Determined to hitch a ride on one of the large vessels named, Traditional, I studied the industry in and out. Eventually, I started feeling as if I was floating upon the massive ocean on an inflatable raft, or worse, just wearing a life preserver. I felt invisible, unnoticed.
However, I never felt lost. I knew my destination. Even though I did not send out a hundred query letters, each letter I sent made me feel as if I was waving my hand at the big ships as they sailed by leaving me bobbing up and down in their wake.
Yet, I continued hoping, dreaming, and studying the craft, the industry and bought books on writing, grammar, etc. I was guilty of the “traditional”way of thinking that Indie or Self-Publishing was weak or the lazy way. (Read Kristen Lamb’s blogs to learn how the publishing industry has changed. She has some great books to help us wannabe writers along our fantastic voyage – WANA)
That way of thinking all changed with an accidental registration with NaNoWriMo. Yes, accidental. I had followed an agent’s blog for a while trying to learn all I could from the other side of the moat filled with sharks. In one of the posts, sometime in October of 2010, he mentioned NaNoWriMo.
Curiosity got me like a cat. Three days before the NaNoWriMo launched, I went to check it out and wanted to see what everyone was saying in the forums. Registration buttons were in two different places with two DIFFERENT tags – one for signing up for November’s contest and the other was clean across that homepage with the forums button.
Very careful not to “sign up” because I didn’t understand yet what it was all about, I clicked on the harmless button and followed the yellow brick road to Oz. When I finished registering so I could participate in the forum discussions, a page popped up congratulating me on becoming a WriMo, a contestant, which meant I had to write 50,000 words in a month or cower away pretending I hadn’t signed up.
One month later, I had written 85,000 words. (The Last Meatball)
One of the prizes was a free proof copy of the work from Create Space with Amazon. The real prize was the boost in my confidence that I could really pump out a novel that fast. It required several months of edits, copy-editing, and proofing (and still needs work because I moved away from it and wrote another novel).
Self-Publishing requires a great deal of work. It is NOT the easy way out or the lazy way. We must not only write the books, we have to become BETTER writers because we are our own gatekeepers. Self-publishing requires more knowledge about the business, editing, book size, file uploads, cover design, marketing, etc.
When I read on one agent’s blog that getting that much-coveted contract was more luck than skill, I laughed. I laughed even harder when one agent said that we don’t have to have a great book, just a great pitch. I would much rather put my energy into writing a great novel and earn a reader’s trust that I will continue writing great novels. One reader of Encore is already anxious for its sequel.
Many feel that we need to hire editors, proofers, and designers if we are going to succeed. I have always felt that we need additional eyes upon our manuscripts in order to see things we fail to see. Yet, through all the struggles to keep afloat in the great seas of writing, learning how to self-edit, self-proof, design, and formatting has taught me to be a better writer.
Things like passive voice and head hopping become less of a job in editing a draft because I am more aware of them in the initial writing of a novel.
By attempting the Traditional Publishing route, I became a better, more disciplined writer. I learned how to edit and proof more effectively.
As far as paying someone to do all the editing, designing, and proofing for me, I am still a hungry artist (I heard that there is no such thing as the Starving Artist anymore in this modern world of techie stuff). I simply lack funds for the luxury to hire anyone to help me perfect my work.
Writing novels is a powerful joy regardless of how I reach my destination of becoming a bona fide Author! I write. I edit. I publish. I feel like I have joined the ranks of all the other I’s in our world today – Ipad, Iphone, etc.
(building the field, they will come....right? One day soon...please say hello if you are lurking about in the rafters of my new webhome)