As I mentioned in my previous post, self-publishing makes me nervous. But it also makes me very, very excited.
Have you gone through the querying process with agents? Have you labored and labored over your book, revised your book, sweated your query letter, revamped your query letter, cussed and fumed and cussed some more as you wrote (or tried to write) your synopsis?
Having done all of that, have you then sat on pins and needles (actually, sitting on pins and needles might be more pleasant), waiting to hear back from those agents? Have you jumped as if poked by one of those pins every time a new email comes in, knowing it’s probably not an agent, but if it is an agent … good lord if it IS an agent … Will she hate it? Will he love it? Will she offer any advice at all if she hates it? Will he just send a form rejection that says, “Although we believe your story has merit, we don’t believe it’s a good fit for our list right now. Other agents may feel differently, though, and we wish you the best with your book.” (No, I didn’t copy and paste that. I’ve gotten enough of them, I know how they go.)
Have you gotten that much anticipated, can’t-believe-it’s-in-my-inbox response that says, “I really liked these first three chapters. Could you send the full manuscript?” Have you gotten up and done a little jig after reading that—and after squealing like a tween who just saw her pop-star idol? Have you then waited in breathless anticipation, barely sleeping, barely eating, checking your email every two minutes whether you’ve heard the notification or not, just hoping, barely daring to hope that the agent will get back to you and say, “I’d like to talk to you. When can we speak on the phone?” (I’ve never had that happen, so I don’t know how that goes for sure.)
Have you ever had to pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and convince yourself to keep trying because yet another agent said no after reading the full manuscript? Have you wondered, “Why am I still trying to put this book out there? No one wants it. Maybe it really does suck.”
I’ve done all the above with three books, The Dragon’s Daughter being the last one that went through the process. I corresponded with some really amazing agents, some people who were very generous with their time, both in reviewing my book and in offering me advice and insight regarding what I could do with it that (in their opinion) would make it stronger. I appreciated that. I took much of their advice to heart and believe the book is stronger for it. However, at the end of the day, I’m still in possession of a book that no one wants to represent.
And this is where self-publishing gave me a whole new perspective. Once I decided I wasn’t going to go the traditional route (or, more accurately, once it became clear I wasn’t going to be able to go the traditional route), but I was going to self-publish, a weight lifted.
All of the sudden, a door opened and I knew that my book was going to make it out into the world. All my books that I have yet to write are going to make it out into the world. I will sweat them. I will revise them. I will seek feedback from others, from beta readers, and I may even decide to query the next one too … just to see. But my words are actually going to have a home and a place in the world. I’m not at the mercy of New York City anymore. I have the power to do this on my own.
If that’s not exciting, I don’t know what is.
Self-publishing gives me butterflies. But most of them are the good kind. I’m looking forward to sharing my book with you.