By Darvell Hunt
Part III: Why would LDS writers submit to Zarahemla Books?
Today I’m posting Part III of my series exploring the newest LDS publisher on the block, Zarahemla Books. You can find the previous two episodes by going to here and here.
In this third and final installment, I would like to ask (and attempt to answer) one last question: Why would I, as an LDS writer, want to submit my writing to Zarahemla Books to be considered for publication?
This, I think, is the most important question in this whole discussion. Why would I want to do this indeed?
First, why wouldn’t I want to submit to them? That’s a much easier question to answer. Zarahemla is small. They haven’t been around for very long. Who knows if this little publisher is going to survive in the LDS market? If something I wish to submit to them really were outside of the “normal scope” of what LDS publishers will publish, wouldn’t a national publisher possibly be a better choice for submission?
Suppose I could take my “edgy, but not apostate” LDS novel that was aimed toward the LDS audience and rewrite it enough so that it could be targeted toward the national audience. Would that be a good idea? More sales, bigger advances (the LDS market doesn’t really have advances), and generally, more publicity. That sounds like a good idea.
Or, should I submit it to Zarahemla Books, with hopes that it will sell enough to make the time spent doing the writing, publishing, and marketing, all worth it—or, at the least, to possibly break even? Does that sound like a better idea?
What, you say? Why?
Because the LDS market needs growth. We need more books like what Zarahemla wants to publish. If I can help grow Zarahemla Books by submitting something they don’t already have, yet still fits within their range of interest, then I believe I should do that to further their cause—because I believe in what they are doing.
Stupid? Perhaps. Or perhaps not. Worth the risk? I certainly hope so. I like reading LDS books. Yes, many of them seem shallow, even sappy, to me, as I mentioned before, but I still like reading them. (Sadly, sometimes I like the idea of reading LDS books more than I like actually reading them, but that’s what I’m trying to help fix, right?)
Like many LDS readers, I do read more mainstream fiction than LDS fiction. I’d like to see that change. If at all possible, I would like to shift the ratio of the books I read to be more heavily weighted with LDS works. I would also like to do that for other LDS readers out there. Submitting to Zarahemla can help do that.
If my “edgy” material gets accepted by a national publisher, I might become a “small fish in a big pond.” I might also end up having to “spice it up” to make it acceptable to the national market, however. On the other hand, if Zarahemla were to accept it, I might become a “big fish in a small pond.” The income made and the copies sold would likely be considerably less, but—I would be making a difference.
Would making a difference be enough reason to submit to Zarahemla Books? I say YES.
As such, I am very interested in making a big splash in that little pond called Zarahemla Books. I also hope there are other LDS writers out there who would be willing to join me on that rock outcropping over this little pond, look down at the cool surface below, and prepare themselves to cannonball off into uncharted waters. Hopefully, we won’t hit the bottom on our way down.
You can find more about Zarahemla Books at http://www.zarahemlabooks.com/.
(See here for Part I. See here for Part II.)