I recently completed a fifth draft of my work in progress, Hemingway’s Girl, and I’m preparing my assignments for the Breakout Novel Intensive Workshop in September. After preparing the synopsis, my goals, and scene breakdowns, I’m finally at a place where I know just about every word of my manuscript just in time to have it critiqued, torn apart, and reassembled.
I actually relish this process, and can’t wait to see the direction the workshop takes my manuscript. I wonder if there will be a major plot or character adjustment that snaps all the other pieces into place. I’m eager to see which scenes will make the final cut, and which will be sacrificed to the *meh* file, aka, the shredder.
But I have to confess that I’m even more interested in the way I’ll publish the book.
It was my intention when I started this blog to be as transparent as possible about every step of my personal writing process and journey, so I’m continuing in that tradition when I tell you I’m seriously considering self-publishing my second book.
In case you don’t know, I self-published my first book, Receive Me Falling. I’ve more than earned back my initial investment, visited 30 book clubs, and peddled the book at countless art festivals. My readers are eager to read the Hemingway book, and the sequel to the first book I haven’t even begun write. If I go the traditional publishing route, will they have to wait years before they see it? They may have forgotten about me by then.
All along, I thought my ultimate goal was to get picked up by a “traditional” publisher, but the more I read, I don’t know what that is, anymore. When I sit down and ask myself why I write–really, why I write–it’s because I love it. I love to read, tell, and write stories, and I’ll always do it. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want the external validation of an agent and traditional publisher, but then I look at my Amazon reviews, my book blogger reviews, and sales figures, and that may just be all the validation I need.
I have many traditionally published writer friends, and I have to say, many are dealing with more frustrations and stresses than I am. When I hear things like a writer got an advance for less than $10,000 for a book that won’t be published for two more years, or sales numbers aren’t hitting publishers’ goals, or unresponsive editors are driving them up the wall, I think self-publishing might be the best avenue.
When I consider how long I’ve been waiting to just to hear back from an agent on a set of revisions I submitted months ago, and then, if she signs me, how long I’ll have to wait to hear from a publisher, and then, how long I’ll have to wait if the book is picked up to be published, and then, the worry that I’ll lose my editor or the house will close, it almost seems like madness to go the traditional publishing route.
I still feel like I need to try. I am, after all, a traditional girl. I want the expertise of an agent and publishing house editor to help make me a better writer. I love the industry and want to support not only the indie side, but also, the agents, publishing house editors, and chains that have fed me the all those delicious books for so many years, that have inspired me to write in the first place.
So I think I’ll give myself a time limit. It may be foolish, but after the workshop, if I don’t have an agent by late winter/early spring, I’ll self-publish Hemingway’s Girl. After all, I can still query agents after I’ve published Hemingway’s Girl, especially if I have super sales numbers and reviews.
So that’s where I am, in all honesty.
What do you think? Especially if you’re a writer–traditional, self-published, or aspiring–please weigh in. Feel free to post anonymously if it will make you more comfortable.
*photo credit: jackispiboi at DeviantArt.com*