Ernest Hemingway:

As Ernest Hemingway once said...
'All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.'

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

deathly afraid of self-publishing

Okay, so after getting to know a handful of people who have self-published and reading numerous blog posts on the subject, the idea is fresh in my mind. Still - I can't push the button. First, because I don't know nearly enough about it, not about formatting, marketing, etc. I have the resources to learn. I just need to carve out some time to do it. And that's hard to do when I'm taking care of the monkey full-time, working on another novel, and helping others with their writing. This is so cliche, but there just isn't enough time in the day to do everything I want to do.

More than anything though I'm worried beyond belief that I'll put it out there, and it won't sell, or it will get bad reviews, or that basically it will be my downfall as an author. Because that's what's so scary. Once it's out there it can't be taken back. So agents and publishers will be able to track it down FOREVER. That's a damn long time. I know, I know, it might get good reviews too. That's the thing. I don't know. Anything is possible.

As those of you who've been following for a bit know, I've submitted my novel to numerous agents, presses, whoever will take it, basically. I've gotten one request from an actual, real-life agent, and she passed. I've gotten two request from indie presses - one passed (though that was a previous version) and one still has it, but I'm not holding out much hope.

The thing is, it's not a genre that is selling right now. It's not YA, fantasy, dystopian, etc. Or is that just what I tell myself to make all the rejection seem better somehow? I've let a handful of people read it, and they've all loved it. But they're my friends and/or family. Can I really take their opinions seriously? I know a big part of marketing for self-publishing is knowing how to categorize it or 'tag' it. I don't know how to categorize it. That's been my biggest struggle so far I think.

Bottom line, if I'm going to do this, I need help. I take risks, I have no problem doing that. But so much is on the line. I want to know for sure that there's at least a shred of a chance that it will get a good review or sell at least a few copies. I need people I don't know well to read it and tell me what's wrong (big picture). I need people to help me categorize it. I really think it could sell - but I want to be as best prepared as possible if and when I take this leap. I have a few ideas in mind of where to go for this help, but if any of you have suggestions, I'd love to hear them.


Julie Frayn said...

Hey Jen,

I am in the exact same place as you. Working on edits (thank YOU very much) and still agonizing over which direction to go. Maybe we can help each other - you've already helped me. Can I read your MS and offer advice/critiquing? Help categorizing? I'm still unsure of my own.

S.P. Bowers said...

The important thing is not to take the any steps until you are SURE that's where you want to go. Self publishing works for a lot of people but only if you know what you're getting into and are willing to put the time into it. Categorizing is hard, I'm still struggling to know what genre to put mine in as I query.

As to crits and beta readers there's lots of options. You can go to one of the online writers websites and see if anyone wants to do a manuscript exchange, you can post it on your blog and check other blogs. A lot of authors will have something on their sideboard saying they're looking for beta readers. Also I know Rachael at Rach Writes often does beta match ups. Other bloggers do to but I don't remember which ones off hand. Or you can just find another writer and ask if they want to exchange manuscripts. There are lots of people looking.

Jen Chatfield said...

Julie, thanks! I'll send you an email.

S.P., I like the suggestion of putting on my blog that I'm looking for betas. I've got a few fine ladies on board now, but they're helping with my current MS, so I don't want to overwhelm them. I'll look into manu exchanges too.

Jo Michaels said...

Fear. Oh man, fear is such a driving and hindering force. Use your fear, girl. Make your fear your driving force to just say no to failure. Refuse to fail.

If there's one thing I am, it's brutally honest. If you want me to take a look, I will. I can't promise speediness and I'm not a grammar Nazi, but I can promise that I'll read it and be honest. I am a huge believer in telling your friend when they have a booger hanging out of their nose. So, while I love you to death and believe in you, I am also willing to offer you blatant truth.

When you're better, we all look better :)

I love that you didn't write to the market. That alone tells me you value your work.

You have indie friends around to help you. Don't be afraid to ask :)

Most importantly, WRITE ON!

Jen Chatfield said...

Thanks Jo, I really appreciate the support. Maybe I'll put the offer to trade on the Facebook group. I hate to think of people reading mine without doing something for them too.

Kelly Hashway said...

I guess if I were you I'd ask myself why self-publishing. Have you tried going the traditional route. Sometimes working with a small press can really be great. You aren't alone and you learn a lot. Have you considered subbing to a small press?