I recently had an opportunity to sit down (virtually) with Kelly Simmons, self-published author of The Wives of Billie’s Mountain. OK, full disclosure, Kelly graduated from the MFA program at Queens with me, and we shared a few classes, so I already knew her quality as a writer.
Kelly is no stranger to the publishing industry, having worked throughout the late 80’s and early 90’s for a packaging and publishing operation, Falcon Press, which was eventually sold to Globe Pequot. I have a theory about corporations – eventually everything will be sold to a subsidiary and either Disney or Microsoft will own everything. It’s no secret that I’ve been critical of self-publishing for the simple fact that it’s relatively easy for anyone to put anything out, which creates such a staggering amount of crap content that the average consumer has trouble weeding out good work, like Billie’s Mountain, from bland writing, like Aunt Gertrude’s expose on her secret love affair with the mailman in 1967. My opinion on self-publishing has undergone a transition over the past year, and I wanted to speak to Kelly about her experience, and her thoughts on the industry.
Your Book, Wives of Billie’s Mountain, was self-published on Amazon in April of this year. At what point in the writing project did you consider self-publishing?
Kelly: I had no interest in self-publishing and never set out with that in mind. When I finished Wives of Billie’s Mountain I started looking for an agent. Three different agents requested the manuscript for months at a time. One agent requested rewrites, which I did, and I also had three publishers who had it for several months. I waited for over two years with my book in limbo, and was told ultimately each time that they liked the book, but they just didn’t think there was much interest in Mormons. It didn’t matter how many times I told them about Big Love or any other Mormon titles. It’s frustrating. I’ve received great reviews but wasn’t able to get a foothold. Continue reading…