This post was originally published on my blog, Delirious Documentations, on February 16, 2016.
Click here to read Part 3.
It is possible that I have been foolish. Once I found that the literary agent route (in which your agent can approach larger publishers for you) wasn't for me, I turned to smaller publishers (those whom a writer can contact directly without needing to go through an agent). In fact, it was years ago that I put together a list of publishers that writers can contact directly about their books.
My book is set in Arizona, so I in many ways consider it and want it to be "an Arizona book." So I thought that the University of Arizona Press would be a good fit for me and my book. They represent a lot of regional books (both fiction and non-fiction) that sometimes are turned away from other publishers who consider their content too regionalized. And I thought, yes, that's exactly the case with my book: the people in New York can't quite see the need to risk whether or not people from different regions would be interested in it and yet people in Arizona are already interested in it (that is, people that I or my family have talked to about the book are interested in it).
So I followed their procedure for submitting a book proposal. And I appreciate that they got back to me in a timely manner and told me what I suppose I should have already realized: in fiction, they mainly only represent works by Latina/o and Native American writers. The funny thing (to me) is that I am Hispanic (I'm three quarters Mexican, born in California and raised in Arizona since I was eight); so if my last name didn't happen to come from my one quarter "white" side and if I had included a few lines of dialogue in Spanish, then my book probably could have fit in with the Camino del Sol series. (I do realize that this is a question of content not just ancestry and that my book is not at all concerned with racial culture and that's why it doesn't fit in--I'm just saying that it's funny how all the pieces fall sometimes.) So. Despite my wish for this to be "an Arizona book" and despite U of A Press's focus on the region, this just wasn't a match. (Let me add in here that I do still appreciate what they publish and they do publish some great books, so I am by no means saying anything against them.)
It just discouraged me again, especially after all the time I'd put into trying to get a literary agent beforehand. So I decided something. Instead of moving into my list of other publishers that I could approach directly, I decided to just go with Option 3: self-publishing. I thought to myself, maybe what I need is to be in control of everything and to be in direct contact with my readers myself (by this, I mean that if my book was going to be of most interest to Arizonans, then I could physically bring my book to them and tell them of its existence and therefore not need a publisher to market it for me).
It is possible that I decided for certain on self-publishing a tad too soon. Yet whether or not that is the case, I still think that this option will be a good fit for both my style and this particular book. I'll explain why next time.