Thursday 28 June 2012

In Which I Get My Comeuppance For Being So Smug Last Week, Also Some Stuff About My Book

I guess it serves me right for posting so smugly last week about my uh-may-zing relationship with my boy - this week has been an unremitting nightmare. The children have been awful, I mean awful, i mean the kind of awful that makes me want to shout "are you HIGH right now?" at them.  And throw things. I asked Jay whether he had signed them up for some kind of psychotropic-drug clinical trial without telling me, because that's what this week feels like. He says no, but is clearly lying - I hope he is being well paid for his perfidy, that's all I can say. 

So that's incredibly annoying. Anyway. In other news, I'm inching closer to finishing this book that I keep talking about. Some people have now read it (most nerve-wracking thing I've ever done, I think, asking for that feedback) and in response to their comments, I'm going to start re-re-drafting while on holiday next week. (Which reminds me - I'm on holiday next week. And the week after. Probably with no internet access). 

I've been back-and-forthing about whether to seek traditional publishing for this thing, or do it myself, and after a ton of research I'm thinking maybe the latter. I was planning to write a post on publishing, but that's probably boring for 99% of you, and I think I can sum it up in a few sentences so I'll do that instead: 
1. Self-publishing is not as uncool as it used to be, what with Amazon Createspace and all. We can call it 'independent' publishing now too, which makes it sound forceful and dynamic instead of a little bit sad. As in: "I am independently publishing my book, because I am that creative and gung-ho", rather than "I am self-publishing my book, because I am that desperate". Yay. 
2. Every 'should I self-publish, or seek traditional publication?' article says 'If you are writing for a niche audience, you may find that self-publishing is your best option. Traditional publishers probably know no more about distribution channels in your niche than you do". The Adoption / Loss / Infertility crowd is the very definition of a niche audience, aren't we? 
3. Related to the above: I think that approximately 89.4% of adoption books are probably purchased online. Getting into bricks-and-mortar stores isn't a big deal like it would be for, say, crime fiction. 
4. Something I didn't know until I started researching this stuff: a large chunk of the books about adoption (except those written by established authors) are self-published. (Sorry - independently published). You can find this out by googling the name of the publishing company of each book, which can be found by looking at the Amazon listing. I didn't know most of these books were independently published until I did this - I had read a lot of them, and I would never have picked up on it. They weren't full of typos. Some of them even had really good covers.  I mostly found them at amazon - my local bookstores don't carry any books about adoption at all, no matter who publishes them. Which comes back the point in 2, I guess.

So anyway. If I do this, it means I have to do (or contract out) everything that a publisher would do to get this book finished and printed.  So I've been thinking about book covers, which is a lot more fun than fighting with my temporarily-psychotic children. Suddenly, I can see why there are so many bad independently published book covers out there. I mean - seriously - how can you visually represent an entire book with one image?  I can understand the temptation to just pile everything in there, like the author is saying -  It's a picture of a tree, because that represents growth, but also wood because the love interest is a carpenter. And the sky is pink because that's that's the heroine's favourite colour. And the stars are out, because there's a great scene in a planetarium, but it's daytime because of that thing that happened with her aunt in the last twelve pages. Also, the heroine owns a bakery so the tree is full of cupcakes. And one of the cupcakes is shaped like a cat. Get it? A CAT!

Yeah, I don't want to do that. I also don't want anything to do with the adoption staples of orphans, Africa or travel. It's not really a book about travel. It's about my life, and I'm not an orphan or an African, so those visual cues aren't right. (Also - both 'orphan' visuals and 'Africa' visuals tend to creep me out bigtime. Can you spell c-o-m-m-o-d-i-f-c-a-t-i-o-n?).  I was thinking about maybe something to do with a baby bottle, but that would make La Leche angry (and frankly, I'm frightened of them) or a pacifier (but we couldn't actually get our kids to take a pacifier) or something else that says baby, but well, I kind of got distracted. 

I'm not at all sure I've found the picture I need for this book, but I have found pictures for the front covers of these forthcoming publications, which I thought I would share with you: (I don't own these photos. You can buy them at shutterstock).

Sadly, I didn't get time to mock up Twenty Weeks Gestation is Not Too Early To Have Your Therapist On Speed Dial. But wow, searching around, I sure found that pregnant women really, really love having their photos taken. Often - very disturbingly - with props. While I get this - kind of - I don't really understand why photographers think that these photos are going to sell to other people, people who are related to neither mother nor fetus. Pretty much every search term I used brought up artfully posed pregnant bellies, sometimes (but not always) with heads and legs attached. Rubber duck? Pregnant torso. Baby Bottle? Pregnant torso. Seriously, who is entering these tags? Somewhere, someone is searching for 'Israeli / Palestinian conflict' and getting a pregnant torso. Well done, internet. Because I am totally planning to publish this: 

So anyway. That my life right now, and that's what's happening with the book. Enough of this silliness, and back to the hard work of editing parenting. 


  1. I agree, every adoption book I've purchased I've gotten online. I rarely make it to an actual bookstore these days.

    Can't wait for your book!

  2. I don't think the adoptive community is a niche market at all, but do what feels right!

    Why not just have the cover be a cute picture of the kids or the whole family?

  3. Thank you for the hearty HARHARHAR first thing in the morning. I vote for the closeup of the twins with the boy and girl labels on their foreheads. If you don't want to use their actual photo, maybe get someone to do a drawing of it?

  4. What about teaming up with someone with a bit of an artistic flair who'd like to get their work out into the public eye and can design something for you that encompasses everything that you want?

  5. Those pictures just crack me up--I love the Awkward Family Photos site, always good for a laugh. Can't wait for the book!

  6. You've sold me on the self-publishing. I say this as someone who works for a publisher (magazines) in NY.

    As for book covers - Anna at does that for a living - she's here in NY, as well. Here's her book site: You should definitely reach out to her. You'll see a lot of her books have a real chick-lit vibe to them - from what I know of her aesthetic, I'd guess that's driven by the publishers, not Anna.

  7. love it. also, the guy with the long hair? i'm pretty sure he's holding my daughter. i mean not seriously but that baby looks identical to what my daughter looked like then and it's creeping me out.

    whatever route you choose, i'm stoked. :)

  8. Bless your heart for this funny post. So needed that today. May I add these photos (just look past the 'white' baby part haha):

    Kudos again on your book-writing. People always ask me if I write like real writing-writing, for fun, and I always feel weird that I don't. Does my blog count? Too bad I pretty much don't let anyone in my life know about it.

    Have a lovely holiday!

  9. I can't wait to read your book!!! I know it will be great. You're an amazing writer.
    Amy x


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