I don’t want to leave a false impression. When I say ‘preferred’ to self-publish, I’m not suggesting I had disappointed the expectations of an unspecified number of literary agents who were counting on adding me to their client list.
I did meet an agent who gave me her card and said I could email her my finished novel – she stressed finished and that she wasn’t interested in reading a first draft – but by the time I was ready, her web site indicated she wasn’t looking for new clients.
Instead of being disappointed, I was relieved. At least I wouldn’t have to wait for someone else to get excited about my first novel before it could be published. To be honest, I wasn’t sure there was all that much to be excited about.
I had done my best; I liked the story. As I handed it around to a few people for initial reaction, they gave positive feedback. And I was proud of myself for finishing it. I looked forward to reactions from readers who weren’t friends or family. But I’m realistic; no other author is going to read Death on a Dig and scrabble for their anti-anxiety medication because I have now arrived on the scene.
I’m continuing to write, slowly but steadily, and I expect to get better at it.
If some of that sounds self-serving – making lemonade out of a lemon, the lemon being the lack of an agent or publisher – something happened to reinforce my initial reaction. I had waffled about using a professional editor and at the last minute decided to look for one. That lead to a surprise offer of a contract from a small publisher. But after reading the contract, and thinking about time lines, looking at their social media presence and that of other books they had published, I rejected it.
I came to the conclusion that having a print edition would be a distraction rather than a help, given everything else I would still have to do for myself. For new authors looking at the medium and long term, who with or without a publishing contract have to learn to promote themselves and their books, there’s a real danger of getting so caught up in the process that you don’t have time to write.
I’ve learned a lot doing it on my own and I expect it will serve me well later. And I like being in control. #indiebook
Does any of this resonate with you? Leave a comment below.