, “We enjoyed your writing style and the pacing, but we already have a similar title under contract” I’d be crushed. Eight months is a long time for a story to be sitting around NOT being read by readers.
So I turned to small press. They respond faster, they publish faster, and they have a closer relationship with their authors. I enjoy publishing through small press and never actually expected to jump into the world of self-publishing. But small press isn’t perfect either. They run on minimal staff, so promised publication dates are often missed. Sometimes I have to chase after them for information about sales. And I do most of my own publicity anyway. So their big value add is that they provide the editing and cover art with no up front cost. And they handle the book formatting and the publication.
Honestly, none of those tasks are my favorite part of publishing and that is why I never thought I’d do it myself. But when I looked at my career as a whole, I realized it would be irresponsible of me NOT to take the plunge. You’ve heard the phrase; “Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket.” Yeah, that.
I hope to continue to publish through all publishing channels, because from my side of the book, this is a career. I hope that from your side of the book, you continue to enjoy my work, regardless of how it got into your hands.
Ella Jones is a coward. There is a teen boy living in the alley behind her work and she is terrified of him.
Desperate to leave behind the stereotypical and judgmental world she was raised in, Ella forces herself to make a true connection with seventeen-year-old Ayden Worth. As their friendship grows Ayden’s quiet, gentle ways teach her true courage.
But there’s more to Ayden’s story than Ella knows. When their worlds collide in the most unexpected place, Ella feels betrayed. Will she find the courage to learn who Ayden really is, or will she determine he’s not worth the effort?
About the author:
When her children were young and the electricity winked out, Kai Strand gathered her family around the fireplace and they told stories, one sentence at a time. Her boys were rather fond of the ending, “And then everybody died. The end.” Now an award winning children’s author, Kai crafts fiction for kids and teens to provide an escape hatch from their reality. With a selection of novels for young adult and middle grade readers and short stories for the younger ones, Kai entertains children of all ages, and their adults. Kai lives in Central Oregon and gets to kibitz with Mary Pax and other writing friends, on a regular basis. Learn more about Kai and her books on her website, www.kaistrand.com