Wednesday, January 04, 2017

When Self-Publishing Looks You in the Mirror

I can't believe I'm writing this post. Maybe I am because I want to make 2017 count. Maybe because I wasted time last year or maybe because I made major writing changes in the past six months. Who knows but as I type these words, part of me is screaming to run.

For over ten years, I've been against self-publishing. I felt it was only a last resort, not a viable option. I'd seen too many books with poor editing, misspelled words, and horrible plots. I didn't want to be one of those writers.

Was I a snob or what? Only Traditional for me. An agent. A publishing house. I wanted to be a real author. How else would I be valid?

Oh, I had it bad. 

If you read my last post, you remember I parted ways with my agent and have grown tired and frustrated and disillusioned with the writing process. My first novel was published traditionally. Since then, I've had what you call close but no cigar moments.

I realize a lot of factors come into play with the acceptance of any book, article etc. I also realize how scary it is to think your book is good enough to send out  without a team of experienced publishing people behind it.

But I also hope one or two more people might want to read what I have to say. That's all. I'm not expecting an avalanche of readers. Already did that and have found if you don't do the marketing, not much happens. So either way, it is work.

After spending so many hours, months and years in the publishing industry, starting with buying and selling books in my bookstore, noting what sells, what returns, and then finally writing myself, I'm not a newbie. I understand what it takes to sell. 

Not trying is giving up, though. 

Last night, a good writer friend and I played with a sample cover to start the process. I've written a suspense book and asked for her input as she was my beta reader. I told her I had a year to do this. I need that time to learn, ask questions, push my fears aside, and pray.

Publishing this book might be the last book I ever publish. Or not. For now I'm taking that first step. A baby one. Of course. But at least I'm doing and that's what counts. 

In the meantime, between panicking over this post and process, I'm writing a story for my granddaughter like I said I would. A romance. A modern-day find-your-prince book.

Just can't stop writing. Hope you don't either.


Kristen Torres-Toro said...

This was so good to read! I have the same feelings and fears about self-publishing, partly because of reading all the dire warns about it when I first came to blogdom/starting actively pursing publishing. But I also think the world and markets are constantly changing, and it is a viable option. I'll be following your journey and praying God leads you!

Lynn J Simpson said...

Congratulations Terri on making these decisions to keep moving and learning. Sometimes it's hard to shift our perception on how we think things should go, isn't it? I look forward to reading how this new adventure goes for you!

Lily Robinson said...

This is more exciting than my new house! I love that you've gotten your groove back. Without all the heartache, writing will be fun again.

Jeanette Levellie said...

Good for you, Terri. I am proud of you for stepping out of the boat and trusting Jesus to not let you sink! I have published both traditionally and indie and survived both!
Many blessings on this venture.

Lynda R Young said...

Yet again I can relate. Best wishes for your self-publishing adventure. Yep, it's a lot of work, but so is traditional publishing (as you know). I've lost a lot of faith in traditional publishing over the years--to the point of almost giving up on writing altogether. But I'm writing again. For myself. For my brother. Not sure where this new project will go, but it doesn't matter. I just need to write for now.


I can speak from experience to this topic and so I will. I had an agent, Elaine English, for five years. She loved my novel. When she took it she asked me to add one word, an emotion. I did. She tried to sell for five long years. Too long probably. None of the big houses wanted it and then none of the smaller ones did. She gave me back the rights. I wrote a sequel. After the contract ended, I self published Vada Faith, a contemporary woman's fiction, using Create space. It cost a few hundred dollars. Then I published a book of short stories, Ezra and OTher Stories. I did it all and it cost nothing. Then I did Dear Anne: Love Letters from Nam, a stand alone short story, taken from a longer work that I may never finish. All have met with some success. You can look at them online. They're at Barnes and Nobel and a few other places. I'm ready to publish with createspace again, the sequel to Vada Faith, Missing: Sweet Baby James. Women's fiction. I've been publishing articles and essays for 30 years so I'm not new at this. My opinion is that self publishing is here to stay. I believe in hard work, a well crafted and well edited story. I don't believe in putting stories out there that are not ready. Many new writers do that. Never a good idea. I'll be rooting you on Terri as you embark on this new adventure. Hugs and prayers. Barb

Linda Hoye said...

I know of self-published authors who have then gone the traditional route; and I know of traditionally (and prolific) -authors who now are self-publishing under their own imprint. The key, as you allude to in your post, if you want your work to find a wide audience is marketing and promotion and that takes work regardless of the publisher. Self-publishing no longer carries the stigma it once did and is a viable option if one wants their work read--which is, after all, a significant part of why we write. 😊 I look forward to your work getting "out there" and finding a readership, Terri. I look forward to reading it myself!

Joanne Sher said...

Totally praying for you, sweetie. You go, girl!!

Lin Floyd said...

I wrote five books in five years and tried to sell/market them-what a lot of work and not as fun as writing. I have two books on amazon as e-books and that seems like the easiest way to go. I sell 1-2/month, not great but some reward for my efforts.