Monday, September 16, 2013

How to Publish?

That seems to be the question my writing partner and I keep coming around to. Though we've both been writing our whole lives, publishing is a pretty new fanged monster to us. Neither one of us was particularly gutsy in trying to get a whole story out there to the public, despite the fact that we've both been involved in numerous writing groups and have tons of fantastic friends who also enjoy writing and reading. (Fun factoid: I met my husband in a writing group, maybe one of the first writing forums like it ever, thanks to then Tor Books!!)

What did we do to finally leap off the cliff? We held hands.

 Together we jumped into this new world and wrote a plethora of story beginnings and finally nailed down which ones we wanted to tell first and voila - we had two completed novel(la)s. To our surprise, neither was in our preferred genre. She primarily wrote fantasy and I preferred horror. Somehow we wound up writing ROMANCE. But hey, it's great fun and we've opened up to a new genre and we decided to publish our first two books independently of an agent and publisher. We picked a pen name that meant something to both of us, we did the cover art with a friend of mine and then told a few friends it was out there.

Now what?

Now we want to get serious.

Since those two first books, we've learned a lot. And I mean, A-freakin'-LOT. But we still have so much to learn. Would an agent help us navigate this new world? Probably, yes. But in this day and age, it seems self-publishing is becoming less of something to be looked down the nose at and more of the valuable tool that it is. Authors don't need to have an agent, they don't need to have a big publisher - they can put in the hard work and do it themselves. And oh my word, the hard work it involves... In the end, however, we believe it will be totally worth it. Our research makes us feel good about it.

  • We make our own deadlines - sweet! Er, if we stick to it.
  •  We control the advertising. I guess that's good. On one hand we won't see our book with a cover art that has NOTHING to do with the book, thus pissing off readers. On the other hand, that means we have to find and pay a cover artist for a professional cover. It also means that we have to pay for any other advertising and promos, have to solicit book reviews on our own. Oh yeah, and we have to pay a place to print our books, if we want (which we do, eventually). Hmm. Why did this sound like a good idea again? Oh yeah - if we make any money, it's ours. Well, it will likely go right back into paying for the next cover art and advertising campaign... But at least it's all on our terms and that is really saying something!
  • Networking! Networking! Networking! We have to learn to do it and stop being so afraid of people and rejection!!! That's a BIG obstacle for us both.
  • Websites, blogging; finding and paying an editor. Bugging friends to pre-read our manuscripts.
  • No agent or publisher also means no contract we might screw up. That's a really big deal.
  • Shopping our manuscripts around, having them changed every other word, having our titles shot down, book signings (not good for a person that struggles with agoraphobia), and again, those deadlines that don't care if you have a back that keeps you down, or a writing partner who is allergic to the sun (not even kidding). Self-publishing can remove a lot of these stresses.
Ok, so a lot of that is stuff we would do anyway, even if we had an agent or publisher, but to us, self- or Indie publishing allows us some freedoms that we need. Who knows, maybe some day we will try traditional publishing, but for now, we're happy to be self-publishers, thanks to e-books opening the way and opportunities like Createspace.

Where does this leave me for my solo project/s? I'm thinking in the exact same place. =)

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