When I was a young child and tween, I had a love of fairy tales like no other. I say that, and you’re probably thinking, “Well, that’s what she says, but the truth is that I had a love of fairy tales that can’t compare with anyone else.” Or quite possibly you’ll be thinking, “Really…as a tween, you loved…fairy tales?” Whatever your reaction to my confession, I stand by my word on this one, and if you think that meant I was a little sheltered 12 year-old girl, then you’re probably right on that account.
Even as I read the unabridged version of Little Women and started ravenously devouring the Christopher Pike books that became popular when I was a young adult, the impact of fairy tales (or as I prefer to think of them, faerie tales) was still something I felt very deeply. In fact, around this time, I would sometimes imagine myself as Cinderella, though less in the beautiful princess, and more in the young girl forced to do unwanted chores for my grandmother, like cleaning out the kitty litter box and being forced to spend time in the basement with the children while the grownups talked about grownup things. Melodramatic, just a bit…?
Okay, no, you’re right, it was actually a whole lot more melodramatic than “just a bit,” but the point is that faeries stories made up a huge part of my understanding of the world at the time. Even now, I feel the effects of these stories on my early adolescence, so it shouldn’t be overly surprising that the latest news I’ve heard about the children’s book publishing market brought back these memories this morning. You see, I just read in Publisher’s Weekly that Kandide And The Secret Of
The Mists is getting picked up by Scholastic for a 40,000-copy print run and will be one of the featured selections that they sell in not only the Scholastic Book Club, but also their Book Fairs. “So what,” you’re probably thinking, right? I wouldn’t blame you since Mockingjay has a first print run 1.2 million copies. However, there is something you might not know yet, something that you need to know before you walk away with a complete understanding of the faerie tale I’m weaving.
If it was only that Scholastic decided to publish this book, then it wouldn’t be a faerie tale. The truth is that the author, Diana Zimmerman actually decided to go the self-pub route after being unable to find either an agent or a publisher for her firstnovel in The Calabiyau Chronicles series. She pushed hard to get the word out about her novel, and over the course of the last two years sold 12,000 copies on her own. Her efforts were something that the people at Scholastic couldn’t ignore, so now, her novel about a faery princess will finally make it into the big leagues of the publishing world. Yay…it’s a faerie tale a fait accompli!
On an interesting side note, the article in Publisher’s Weekly states that while many independent bookstores refused to sell her novel in it’s self-published form, she was able to break down the resistance of Barnes & Noble because of her commitment to promoting the book herself. It makes this reviewer wonder whether or not both big name and independent stores will begin to reconsider offering some self-published fiction to their clients. What do you think about this story? Do you think that self-published novels have a greater chance of success than they once did? Or do you plan on sticking to your traditionally published novels and that’s it?