In a word; gate-keeping, but let me expand on that.
I loved the movie “The Help.” I admit I didn’t read the book but the story told in both is inspiring and fresh. Kathryn Stockett, the author, was rejected by over 60 literary agents before she found one who would help her get her book published. She spent years, after her book was written, writing letters of inquiry to agents and fielding rejection letters in return. What a frustrating, demoralizing process. I have to give her huge kudos for tenacity. I’d like to tell you that I wouldn’t give up; that I would continue to research agents, send out letters and pick myself up again after each rejection, but I would be lying.
Kathryn Stockett inspired me to self publish. The fact that wonderful novels are lying around under piles of rejection letters inspires me. I can’t say I have a huge amount of faith in the gate-keepers of the publishing industry (or any industry for that matter). My novel may be wonderful or it may be crap, but I want to let the public decide and the best news is that I can.
There is an entire exciting industry that is growing up to serve those who want to bring their own writing to market. It is relatively new, so it’s a little wonky and constantly changing, but it is also exciting and just so wonderfully democratic and creative.
While I took a break from blog writing I did a lot of research into self publishing. It was overwhelming and confusing at first (and kind of still is). There is no clear path or best way to go about it, which is scary, and exciting at the same time. I now have charts and notes on book aggregators, direct publishing routes, copyrights, editing, marketing, artwork. All of these things could be taken care of by an agent. On some days, that sounds fantastic. I would love to have someone hold my hand through all this. But more often, I keep reading and researching and find my own answers and feel that much more competent and confident for having done it. I will make some mistakes in doing this, but they will be mine and I get to learn from them. (Not unlike creating this blog. I’m still trying to figure out Adsense.)
My novel is finished. It is currently being copy edited by some awesome teacher friends of mine and beta read for story by more awesome friends (shout out of love to all my readers!!). So far the reviews have been generally positive and I am encouraged to keep going. Which is great, because the next step is really nose-to-the-grindstone dull. I will make all the editing changes necessary then I will have to convert it to the correct format for e-publishing. (It looks like this might involve taking out one of the spaces after every period in the entire 87,000 word document.) Once I have the formatting complete, it will be available electronically through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Itunes, Sony, and even some foreign outlets. I will also be able to order single hard copies (as will anyone who wants one, including bookstores).
|My Cover! Created by me and my Art Director, Digi Phreak (aka Beau Gordon)|
Then the really creative fun starts – marketing! It will be up to me to get the word out that I have a novel available. And that is another post for another day.
For now I am just happy to be able to share my progress and lessons with you. Writing is a lonely business. Most days my office is only populated by me, my dog and the characters who live in my head. Posts like these are my form of a staff meeting; where I update those who care on my progress. And I say thank you for all your support and caring (which I would do with like a Starbucks for each of you, if you were here.)