My AK Women's Writer's meeting last Thursday was a bust. I showed up and was the only one there. Not all is lost......I go to Barnes & Nobles (B&N) where Bob Bell is having a book signing for his latest, Oh No, We're Gonna Die, Too! We chatted. He gave me some tips and told me about Todd Publications here in Anchorage and his experiences with them. While I did previously convince myself that POD publishing was the way to go, I'm now on the fence and am considering an independent publisher.
Last night I went to the AK Writer's Guild monthly meeting, also a B&N. Nancy Lord was the presenter. Her 7th book is out, Rock, Water, Wild: An Alaskan Life. There was a discussion of literary arts vs. genre and where Shakespeare would fit in.
Also, a discussion of George Orwell's (author of 1984, Animal Farm) essay Why I Write. His 4 points of this statement are: 1. Sheer egoism (opposed to egotism) or having something important to say. 2. Aesthetic enthusiasm or having appreciation for good craftsmanship. 3. Historical impulse (reporting on the present). 4. Political Purpose, either affect peoples thinking or even nudge or push the world in a certain direction. It got me thinking of why I write. I think he sums it up better that what I could have but gives some good food for thought. More of that is this quote by James Baldwin "The purpose of all art is to lay bare the questions that are obscured by answers". Hmmm. (I hope I got that quote right, but you get the gist anyhow.) I try to apply that to my own writing.
I did also have a very lovely visit with one of my favorite professors, Jeff. He has written a book and is working on getting it published. We had a great discussion of how the process has been. His experience is a bit different as his book is a different genre than mine. We need to follow different paths. However, our methods and viewpoints aren't too different as we are both Aquarius and both Plums. We share similar view points and its great to discuss accomplishments and concerns with like minded folk.
Though I am now confused. Not about the philosophy of writing, just the nuts and bolts of the process of being published. Do I need an agent? How far along do I get before I write a query letter and proposal? Do I need those things for an independent publisher? Which comes first, the chicken or the egg?