March 18th, 2009
At Terminus, I went to a workshop about getting published for the first time. One of the things that was clear to me was that there is no "Normal", at least, not in the sense that a lot aspiring writers think of. For example, a lot of us (fanficcers/slashers) have long thought that we should hide our fan work, even from the agents and publishers. that's not true. While you may want to password lock some of the adult stuff (just to avoid controversy), letting them know that you write HP fanfic, and you post fic to such-and-such popular archive or LJ Comm etc, says to them that you have an audience of X-number people who might buy your book b/c they know you/your work already, or if its not their thing they may suggest your work to their friends or kids etc, or that the HP Newsletters will announce a congrats (or online interview etc) to fanfic writer so-and-so who was recently published.
And forgive me, I don't know your specific disability, but depending on your comfortableness with discussing it (not necessarily in detail though), that too could be part of your promotion. Not that that has to be the focus of it, but if you send off a press release to people, that "overcoming the odds" spin is something that American media likes. Who is going to be more interesting for someone to interview for their newspaper article on new books, or tv show book spotlight?
1. Middle-class John Smith who wrote another formulaic book, or...
2. Jane Smith, who struggled against the world's messages that she wasn't 'good enough' because shes got a disability, and breaks through to accomplish her dream of sharing a story about...?
Sure, #1 might be published because formula sells, but #2 can also get published and widely reviewed because Westerners like personal success stories. (and one of my many dislikes about JKR, playing up her "oh I was poor and on welfare but now I'm living a fairy tale!" because she CHOSE to go on welfare for a short time to have time to write, knowing she'd have no trouble finding employment afterwards- as opposed to someone who didn't choose to be in that situation and had to actually struggle! Grrr)
You're right, though. It's about self-marketing. If all else fails, I can self-publish and self-market quite easily from the internet. Actually, quite a few authors have done their first few books that way recently.
I'm going to try the traditional routes first, but if not, well, I just want to tell a story. And if I can make a little money at it too, that's great. Even just having it up on a website and sticking a couple adds on the side, if you get enough hits, can make a sizeable amount of profit (especially considering the only expense is a website which is pretty cheap these days; no other publishing costs)