I have been working on a novel for several years and, in the process, I’ve learned a lot about writing and myself. Strange, isn’t it? The more you pay attention to a story, the more it pays attention to you and shows up for you.
That kind of learning has a lot to do with hanging in and hanging on. For any big undertaking, you have to believe in yourself, believe in the outcome, and persevere.
I really like something the novelist James Lee Burke once said:
I’ve never seen anyone who has—once he’s determined to become a writer—not achieved his goal. I’ve never seen anyone fail who’s actually persevered and never given up.
What he’s telling me, I think, is that if I persevere, I won’t ultimately fail, and if I don’t give up, I’ll eventually succeed.
I’ll publish my novel independently next month, as I have several other books. I know I’m taking a risk, but it’s calculated. By going indie I’ll miss out on 1-2-3—
- A publisher’s marketing reach
- Their high production values
- Prestige and royalties
Ten of my books, nearly half, have been published by traditional publishers. John Wiley & Sons published my first two, and O’Reilly the rest. I’ve been with O’Reilly since 2002 and have had a very positive experience with them, largely due to my bright, patient, and kind editor, Simon St.Laurent.
But alas, O’Reilly doesn’t publish pre-apocalyptic, YA fantasies set in the contemporary West, nor fiction of any kind.
So how will I deal with 1-2-3?
- I’ll have to rely on the reach of folks in my social media circles—3,016 as of today—to share my story. Emphasis on share. I won’t get overtly salesy there. I’ll just share it and ask others to do so.
- I had the cover designed by a professional, as well as the book interior. I’ve also hired an editor to review the book one last time. These kinds of investments are the kinds of investments a traditional publisher makes in a book anyway so why shouldn’t I? You can’t judge a book by its cover but you can sell one by it. And if I discover an error or flaw along the way, I can correct the trouble quickly and upload my changes.
- I’ll have to depend on acceptance by readers for any prestige. I’m just not worried about that. If the book is any good, and I sincerely believe it is, readers will lend the book all the prestige it needs.
Stay tuned. I’ll let you know how it goes.