I self-published my book, Receive Me Falling, in the hopes of getting good sales, good reviews, and using that information to query agents. I’ve gotten good sales and reviews, and I’ve queried agents. The response has been quite favorable so far. Specifically, two agents have read the full manuscript and have asked me if I’d be willing to make some changes and re-submit. Others have asked for the full manuscript, but I’m waiting to hear their feedback.
In discussing this recently with a book club, many of its members were shocked that I would agree to make changes. I was shocked, myself, to discover that I love to make changes. I love focused revision. I love deadlines. I wouldn’t make changes if I thought they undermined the integrity or message I was trying to send through the book, but embarking on these revisions has sent me in exciting new directions.
Few of the changes are sweeping. Most of the new scenes go a little deeper into the scenes which are already there. I’ve played up the supernatural elements of the book, and woven the current (dismal) economic climate into the storyline. I’ve made one major change to the mystery.
My favorite overall change is the combination of several minor characters into one major character. I’ve taken several male slave characters and built one man more integral to the story, and more layered than he started. It has given the narrative stronger impact since the reader can now devote more time to the understanding of one man versus many men. I think it connects the reader more deeply to the story and the message it sends.
I often wonder if writers are ever content with their work. At some point we must say “Enough!” but until that point, it’s exciting to see the organic growth of the book and the characters. Self-publishing prior to traditional publishing has given me a unique opportunity to test my book on an audience. It has been very well received, and for that I am grateful, but it will be interesting to see what those who’ve read the self-published version of the book think about the book when it’s traditionally published. (Do you like my optimism, there, with the “when it’s published” line?)
Here are some examples of self-published authors who’ve gone to traditional publishers, and the prices their original books are selling for on AbeBooks.com. I don’t know the extent of the revisions they made, if any. If you have a copy of Receive Me Falling right now, hold onto it. Perhaps it will be worth something someday. 🙂
Still Alice, Lisa Genova, $75
The Lace Reader, Brunonia Barry, $300
The Celestine Prophesy, James Redfield (signed) $2,500
Eragon, Christopher Paolini, (signed) $12,000
Lady Chatterley’s Lover, D H Lawrence $33,000
Leaves of Grass, Walt Whitman $175,000