We’ve all been there, right? Those days where you just feel like it’s never going to happen. “It” could be losing that extra five pounds, getting that great job (or any job for those of us currently unemployed.) And for some of us, the elusive “it” is getting published… which brings us to a number of possibilities. Perhaps your work isn’t up to snuff, perhaps the market is over-saturated with similar works (one of my issues for sure.) Or perhaps, for whatever reason, the market is just not “into” your kind of project at this time. Either way, there are many reasons that getting published might not be happening.
Thankfully, we live in a world where self-publishing is no longer considered a joke. Much to the dismay of the publishing industry, many first-time and published authors are turning to self-publishing. Now, the choice to go the self-pub route or the traditional route (seeking representation by an agent who then uses their contacts to get you a publishing contract) is a very personal choice. One thing I’ve found in my research on both avenues is that there is no right answer. But I for one am just grateful that we writers have a choice.
^^ The photos blurry, but it’s mine. Powell’s Books in Portland, Oregon ^^
As the photo points out, many of the big household names have self-published, but their success wasn’t the barometer by which anyone should judge potential success in the self-pub world. Further, neither is the more recent success of Amanda Hocking or even the lesser-known but still successful Sarra Cannon. So what can one expect sales-wise if they choose to self-publish?
Nobody knows, really. But then, nobody really knows what one can expect from travelling down the traditional route, either. Fact is, your future– whether it be your career or something else– is not set in stone. Your future is what you make of it. So before you dramatically throw yourself around your home ala Scarlet O’Hara, fling yourself atop your bed, and proclaim that the world as you know it is over (trust me on this one, your cat will consider you certifiably insane)– hear me out.
The best that any of us can do is to work, prepare, and finally market, market, market. And that goes for both self-publishing and traditional publishing. The world has changed and authors are now expected to be active participants in the selling of their work.
So, where is this post going?
Well, where do any of my posts go? *snort* And down the rabbit hole…
I was having a difficult day today. Entering the Pitch Wars contest has brought me face to face with a few uncomfortable truths about my book and this entire pursuit to becoming published:
1. It’s about vampires and, well, apparently that means it’s going to be very difficult to sell it to agents, let alone publishers.
^^ I’m not a fan of the “Keep Calm” slogans because I’m not naturally a calm person, but this one’s cute. Unless I have a cupcake. Or three. I love cupcakes. ^^
2. My writing, while enjoyable to my own brain, might not be considered “good” by publishing standards. Sure, it’s much better than it was a few years ago, but I’m still learning.
3. Self-publishing is hard, y’all. Like for realsies. *whines* Really. Everything is in my court if that’s the path I choose to take. The flip side of this is that nobody else gets to play boss girl and tell me how my book and I are going to be presented to the public.
4. Authoring novels (no matter how you do it) isn’t easy. It’s hard work and at times, a seemingly never-ending cycle of writing, editing, re-writing, scrapping, and finally, editing again, that never, ever ends. Some of us have this stupid fantasy that being a published author means my days will be spend like this–
But I think we all know that’s just impractical. I can only write with a tiara on my head for small bits of time because after a while it becomes uncomfortable. But hey, a girl can dream, right?
I spent the better part of the day close to pulling my hair out in frustration. I felt panicky over the idea that this book that I’ve worked so hard on and spent so long on might not be as successful as I have hoped. It’s not that I’ve expected to become some huge name, but I have hoped to be able to fund my coffee habit from my earnings and until recently, I only ever considered the traditional publishing route as an option for doing that. Part of the dream of becoming a published author has been to be able to walk into a bookstore and see my book on the shelf, and for a long time I told myself that anything less than that was unacceptable– but that was back before I had actually completed the first draft of ANOMALY and everything was still so theoretical. Now I’m editing and reworking and revising and it’s all so new and exciting and terrifying at the same time.
While I was sulking over my future and generally just being a gloomy bird, I realized something that is helping to change my perspective about all of this publishing business: I’ve never done anything the traditional way, so why should publishing my book be any different?
No, I’m not giving up the traditional route. In fact, it’s still my first goal, but my new perspective is helping me come to terms with the fact that I might not ever get an agent or a publishing deal. And you know what? That’s okay.
When I was little I always preferred to play by myself or with my grandmother (because she’s the only one who would withstand my abuse, a.k.a playing my way.) I remember being eight years old and at a sleepover with a longtime friend and calling my grandmother and pleading with her to come pick me up. She asked what had happened which made me want to leave my sleepover. I told her that my friend made Barbie fly.
And Barbie does not fly.
This is one of many memories I have of trying to ditch out on the social scene so I could go home and do things my way. And try as my mother might, I still prefer to march to the beat of my own drum. Junior year of high school I had grown weary of being told when to read, eat, learn, and use the restroom and had chosen to opt out of the public system in favor of independent study (homeschooling, basically.) My mother was furious and insisted that I needed the social interaction to be a normal human being (well, she might have been right and my finishing out high school at home with my father might account for some of my more abnormal behaviors), but I wasn’t interested in all that jazz. Now, as an adult, I have chosen a university that some think very little of. But I’ve never been one to follow the mainstream because that’s what is popular. Frankly, nobody should. We should all march to the beat of the drum which puts us most at ease. And for me that is usually my own beat where I don’t have to answer to others. Some call it anti-social, some call it controlling, I call it a leadership spirit.
Here’s to a new perspective. May this super long-winded post help at least one person determine that the road less traveled might be the best option for them (and not just be a back-up.) That your life shouldn’t look like everyone else’s– that it should look like your own version of happiness. That maybe what you really desire is the road better traveled and a floor-plan chosen from a “best of” list– and that is 100% okay. What is not okay is trying to fill shoes that pinch your feet. So here begins my journey of self-discovery. What that means for my future as a writer, I have yet to know. But that’s why they call it a journey, is it not?
Oh, yeah. Nail polish say what?
Inspired by Amy Farrah Fowler and her ahhh-mazing tiara, I’ve painted my nails with a princess theme. I’m not the best painter, so I went with something simple:
Can you tell which polishes I have a particular fondness for by now? (left to right)
Excuse Me by Pure Ice
Cinderella by Sinful Colors (it was meant to be! <3)
Your Hut or Mine by Essie
^^ They’re messy, I know. I’mma clean ’em up later! ^^
I’m off now to think a few things over all the while telling myself that choosing to self-publish would not be an admittance of failure, but a statement of personality. Or something to that effect. (And next post we’re going back to ascribing to the theory that short but sweet cannot be beat!)