Saturday, May 06, 2006

Orphaned

I'm a publishing orphan. My homeschooling books were published by a small independent publisher which eventually sold itself to Random House, a decidedly large internationally-owned publishing conglomerate. The books are now part of Three Rivers, an imprint of Crown Books Group, part of Random House, part of Bertelsmann AG. The few book proposals I've submitted to them have been rejected as good but addressing niches too small for them. (I gather they're looking for 100,000 copies to sell in a year instead of the nice, steady 3,000-4,000 copies per year my books have averaged.)

But I've never been interested in writing books just to have something to sell. I've always had this weird urge to actually have something new to say, instead of just rehashing or rearranging the same things I've said before--which is why I haven't written another homeschooling book since The Unschooling Handbook. I'd pretty much covered everything I'd had to say about homeschooling (or at least, everything book-length).

But now I've got something to say on the subject again, and I'm going to ask a few friends to help me. Next year will be the 10th anniversary of the original publication of The Homeschooling Handbook, and I intend to write a "where are we now and what do we think of our homeschooling lives?" book. Let's take a look at what we've done, and how we think it's worked--it's about time for a book about the long-term effects of homeschooling, from the point of view of homeschoolers themselves.

But this time, I'm not sure I'm ready to work again with what the publishing world has become. I'm leaning toward POD publication--that homeschooling-induced orneriness finds the idea of TOTAL CONTROL over a book seriously appealing. (No arguments about obnoxious or ill-informed cover copy or illustrations of moms in aprons standing over the kitchen table supervising their kids' seatwork--what an idea!) And since homeschooling is such a niche market, and I know that niche far better than your average international publishing conglomerate, distribution and marketing don't hold quite the terror for me that they once did.

So if you're one of the original contributors to any of my books (but especially the original HH), or if you homeschooled your kids for a decade or so, and think you would be interested in helping with this project, let me know.

I'm working up another little questionnaire.

1 comment:

Ren said...

I don't know that we'd have anything useful to add, but we've been homeschooling since 1996. Does that make us veterans? ;)

One thing I've noticed, is the awareness level has changed drastically just since we started (and I still feel like a newcomer in so many ways)..

Ren
learninginfreedom.com