Deborah Batterman is a fiction writer, essayist, and teaching artist. A story from her debut collection, Shoes Hair Nails, was nominated for the Pushcart Prize. Her stories and essays have appeared in anthologies as well as various print and online journals, and a selection of her essays, Because my name is mother, is now available as an e-book.
Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/deborah.batterman
#1: First off, let me say that I was blown away by the appearance of your website. Did you design it yourself or hire a professional?
It’s a pretty clever design for a writer’s website/blog – isn’t it? But I can’t take credit for much, except some fine-tuning. I had originally set up my blog via Blogspot, which was fine, until I decided to raise the bar and do a more formal website where I could add a book page. So I made the switch to WordPress, and it was pure serendipity that the Scrabble template showed up in my search for something with a little oomph to it.
#2: You've tried both the traditional and self-publish routes with your writing. What can you tell us about the experiences you've had and how the two routes differ?
Both channels are riddled with frustrations. With traditional publishing, the big hurdle is finding the right fit for your book – and not taking rejection (too) personally. With small, indie presses, like the one that published my collection, there’s the perception that you’ll get the kind of attention you don’t get with a bigger house. Maybe yes/maybe no. At the very least, you’re working with someone who has a vested interest in you, someone you can partner with every step of the way. With self-publishing, going solo multiplies the pressures. Until the digital revolution spawned the world of e-book self-publishing, there was no question about seeking traditional routes of publishing. Yes, it’s a trial by fire, but the alternative (a ‘vanity’ press) was not something most serious writers considered. That’s all changed now -- and it’s hard to argue with the notion that taking a more proactive role in the means of production and distribution is a good thing. At the same time, the ease of publishing makes it tempting to’ just do it,’ often without the kind of critical eye good editors at traditional publishing houses pride themselves on. Maybe the best of both worlds lies somewhere betwixt and between more formal, traditional channels, with the particular kind of validation it brings (i.e., when an editor/publishing house invests in a writer) and the DIY mindset (i.e., in which all the investment in time and money is the writer’s. Steven Pressfield’s ‘The War of Art’ very wisely reminds writers that we can’t – and maybe shouldn’t – be expected to do it all.