I’m seeing more and more aspiring writers and future authors impatiently go the self-publishing route. I say “impatiently” because it indeed takes some time to go the traditional way, namely knocking on publisher’s doors and, often, getting rejected over and over again before something happens.
Like many bloggers, I’m a writer who aspires to have her books published, but I don’t feel it necessary to constantly post or discuss it. As a matter of fact, I prefer not to discuss it. Having said this, for the sake of this post title, I’ll finally mention it. I’ve written a memoir titled Scars of Valor, but I am also considering it as fiction “based on a true story” about my experiences as a former Army wife who struggled through our nation’s period of heavy deployment to Iraq and then to Afghanistan. It’s an insight into depression and isolation caused by moving from base to base, town to town, and enduring Army life, PTSD and, then, divorce.
I won’t get too heavy into the specifics of the book because this post isn’t meant to be a query letter. But if I were to go the fiction route I’d have re-edit to add or alter stories, as of now names are changed and that’s about it. But that’s a post topic for another time. The book itself is a much heavier piece than the dark comedy fiction novel I’m currently writing (I’m about 32,000 plus words in, so about a third of the way done). Granted it’s been tough also managing two blogs (tvshowjunky.com is the other) and trying to get a third one on parenting off the ground. As many know blogging daily or weekly can be a lot of work, but throw in a newborn baby, my daily long-form, word-count goal and pitching everything to literary agent can be challenging, to say the least.
Some of my friends have gone the self-publishing route. As a matter of fact, a friend of mine K’ Anne Meinel has written 72 stories (including novels, novellas and shorts) and is now a publisher herself helping other writers. She’s also an extremely fast writer and in some cases can write up to 40,000 words over a weekend! And although a publisher, she’s still technically self-published. Like many, she initially tried going the agent route only to grow too frustrated. Over time, one of her books sold 100,000 copies!
I’ve mulled over the pros and cons of self-publishing, always coming back to the realization that I preferred to go with a traditional publishing house. My biggest obstacle has been finding an agent who is interested. Although, I’ll admit I haven’t tried submitting to a ton either. Some years ago, I briefly worked at a talent agency. One of my tasks was to simply throw unsolicited manuscripts in the trash. You usually need a referral to get face time with an agent, and even getting that is tough because honestly, a good portion of most humans out there aren’t interested in sharing contacts. It’s rare if you find someone willing to introduce you to their agent. Also, having worked at a talent agency I can say those agents wouldn’t give me the time of day. Regardless, either traditional or self-publishing does not guarantee book sales.
The Bottom Line:
I used to be totally against self-publishing, but recently I’ve been rethinking all of my options. Sometimes the misconception is that you’re not a “real” published author. I’m open to any feedback for those that know more about this subject. The most important thing is to write and get your story out to the public. Whether five people buy your book or five million, keep writing and finding ways to share your story and your perspective. It might just change a life, especially your own.