Choosing to Self-Publish
By Shaunta Grimes on May 28, 2011
I've written three novels and four novellas. I love all of them. I think they're really good.
Of course, I may not be objective. After all, it was me that put hours and months into pulling the words out and putting them together into a story. All 2000 or so pages of my collected body of work represents me. It would be odd for me to think they sucked, wouldn't it?
I've had some successes as a fiction writer. Two of my novellas were purchased by reputable ePublishers. My first novel won first place in a writing contest that was judged by an editor at a huge traditional publisher. I've recieved rejections from several agents who encouraged me to keep writing, because I was almost there. Another novella has gone through the revision stage at Harlequin Nocturne Bites and has awaited purchase (fingers crossed) for almost a year.
In other words--I have just enough success to keep me going. Just when I think that I've had enough and I can't take the rejection anymore, something happens. It hasn't ever been anything big. The Harlequin deal is by far the biggest, and I haven't heard anything from them since October. But, it's enough to make me believe that if I just keep plugging along, eventually I'll break through.
One of my completed manuscripts is a young adult novel called Freaks and the Revolution. It's a dystopian story with a steam punk sensibility, an autistic heroine with a service bulldog named Mango, and the Ponderosa Ranch. I am in love with Freaks and the Revolution.
I've tried to interest an agent in representing this book. Granted, not too hard. Not yet. I've sent out a dozen queries. For my first novel, I sent out at least a hundred. But, as an almost completely unknown author, this is an exercise in deep rejection where anything more than a form rejection gets a tick in the success column. It isn't easy out there right now, in traditional publishing, for the neophite author.
But, it is pretty exciting for just about any author in another realm of publishing. I'm talking about epublishing. Amazon and its Kindle have revolutionized the world of publishing in a way that the industry hasn't seen since the invention of the printing press. Suddenly, self-publishing is no longer something that writers who can't hack it do out of vanity. Suddenly, self-publishing is exciting and new and hip and a viable option.
Amanda Hocking did it last year, and it changed her life.
J A Konrath did it with ultra success.
Countless others have taken their books and their careers into their own hands with wildly varying degrees of success.
And now I want to do it, too.
I'm scared. Really scared. I've been conditioned for the past decade and a half to believe that self-publishing is giving up. Part of me struggles to let go of the idea that I need an agent and an editor to bless my work before it can be deemed really good.
But most of me? Most of me knows that Freaks and the Revolution is a really good book. It's fresh and unusual. It's well-written and edited to within an inch of its life. And it deserves to be read. Plus, the rebel in me really loves the idea of being completely in charge of my work's destiny.
So, yesterday I spent a couple of hours setting up a Facebook page and a website called We are the Freaks. I plan on documenting my road toward self-publishing as I go along, and the book will be available for download in August. The prologue to Freaks and the Revolution is available on the website. If you sign up for the mailing list, you'll get a free short story that relates to the novel.
I hope you'll come along for the ride, especially if you have a manuscript or two sitting on your hard drive.
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