by Brie McGill
WWGD? What would Gutenberg do, if he could log onto Amazon and cruise around for books? (Other than, of course, be redirected to amazon.de to make a purchase.)
Love them or hate them, ebooks have dramatically reshaped the publishing landscape. I’m a diehard fan of the portable, apocalypse-proof hardbacks, but ebooks speak more to my budget. I only have Kindle for PC, but it has made me want to buy a reader, because I’ve since read a mountain of amazing texts not available in the local big-name bookstores.
When I finished writing my first book, Kain, I attempted to publish traditionally. I vowed to snag an agent. My manuscript was so polished I had to wear sunglasses to read it; I sleuthed the internet for tips like my life depended on it and spent nearly as much time crafting my query as I did my entire novel. I was ready to go!
A girlfriend of mine self-published. It was incomprehensible to me, doing all that marketing by myself. Plus, I didn’t have the guts to go out there, into the wild, all alone, with no one to back me up. And, wasn’t there a rumor that self-publishing “tarnished” one’s reputation, making it more difficult to snag an agent in the future? It’s the rumor that says, “An agent will see that you have self-published, give you the hairy eyeball, and say, ‘Well, why didn’t you come to me in the first place?’”
No one wants the hairy eyeball.
Bubbling with great enthusiasm, I launched a buck-wild querying bonanza. I found every appealing agent in every applicable genre for my book, studied their websites, studied their credentials, studied their blogs, toiled, sweat, and pored night and day over sending them the most graceful personalized introductions on the planet.
One, three, six, seven months later, that swathe of rejection letters came pouring in. It broke my heart, studying all those blogs, only to receive a “dear author” in return.
Now, I’m not railing on agents–I can only imagine the immense amount of work and pressure that comes with the job, wheeling and dealing with the big names. Agents receive something like 200 unsolicited emails every day. That many emails would drive me INSANE!
But this brings me to my point: right now, the publishing landscape is crazy. Bookstores are closing; a smaller environment means increased competition, with less agents willing to take on new authors.
Too bad for new authors!
To persist in an endeavor that would only bring certain heartache felt like clinging to a whimsical boyfriend who was never truly pleased: I sucked it up and went indie.
My neck was on the chopping block: it was up to me to secure my edits, without the help of the time-tested professionals. But I retained creative input on my cover. I stopped worrying about whether or not I needed to censor myself–writing queries felt like a dreadfully stuffy process, and I was not in my element. I realized I look better in my homemade robot suit than a blazer, slacks, and tie.
Traditionally published or not, there is no guarantee any author is ever going to make enough money to quit his day job–but the difference with independent publishing is, no longer do authors require the permission of someone else to at least try.
Ultimately, the entire process of me putting myself out there was rewarding, because it generated an incredible sense of self-empowerment. I started a project, set a goal, and saw it through every step to completion. I didn’t sell a lot of books my first month–I’m still quite new to the scene–but I did manage to pay my telecom bill, which was more than a stack of rejection letters ever did for anyone. I’m not famous, but a few total strangers chose to read my book of their own free will–my little old book, among so many others!–and they loved it.
If you love writing and have the burning need to share your stories, rain or shine–self-publishing might be for you. It takes guts to venture out into the wilderness all alone, especially the first time. But resonating with a readership, however small, is an incredible feeling–especially when it’s your heart and your magic, nothing else, that made it grow. I have so much to communicate and I want to share it now!
And I can. What would Gutenberg do?
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Sci-Fi/Steamy Romance
Rating – R (18+)