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In that four months of querying, I did learn some things about myself, though.
Quick backstory. If you remember several months ago I wrote a post about what writing is to me. What I didn't relate in that post is how I realized that writing was not going to be the replacement career I'd been hoping it would be. I understood that, even if I did become traditionally published, the likelihood of sales ginormous enough to quit my job was pretty slim.
Another epiphany is that Finding Meara is incredibly hard to define. It's not because it doesn't know what it wants to be when it grows up, but it's because I tend to write unusual, genre mixed stories. I've had feedback on a couple of different short stories where the editors asked me what exactly the story was. Is it romantic comedy? Horror? Thriller? When I pitched to Lou Anders at the Pikes Peak Writer's Conference last April, I believe he requested my manuscript solely because he wanted to see what a novel described as Janet Evanovich meets Roger Zelazny looked like. He cushioned me for the rejection he knew would occur before my pitch session was over because he knew it wouldn't be something Pyr could publish. I've been told by editors my stories are well-written, enjoyable and intriguing. In traditional publishing today, that's not enough.
Finally, I have never been thrilled with the idea of having an agent, but because I wanted to try traditional publishing I bit the bullet and started drafting a query letter. Initially I viewed it as a challenge. Then the new wore off and I started really resenting the process. I don't want to be nasty, so I won't tell you all the unkind thoughts I had about writing a query letter, sending the query letter, and then getting rejected off of the crappy query letter I'd written.
Because I was now dialed into different agents and their websites/twitter feeds, I became increasingly disillusioned with how many of them treated aspiring authors. The attitude of superiority many of them appear to have left me with a nasty attitude of my own. I know there are lots of wonderful agents out there, but I seemed to be finding the not so nice ones. The only exception is Russell Galen, who is known as the kindest agent in the business for a reason.
Last Wednesday I was watching the twitter feed of a small press editor I had sent FM to in July. He was tweeting, not so kindly, about the queries he was reading. There were two Urban Fantasy queries he mentioned, either of which very well could have been FM. He was dismissive, obnoxious and entitled. He didn't even care that he was publicly humiliating people who had tried very hard to "get it right." It was the proverbial last straw.
When my husband came home, I told him I wanted to self-publish. He's actually been pushing me to self-publish since I started writing short stories. I kept holding off because my personality wants that outside approval of the "experts." I have changed my mind.
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Instead of sending my story to people who want to find a reason to hate it, I want to get my story out in front of people who want to find a reason to like it.
I wanted a traditional publisher to help me make my story the best it can be. Now I will hire people to help me make the book the best it can be. It feels really nice to have my future back in my hands, instead of waiting for someone to notice me.
Yes, I know it's possible I won't sell any copies. I know the statistics for how many books are self-published a month. I know how hard it is to get noticed in the sea of self-published books. I know all the bad stuff about self-publishing.
But, I have to tell you, for the first time in five months I'm excited about writing again. My story--which I really think is a good one--has the chance to be seen and enjoyed by people again. I don't feel like I'm locked in a hole where I can't seem to find the key to open the door to get out. Because that's how I've felt the last five months--like what I write, blog, tweet...none of it mattered because no one was going to see my stories, anyway.
And I write stories for people to enjoy. I really do. I've never understood people who say they write for themselves.
Besides that, I also had an epiphany regarding the fact I'm going to be fifty in nine years. I don't have a lot of time to waste, first with trying to find an agent, next a publisher and then to get the darn thing out. In nine years I could be sitting with nothing if I wait for traditional publishing to take a chance on me. Or, if I keep a budget of $500 dollars, and sell ten books a year at a $4.99 price point, I might have made back my investment.
So, I'm entering the ranks of those who self-publish. I know it's not the choice for everyone, but I am very confident it's the best choice for me.
Have you ever considered self-publishing? If you have self-published before, do you have any tips or suggestions to share? Anyone know of a good line editor who isn't insanely expensive?