Wizard of Oz Syndrome

June 18th, 2008

I’ve coined the phrase, Wizard of Oz Syndrome, to depict the outsider’s view of publishing as an illusive, page-conjuring practice ─ harnessed exclusively by sheer word-materializing wizardry. Whereas children’s picture books are laden with clarity and simplicity, the publishing industry itself is cloaked in complexity and mystique for aspiring children’s picture book authors and illustrators.

Though traditional publishers and reviewers find safety in supporting this outdated, old-fashioned mode of thinking, it is undoubtedly time to lift the publishing veil. The reality is that traditional publishing houses accept less than 2% of all unsolicited children’s book manuscripts. Getting published by a traditional publisher is like winning the lottery.

Though publishing purists disdain the concept of self-publishing, no one can deny that there is a paradigm shift occurring within the publishing industry today. Powerful desktop technology and decreased production costs allow just about anyone to self-publish! According to Brent Sampson, author of Publishing Gems, Insider Information for the Self-Publishing Writer, “Old-fashioned publishing is an outdated business model that has to adapt. The Industrial Revolution revolutionized it once; the Technological Revolution is revolutionizing it again.”

You are a self-publisher when you invest in your own printing. Though you must fund your own project, there are clear advantages to publishing your own children’s picture book:

  1. You keep 100% of the profits … and have higher earnings potential too!
  2. You maintain complete control over your children’s picture book project: cover, illustrations, binding, paper stock, etc.
  3. The standard 18-month window to publish your title through a traditional publishing house is reduced.
  4. You keep your rights indefinitely. Traditional publishers typically force you to forfeit your selling rights … even when your book is no longer in print.
  5. You can keep your book alive beyond the standard 3-6 month window allotted by traditional publishing houses. Publishing giants cannot afford to focus their energies on one particular book. You have the simple advantage because you can!

Why wait desperately for that one traditional publisher to publish your children’s picture book … when you can successfully publish your own? More and more aspiring children’s picture book authors are opting to self-publish. How about you?