As a writer I long to have my work —poetry and prose— published.
We live in a world in which the work that writers write is often published. Bookstores are filled with books that once existed solely in the mind of authors and on laptops of agents and literary publishing companies. The more I submitted work, the more I noticed a trend: rejection. At first, I realized the lack of publication was my fault; some of my writing was simply not ready for marketing, and some work suffered due to editing problems and careless typos. As the years advanced, I did my due diligence. I made sure that all my submissions were free from grammar issues. I even had published writers to read what I have written to make sure that my work was a "good enough" to be published. I was on my way. While I have managed a few publications in recent years, I have had far more manuscripts rejected. With every rejection letter or rejection email I noticed a certain word that agents and editors used to describe years of hard work and time spent on what I have written: subjective. “Mr. Burton, as you well know, publication is subjective.” Maybe I was not on my way after all.
I hear the word “subjective” and I hear the echoes of rejection letters from years past; not only as it pertains to my writing, but the writing of numerous other aspiring writers who were told that their work was not good enough to be seen in print. Maybe I have heard the word subjective too often in my life, but I believe in what I have to say and that the narratives I have crafted are good enough to be published. If the keys of the kingdom will not be given to me, then I will take them.
In December of this year, I will publish my first chapbook of poetry, In Quiet Hours, on Amazon. A small book of thirty poems will be available to purchase, download, and read. I am taking the plunge into the world of self-publishing and I am not looking back. I am not going into this next phrase of my writing career with rose-colored glasses. I know the pressure of self-publishing will be quite intense. I have heard the horror stories in which a self-published author had become the victim of vicious attacks of commentary that surfaced from online responses to their work. A rose does not grow without thorns; neither does success come without tireless work ethic. Self-publishing, like similar initial startups, requires a person to have supreme self-confidence. Self-publishing also requires the support of good and faithful readers who appreciate and celebrate distinct and diverse literary voices. I believe I am in possession of a healthy amount of both.
I forging a new path. I am stepping past the middle man and woman and supplying the world directly with work that I believe in: my own. I know that with entering the world of self-publishing influential publications like Poets and Writers, The New York Times, The Paris Review will more than likely not cover or review my work in their pages. I want to be a published writer and now more than ever accomplishing this task will require a little elbow grease and some self-fulfilling prophecy. Sometimes a person has to call into being something that has not been created and I am up for the challenge.
Now is the time. The poetry and stories that I have written serves me very little good resting on the hard drive of my MacBook Pro. Self publishing is my shot and I will take it.
Devan Burton’s first chapbook, In Quiet Hours, will be available on Amazon in December 2016.