Wednesday, September 5, 2018

IWSG Post


Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds! Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer - aim for a dozen new people each time - and return comments. This group is all about connecting! Be sure to link to the IWSG page and display the badge in your post. And please be sure your avatar links back to your blog! If it links to Google+, be sure your blog is listed there. Otherwise, when you leave a comment, people can't find you to comment back.


Let’s rock the neurotic writing world!

September 5 question - What publishing path are you considering/did you take, and why?

The awesome co-hosts for the September 5 posting of the IWSG are Toi Thomas, T. Powell Coltrin, M.J. Fifield, and Tara Tyler!

I don't have much to report about my own writing. I've been on the road for the last couple of weeks, so my writing (as it has been for most of the summer) has mostly been my journal. At least when we are traveling I write more regularly and more extensively than at home, so I hope at least I get some good exercise out of it.

Moving on to the question of the month... My publishing path and why I chose it.

I have been self-publishing my books since the first book in 2012 (though I kind of prefer the "author-publisher" designation). At that time, I had (over the course of a couple of decades) completed and shopped around 3 different MSS, with limited success. That is, I never got an agent, but each one did garner more personalize responses and requests for larger samples. That being the case, I could have concluded I was making progress, and gone on shopping books to agents. Two things changed my mind (or maybe 3). For one thing, I was losing patience with a very slow process that I didn't know how to manage emotionally.

A second, and larger, reason for the move was the state of self-publishing in 2012. It really was at the perfect point: there was a degree of respectability that the vanity presses never had (and, of course, it was fiscally plausible, unlike vanity presses),  but the market was not then so saturated with self-published books of dubious quality that it was as hard to get seen. A friend had recently published that way, and encouraged me to consider it.

I think that the thing that pushed me over the line to try self-publishing was that although I knew The Ninja Librarian was a good book, I also knew it didn't fit categories well. I market it as a children's book, and kids like it, but the writing is not simple, and adults may find even more to like in the book and the sequels. It's historical fiction and humor and tall tales and adventure. I might have been wrong--an agent might have seen something and figured out how to help me make it marketable (I know--now--that it would have benefited from some editorial advice). But I didn't really believe I'd even find a publisher willing to take a chance on it, and I wanted to share it with the world.

Of course, I made all the usual rookie mistakes, from not using an editor (at least I knew enough to have it proof-read) to making my own cover (I got a professional cover a year or two later when I wrote the second book, Return to Skunk Corners). I would like to think that I've learned enough to start really considering myself a publisher as well as an author. I just need to make one more leap, to buying my own ISBNs and removing the CreateSpace label. On the other hand, since I don't expect to ever make a fortune at this, I may never bother to do that.

How about you? What's your path, and do you think you made the right choice?


21 comments:

  1. Everything has it's learning curve. And author-publishing is definitely a great platform for those books which don't really fit in one specific category. Happy travels!

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    1. Thanks! Yes, I think sometimes the best thing I’m getting from all this is the learning—it keeps me engaged and stretches my brain.

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  2. I think the right path is the one that fits your goals and emotional state. There is no right answer for everyone, but it seems like you found a great medium.

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    1. Yes. Ultimately I think I would like to do a hybrid approach. Seems like that would cover all my bases.

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  3. I don't regret self-publishing (or independent-publishing or author-publishing, whatever you want to call it), I just wish I had done it sooner! By the time I came in the market was already getting over-saturated, so I wish I had gotten in a few years earlier.

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    1. Agree. Of course, I didn’t have a viable book sooner!

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  4. That's pretty cool that you started self-publishing back when it was just taking off. It must be really neat to see how everything has evolved since you published your first book to what it's like now.

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    1. I’m not sure I like most of the change. The worst is simply the number of books though. I don’t know that the percentage of unready ones has changed but the sheer numbers are daunting for an author or a reader.

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  5. I'm glad to have self published too despite some of the mistakes I've made along the way. I came in around the same time as you, too.

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    1. If nothing else my life would be the poorer for not having met all of you!

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  6. Everything is a learning curve. The good news is that you have the freedom to be a hybrid author in the future if you want and pursue both paths.

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  7. With my mom's picture books, we're not going to bother to buy ISBNs to remove any labels from Createspace or KDP. We just don't think it's plausible. We're planning to come out with three a year and the cost of ISBNs...ouch. lol

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    1. The only really viable way is to buy a lot of them. I’d like to see that change, but for now I think I’ll only do it if I band together with some other authors and buy a hundred of them.

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    2. You can bulk buy a block of 100, in the UK, but it's still a lot of money - and they go fast, and you have to keep track of them. A new edition means using another one.
      For one title you might have paperback, kindle version, Nook version, Kobo version, iPad version... that's five ISBNs.
      I think I'd be on my 85th if I had started with them from scratch.
      On one hand, I'd like that, on the other - I don't think any reader really notices. Better spent on editing, I think!

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  8. I self publish for the same reasons as you. Technically, though, we're hybrid authors now that we are trad published through the IWSG anthology. Yay!

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    1. Good point!
      And my move toward trad will be more about short stories than novels, I suspect.

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  9. Hi Rebecca - it's such a changing world for those who write books, or wish to publish ... I'm just glad I'm part of this blogging community and can learn loads about the various paths and choices out there. Interesting read - cheers Hilary

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    1. Yes, thank heavens for the blogging world! There is so much I’d never had figured out without other writers sharing what they’ve learned.

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  10. Oh yes, I'm not a big fan of how long everything takes with the querying process. It was definitely one of the turn-offs for me. Glad you got in before the self-publishing market got super saturated!

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