For those of you who DO know me, you know the hard work, trials and tribulations I have gone through to bring my books to readers, and this is something I want to share with all of you because it is the basis on which I want to focus this blog. Over the past 6 years, I have learned A LOT about the publishing industry from both the inside and out. While I know I am by no means an expert, I feel that a lot of my experiences have helped me grow as an author, and I want to be able to help other aspiring authors who see themselves in the same position I was once in.
To make a long story short, becoming a published author has not been an easy road. I wrote my first book, "The Nameless World," in 2005 and went through a very diligent process of trying to find a publisher. After months of searching I landed a contract! But this is where the story grows cold. I waited 2 years for my book to be published, even pushing out a sequel to "The Nameless World" which was also offered a contract, only to see both contracts fall through. It was a very frustrating time, but I had come so far. I toiled over what to do for a year, writing other books and stories, trying once again to find an agent or publisher for these new books. In time, I made the decision to revisit "The Nameless World." With the help of my editor, I made a series of much needed revisions and began the process of searching for agents/publishers again. For almost two years I searched and submitted and searched and submitted.... and waited.... again and again only to find myself frustrated and on the verge of giving up. As many times as I threatened to "throw in the towel," I never lost sight of my goal. No matter how many set-backs I faced, as a "hopeful author" I kept writing. I kept putting submissions out there, and I kept facing the reality of the publishing industry with a resilience that could have been considered a little naive (I mean, come on, I had written HOW MANY books and not a single agent or publisher would give me the time of day). By no matter how many rejections I received, I was determined to see my book(s) published.
I was like most novice authors; I had grand visions of Random House or Scholastic vying for my book, a big name publisher's label to prove I had beaten the odds - a label to prove my books were amazing and everyone everywhere would want to read them. Of course, those delusions were soon realized to be impractical and outright unlikely, so, like most deflated authors, I wanted to cry. How on earth is someone supposed to make it in the publishing world on their own?
In this respect, I WAS naive. Sure, I knew about self-publishing but thought that it was an expensive option that held very little clout in the publishing world. I had heard that self-published books were not taken seriously (and to a degree, that is true) and that any hopes of reaching the masses was going to involve hiring a PR rep or marketing company (and quite frankly, I couldn't afford a venture like that). So, I felt like I was in limbo.
While all my hopes of landing another publishing contract with a legitimate publisher dwindling with the weeks and months that continued to pass, I began to look more seriously into self-publishing options. I had heard of Lulu.com and other print-on-demand publishing sources, but again, I was left with a sour taste of being thought of as a "joke author" lingering in my mouth. So, I consulted a friend and fellow author to get an outside point-of-view on the notion of self-publishing my work. It was at this time she shared with me that she had been looking into self-publishing options, too, and offered some information she found on a source called createspace.com (affiliated with amazon.com). I was intrigued and promptly dug into research and articles written by others about self-publishing and how, while it is a challenge in some respects, it can also be very rewarding and a great first step for authors who can't find a match with a traditional publisher.
I was sold. And it all made perfect sense! I had a polished manuscript ready to go, had all tools and skills to put the book in print format, had the resources available to print the books - AT NO COST TO ME - and the freedom to set my own prices AND control what kind of royalties I get in return... I soon began to wonder why anyone would choose to put themselves through the trauma of finding a traditional publisher at all! (not to undermine the accomplishment and benefit of that option, but at this point, I had lost my rose colored glasses for big publishers). The biggest challenge that self-publishing posed was that the success of the books rested completely on my shoulders. ALL authors are responsible for marketing their books (anyone who thinks otherwise will receive a very cold reality check should they ever publish a book, sit back and wait for the royalty checks to roll in). The only thing I would lack that a traditionally published author would have is the publisher's label. So I had to ask myself, "Is this something I can overcome?"
The challenge was ON! (and boy was it a challenge, but that tid-bit is for another day).
Did I say I was going to make this short? Too late, but to conclude, I DID decide to self-publish my book and it has been a very exciting endeavor that continues to educate me each and every day. Which brings me back to my point: I want to use this blog as an opportunity to share my experiences and knowledge about publishing with those who may find it useful. I want to encourage others to share their knowledge, too! There is so much authors can learn from one another and I, for one, am happy to share my insight. I intend to cover almost every aspect of the "publishing process" that I can think of, from searching for agents or publishers, to query letters and submissions, all the way to marketing and promoting your books! I welcome questions, feedback and comments from anyone, whether you are an author, an agent, a publisher or just someone who loves books. I hope that through this blog, as I continue to develop its contents, you will find encouragement and useful information that will help you on your path to success.
Thank you, again, for taking interest in what I have to say. I look forward to sharing AND learning along the way.