I’ve got to make a decision.
Any of you who’ve read through the ramblings on my Publishing Progress tab know that I sent in several queries to literary agents in the last year.
No, I haven’t had any takers. I also haven’t sent any new queries out for several months.
I’ve been standing at fork in the road, debating.
Behind the massive “Do Not Enter Without An Agent” sign on the gate, the traditional publishing path beckons with a wide, clearly marked route. Along the way, I see experts, waiting to give advice. I see numerous markets just waiting for me to explore. Look! Down there, is that some money to finance the journey? And, of course, I’d get the nifty “Chosen By A Professional Publisher” t-shirt. From this side of the gate, it looks like a good option.
It’s difficult to see very far down the self-publishing path. It’s not gated like the other, but it twists and turns, and I can see it branching off into side paths just ahead. I’m told that some of these have wonderful professionals to work with. Of course, those are mostly toll roads…
While both paths have their pros and cons, the longer I stand and stare, the more I feel pulled by the winding, intriguing path of self-publishing.
Choosing MY Priorities
I decided I wanted to be a teacher when I was 7. I still love it. As exciting as the idea of publishing a book is, perhaps I’m a bit greedy- I want to do both. And as my kids grow my working hours likely will too.
Word is that not all publishers/agents/editors are sympathetic to the fact that writers have outside lives. (Not that I can really blame them- after all, I imagine that they’re just trying to make ends meet like the rest of us.)
I’m not afraid of hard work, but I like to be able to set my own priorities and time lines, especially as I juggle teaching, parenting, and everything else.
I suppose we all love our own stories, sometimes blindly. Constructive criticism from great beta readers, careful editing, and fresh eyes to spot plot holes are essential to a well-polished story.
However, even working without a publisher, I’ve already found people willing to help me in these area. I get the benefit of choosing who I work with, and the final word on what stays and goes in the story.
Choosing the Cover
Does anyone else worry about winding up with the wrong book cover? The one that just doesn’t fit their story?
For instance, there are many very well-done covers with a pretty woman or chesty man (often with a button or three undone) gazing. Just what they’re gazing at varies- it might be at each other, at the horizon, or at the reader. (Those last are the ones I cover with another book before I go to sleep.) Again, some of these covers are lovely. I just don’t see my characters as the “gazing” type.
In any case, even if I change my mind, if I self-publish, I have the final word!
Setting My Own Pace
Looking at where things stand right now, I’d like to try to release my book on June 4th. (It’s the day during the Second World War that Rome fell to the Allies, and that figures into the book. I like my history connections. 🙂 )
Will it happen?
I hope so, but in the end, if I self-publish and it doesn’t, I’m the only one affected. If we end up with another house or family emergency, if someone I work with misses a deadline, if one of a thousand things that can go wrong does, I can adapt without having to inconvenience or work around anyone else.
It’s Not Necessarily Forever
So, what if I try self-publishing and hate it? Or what if I like it, but want to revisit traditional publishing?
I can always revisit traditional publishing with future books. From what I’ve read on querying, having previously published can actually help get an agent’s attention. (Of course, some of that depends on how well the book does. )
In any case, my feet are pointed down that winding path, ready to take those first steps….
What do you think? Especially those of you who’ve published and automatically know MUCH more about this than I do- have you any thoughts on paths to publication, pros and cons of different routes? I’d love to hear them!
Many thanks for visiting!