It's been 9 years since I embarked on this roller coaster ride of Self-publication. Where has the time gone?
I remember when the first book of The Whipple Wash Chronicles was ready to publish, I researched my options; Self-publication or Traditional. And then I pondered over it for months. In fact, I had started to write the second book before I made a decision. I was excited about it and thought I was capable of taking control of the reins. Now in hindsight, I should have chosen Traditional because self-publication blows.
If you’re thinking about self-publishing your own work, it's not for the faint of heart or for those who have a busy life outside of writing. Oh, and there’s the out-of-pocket money thing; yeah the struggle is real! I quickly came to realize that I was over my head and had no frigging clue what I was doing, but I forged on anyway. I often thought about hiring a literary agent to help ease some of the burdens. I even have a list of them somewhere. But for some reason, I haven't even tried to write a query letter let alone mail one out.
I think I might be masochistic (but not in a sexual way, if that is such a thing. If it’s not, then that is not the word I’m looking for). Or perhaps it was the thought of the rejection letters I would receive. A publisher telling me that my work is neither entertaining nor well written would have stopped me in my tracks. J.K Rowling (or any of those other authors that were turned down numerous times before finding a publisher,) I am not. I would have given up in 2012 and you would not be reading this today.
Actually, the “not well written” part I could handle now. I’ve learned that punctuation and grammar can be fixed that’s what editors are for. And Best Selling does not mean Best Written. But “entertaining,” you either got it or you don’t. I have a witty sense of humor and quiet the creative imagination which expounds in my writing. But back then to hear that it wasn’t entertaining would have crushed me. Now, I think I would take it with a grain of salt.
Perhaps, I haven’t sought out an agent because I'm a bit of a control freak and like to be IN COMMAND OF MY OWN DESTINY! (That sounded better in my head, hence the uppercase and exclamation mark.) Whatever the case, over the last nine years I have self-published 5 books, have 2 waiting to be published, and several more waiting impatiently to be written. But I have writer's block; which is a real thing. And without someone pushing me to write, like an agent or a publisher, well, I just don’t.
Currently, my books are not on the "Best Sellers" list. On any list really, other than my own, "Things to Complete" list. In the early days, I dreamed of being on every "Best" list. I received such glowing accolades from my family and friends how could I not be. But then of course reality hit and the journey is much harder than one would expect. Who knew that writing the book would be easier than promoting it? Or, perhaps my family and friends lied and I'm really not that entertaining or creative. I would like to think exhaustion from more pressing matters like working full-time and raising a family on my own is the culprit. Whatever the case "Self-Promotion" got kicked to the backburner. And here I stand, nine years later on no one's "Best" list penning a sad story for my website. Which maintaining is also more time-consuming than one would expect. (Thanks Wix.com for hounding me to publish a post.)
It hasn’t all been bad though. I do have readers that like my work. And no they’re not all family and friends, some of them are strangers and co-workers. I’ve had a couple of book signings. The Valley Time Forgot has been the subject of two book studies. I’ve gone on tour (Norfolk County Library) and have attended my first multi-author signing event (KaliCon); which was a blast.
Over the years I've met several self-published authors. It seems to be the road most writers are taking these days, (or perhaps it’s the circles I move in.) Some of them have similar stories to mine and others are quite successful. C. A. King is such an author and is on several “Best” lists. She in fact (from my perspective) is the guru of self-publication and doesn’t mind taking newbies under her wing.
It’s been my experience that the community of self-published authors is very friendly and helpful. Several community leaders have also encouraged and supported me along the way. Dave Levac former M.P.P of Brant, fellow author Joan Minnery and Paris Councilor – Marc Laferriere to name a few. They also spoke at my first book signing which was well attended for a first-time author, (or so I was told.)
I guess self-publication is not all bad, but it is a lot of hard work. And self-promotion takes up a lot of time and financial resources. If it weren’t for the rejection letters I might seek out an agent that will hunt down a publisher for me. Hmm…but then I will have to give up the reins. What to do, what to do. I might have to ponder this for a while. In the meantime, the writer’s block has lifted, and I am inspired to finish the story I started 2 years ago. Seriously, thanks Wix.com for pushing me to finish my website.
Watch this space for more tips, tricks, and tales of self-publishing woes; mine and other authors.