OK, this isn’t my first blog. I’ve done the tumblr thing. But this feels different. Because it’s not behind the safety of an assumed name and an avatar. This is me and it’s connected to my work. My book.
I’ve been published before. But it’s been mostly nonfiction, journalistic pieces. In those, I felt as if I could hide behind the subject of the piece; the book/film I was reviewing or the person that I interviewed. Oddly fiction seems more honest than anything else I’ve ever written, because it’s all me. I’m in every character to some extent. What I choose to write about tells a lot about me. I’ve written fiction for years, but aside from a few short pieces, I’ve never really shared it. That’s changed recently, but it’s hard to articulate (or even understand) why. Maybe it’s just that I’m more comfortable with myself now than I have been in the past, and therefore more willing to share something that seems so personal. Or maybe it’s just a desire to bite the bullet and finally do something I’ve been talking about for years.
So why did I go the indie route with publishing? Contrary to popular belief indie authors don’t take that route because we can’t get published traditionally. Or maybe some do. But for many it’s the desire to work outside of the structure of the traditional publishing process.
When I finished my fourth (or maybe it was fifth?) draft of Beautiful, I composed a query letter and sent it to a few literary agents. Because a major publisher won’t really look at an unsolicited manuscript. But I was writing in a genre that’s very saturated right now (YA fairy tale retellings featuring Beauty and the Beast). And after a few weeks of queries, I realized that authors often spend years looking for representation. Then your book can be on submission for a while before finding a publisher (if indeed it finds one!). Then the publisher can hang onto it for years before it actually sees the light of day. So best case scenario, it can take years from the time you finish the book, to the time people actually read it.
Even so, the indie path was a tough choice. I’d have to do it all; the editing, the marketing the design… Fortunately I’ve had to privilege to connect with some amazing beta readers, and some research has shown me how to access some of the other resources that I need. Still, I’m very much a newbie feeling my way through. I haven’t completely ruled out the traditional path in the future, but for now, this feels right for me.