"Finding Independents," is a new column that focuses on the issues affecting smaller and independent publishers. In the inaugural article, humorist Laurie Notaro discusses the success she found with iUniverse.com and its print-on-demand (POD) offerings.
Rebecca Churilla: How did the idea for the Idiot Girls Adventure Club come to you? Would you have been able to publish the book had it not been for the capabilities offered by POD?
Laurie Notaro: I wrote Idiot Girls seven years ago. It's a collection of first-person narratives, all true stories, that I wrote for my weekly humor column at Arizona State University's student newspaper, State Press. I initially tried to get it published by sending it to the slushpile of every single publisher I could think of or find out about. After about 75 rejections, I decided that I needed an agent, so I got a list of reputable literary agencies and started querying them. Nina Graybill from Graybill and English called, said she liked the book and I signed with her. We tried several times throughout the years to sell it to a publishing house, but we never had any luck. The last, and third time we sent it out was in spring of 2000, and although there was some interest, most editors insisted that a collection of short stories or columns, particularly first-person, would never sell. I was becoming frustrated, because from the response I had seen from the State Press columns, there was evidently a market and an audience for that type of material. But proving it to editors was another thing. Although I wasn't about to take "no" for an answer, I felt that my hands were tied until I came across an iUniverse banner ad on Barnesandnoble.com. I couldn't believe it, it seemed like the perfect opportunity for me to get Idiot Girls out there. Since no one was willing to take a chance on me, I had to take the chance myself.