I’d like to give you all some control over what I blog. That way I’ll know I’m not boring anyone. What questions do you have for me? In the meantime…
The publishing process has been looming over my conscious thoughts lately. As I sit tight, waiting for the independent publisher to put together the new cover art, spine, back of the jacket, and internal formatting, along with my ePublisher to update the eBook version, I constantly remind myself to stop worrying, and that I must consider myself lucky.
The journey to bookshelves is merciless, full of rejection, empty of guarantee of success, and requires a strength of will that can self-motivate day after day without reward. It separates those who think they can imitate success like J.K. Rowling and make a quick buck from those who want to become authors, heart and soul. This isn’t universally true. The literary industry is a business, after all. If you’re famous and you want to write a book, you’ll find yourselves on bookshelves in no time.
Yes, it gives me the smallest twinges of jealousy; however, the harder I work for the success I hope to achieve, the more gratifying the journey and destination. That I believe.
The path to bookshelves:
It all starts with writing a book. Write it. Complete it. Revise and revise it. Then get it published. The traditional route involved hunting down the perfect agent, pitch your book in a query letter (a monumental pain in the ass to compose), the agent says yes, who then pitches your book to publishing houses, one of them says yes, a battle over the details of a contract ensues, everyone reaches an agreement, and then your book is put into production and, ultimately, in the hands of readers. This route still exists. It’s the sturdiest route, yet it’s become archaic.
I tried the traditional route for a couple of years before deciding there had to be a better way. I turned out to be both right and wrong.
Query letters are like cover letters, but the main problem is agents are looking for an excuse to reject you. One little typo or misspelling is their excuse to not spend any more of their precious time on you. On top of that, you’re almost always being screened by a college-age intern. It’s all subjective.
Back in August, I went to my grad school’s residency and listened to agents talk. They all agreed that they reject 99% of the queries that come their way. They get hundreds of them every week. Hundreds. I have a hunch the number is closer to 99.9%, but that’s pure guesswork. So, with that in mind, walk into a book store and take another gander at all the overflowing shelves. The books you see are but a tiny fraction of all the prose out there. Even with all the rejection letters agents dish out, publishers reject a large portion of what agents bring to them (publishers don’t work directly with authors anymore).
The odds of getting published often seem astronomical, yet here I sit with an eBook to my name and a physical version in the works. I have two independent publishers to thank for that, along with my grad school and the modest network I built there.
I want my writing to be successful, heart and soul. I struggle to explain what that means, since so many people don’t seem to understand that I must follow my heart, instead of just grabbing what I can to keep the bills paid. I can’t live my life feeling like a slave to all the bills that come my way. Instead, I do without what I don’t need and accept having to stay in employment to enjoy what I don’t want to live without, like internet, a computer, video games, and keeping my cats healthy.
Progress on Hesitation: in the middle of chapter 26 and roughly 122k words total.