Not to Self-Publish

I think it was this comment on my recent blog post “To Self Publish, or Not to Self Publish” from my dear writing critique partner, Kelly, that made the little bells go off.

“What I think…is that this change of direction or at least consideration is most importantly a nod to your own maturation. It is refinement of self that counts, and what is most important is what matters most: “it’s because I love it. I love to read, tell, and write stories, and I’ll always do it.” This is the free-est, the most essential place you’ll ever be. Live in this and the rest will take care of itself…the moment we surrender the tension of controlling the outcome too is the moment the miracle finally unfolds. “

First of all, NO, you may not have Kelly as a writing critique partner, pal, and sage, because she’s all mine. But second, and more important, do you hear her gentle acknowledgment of my fear?

It really boils down to fear, with a little impatience thrown in, doesn’t it? And are fear and impatience any way to start a relationship or make a decision?

Should I really give a time limit of several months to find an agent before I self-publish? That’s not really giving my story a chance, is it? Over and over again, I hear that persistence, plus a great story, plus persistence results in a publishing contract. Giving myself three months to find an agent is stupid and short-sighted.

I’m usually a decisive person, but everything looks a little cloudy right now. I’m having trouble discerning the path I should take, but maybe it’s because my work in progress isn’t ready.

Next week, I head to the Breakout Novel Intensive with Donald Maass and Lorin Oberweger. Hemingway’s Girl probably won’t know what hit it after the workshop. I look forward to devoting all my waking hours for a whole week to writing. No doubt, I’ll return with a new set of ideas.

I’d love to hear yours, too.


4 thoughts on “Not to Self-Publish

  1. kelly says:


    if i dont see you soon i may shrivel up and go under like these leaves just starting to softly fall.

    o nevermind, i’ll do that no matter what.


  2. kelly says:

    PS Can you send me this pic of us

  3. It took a year to find my first agent (I was days from giving up), 8 months to realize she was never going to sell my book (because it still wasn’t good enough), 5 more months to finish a new book, and a month to find an agent for that one, who is truly excellent and well-established. A year and a half into our relationship, I still have no publishing contract.

    And yet, I agree with your friend. I think self-publishing can be detrimental to the emotional journey of an author–even if the book is, in fact, ‘good enough’. I’ve decided not to be in a hurry. And to keep writing . . .

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