My first official publication was a poem called “A Rose Is A Lovely Flower.” And it appeared in my junior high school yearbook. It may not sound as much but when I was first told the news and actually saw it in print, I was on top of the world. I never thought it’d feel so good to have something I crafted and labored with words born from 26 letters. Even when I knew a future in publication was for me after my friend and classmate became my first fan of my stories.
Yet my publication journey has been a choppy one. I wanted to become a published author since elementary school age. Yet, it wasn’t until college until I got my first taste in the submission process. And going through the endless waiting game for a response back from the poetry editor. Having some of my poems published in my college newspaper made the wait bearable. But I had it in my mind that publication in a literary journal or magazine will confirm myself as a writer.
I learned the hard way, in a crushing blow that I am a writer no matter what anyone says. Including a poetry editor who woke up on the wrong side of the moon. Instead of the typical not right for the journal. And or best of luck of finding a home somewhere else, I received the nastiest rejection letter of my life. I was in near tears at the cruelty. And it took the support and encouragement of the professor of my poetry workshop to not give up writing. And another professor during my senior panel (a kind of finals for English-Creative Writing students). Who leaned forward, grasped my hand and said, “you deserved to be published.”
Although I still had doubts, was afraid and despite the detours, I continued to write and submit. Because if they believed in me, then I should believe in myself. Then one day an idea whispered to me which led to the creation of the Can You Catch My Flow? Manuscript. The idea changed over time and like a mad woman, I submitted it to as many contests as I could.
A year, two poetry and fiction work in progress books later, I received the greatest news ever. Can You Catch My Flow? was accepted for publication by a poetry press. I received the contract via email. And went crazy searching for and coming up with bookcover ideas for weeks. Before I realized I had a dilemma to deal with.
When the contract came, I already started the process of self-publishing the manuscript. I’d set up an account through Amazon Kindle and CreateSpace. I even looked at Ingram Spark. I spent the summer weighing my options of traditional versus self publishing. On one hand the press that wanted to publish my manuscript was not only legit but reputable. My former poetry workshop professor even told me to go for it. As he had a few colleagues that’d were published by them. On the other hand, the stigma of subpar books through self-publishing had diminished. And no matter which I’d choose, promoting and marketing would still fall largely on me.
I pondered and pondered over the pros and cons for both. And even made a poem inspired by my indecision. Until finally, I decided I’ll come to my decision after I get back from vacation. Which I did, after letting myself loose and having a great time at Caribana. The R&R and fun must’ve been what I needed because by the time I return home I already knew what I wanted to do.
In the end, I decided to finish what I started and chose to self-publish. First I made Can You Catch My Flow? available as an ebook on Smashwords and later on Amazon Kindle. I finally have it available in print and am promoting it with a blog tour and giveaways. Self-publishing is hard work but I have creative control and publishing rights. Downside is, I don’t have the backing of a publisher to really push my chapbook to a wider audience.
Either way, I’m learning a lot and don’t regret my decision. In fact, this publication journey has shown me a third door I didn’t at first think of. Hybrid publishing. In which, I plan to self-publish shorter works like chapbooks. And submit my larger manuscripts to publishers, presses and or agents. After all, It’s a brave new world in publishing.
About the Author:
Ever since she was young, Lidy Wilks was often found completely submerged in the worlds of Dickens, Louisa May Alcott, Sweet Valley High and Nancy Drew. She later went on to earn a Bachelor degree in English with a concentration in Creative Writing, from Franklin Pierce University. Where she spent the next four years knee deep in fiction, poetry and creative non-fiction workshops.
Can You Catch My Flow? is a poetry chapbook. Lidy is also a member of Write by the Rails. She currently resides in Virginia with her husband and two children. And an anime, book and manga library, she’s looking to expand, one day adding an Asian drama DVD collection. Lidy continues her pursuit in writing more poetry collections and fantasy novels. All the while eating milk chocolate and sipping a glass of Cabernet. Or Riesling wine.