Friday, September 14, 2012

So...Did You Get That Book of Yours Published Yet?

A couple of weeks ago, MaryAnn wrote this post about self-publishing versus the traditional methods of publishing. 

It's something that's been on my mind a lot lately. I started seriously writing five years ago. Since then, I've written four full manuscripts. Of those, two probably need to be scrapped completely, one is ready for publication and one is in the editing stage. I'm in the middle of a collaborative novel that I'm really excited about, and I've got part of a screenplay I'd love to get back to, if I could ever figure out how to write screenplays (but that's another story). I've written several short stories, and even won a couple of contests, though I've figured out that short stories really aren't my thing.

I started writing the year I homeschooled my (then) fifth grader. A homeschooling magazine published an article about Nanowrimo for young people, and it looked like it was right up our alley. The more I wrote, the more I realized that writing was what I had been born to do. I loved my characters and believed in their story. They were worthy of traditional publishing, and I knew it.

And then it began. I knew exactly who I wanted to have publish my novel, and they were selling querying time to authors at a writer's conference in a city I was going to be in during the week I was going to be there. It was kismet!

I paid, memorized my query, met my dream publisher, and listened as she told me that the market was absolutely saturated with young adult romantic fantasy at the moment, and that her publishing company was not currently looking for any. She was kind, and she even stood with me in the hall afterwards and introduced me to some published authors and another publisher. Of course it hurt, but I felt like I'd scaled to a new authorial level.

I might have, but I never moved past it. Once or twice I spent a day finding agents to submit queries to, and I spent some time trying to perfect my query. I even forced myself to send a few queries out. Jessica Foster (who has been a guest poster here on The Prosers) blogged about how querying makes her feel. The video of the cat and the banana described my feelings about querying so precisely that I hope you'll take the time to go watch it. I thought about having a link to her post be my whole blog today, but as usual, I found a few words to add. :^)

I don't want to feel like that cat any longer. Back when I was just starting on this journey to authorhood, I wanted it to be a lucrative career. But here I am, five years out, and the truth of the matter is that on a good week I spend about fifteen hours on writing, and that includes this blog, critiquing other people's manuscripts, and all the other writerly stuff I do (except the brain work part. That goes on constantly--sometimes even while I sleep.)  Given the other things I have elected to do with my time, that number isn't going to change. I could spend that time querying and all the other things I would need to do to get published, but I would be miserable. I know what MaryAnn wrote is true--if I want to sell to a lot of people, self-publishing is going to take a lot of work. But I'm ready to get my books out there, and I've moved past the place where I want to write a best-seller. What I want to do is write.


What I'm currently reading: Nothing! 
Why: Because Legend, by Marie Lu was supposed to keep me occupied until next week, at least. Drat that exciting story line that tricked me into reading all day yesterday. 


  1. It's an interesting decision, no doubt about it. I too have a "dream publisher" for my story and there is still a part of me that hopes they'll turn it down. (Granted, that won't be a problem if I never submit.) I guess I'm still trying to decide on which side of the fence I prefer to fall. I've moved past the point of naive delusions, but I still need to write something people love, and people can't love it if they don't know it's available.

  2. It is a personal decision, and I feel like I've come a long way in figuring out what I want. As a writer, it's so easy to get caught up in what other people think and to second guess ourselves. It sounds like you and I are in very similar places. I wish you the best of luck!

  3. Melanie, that is great reason to go the self-publishing route. These choices are so personal, and there really isn't any right or wrong choice.

    There may come a time when I decide to self publish. Especially if I have a story that I believe in but doesn't capture the interest of publishers or agents.

    Great post, and I wish you the best of luck.

  4. Thanks MaryAnn. I'm mostly at peace with my choice, but writing that blog post was one of my methods for coping with the remaining doubts.

  5. I'm with you, Melanie. Keep on writing!


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