Pub Paths: Why My Path Was Right For Me

If you didn’t read it previously, you might want to read Part One of the series about my path to going indie HERE.

So, we made the decision. I’m not going to discuss all the steps to self-publishing or my own process. That’s a totally different post and other people have already done it far better than I could.

Although, maybe one day I’ll do a post on everything that can go wrong. Yeah. It went like that.

I’m going to talk about why this path was absolutely the right one for me.

The problem is, we all want the same thing. But that seems to be getting lost in the noise. We want to tell good stories, send them into the world, engage our readers, and probably be able to make a living doing it.

And both sides of this coin are right. Seriously. Let’s just put that out there right now and get that crap out of the way.

With that in mind, let’s get back to why my path was right for me.

Here are some things I loved about querying:

I liked having the challenge of getting better. Of someone saying, “No” to me… and telling me why. I took what I needed (you’re ability to describe things sucks. Okay, to be fair, no one actually used the word “sucks.”) Dropped what I didn’t (like the ever-present, this isn’t hot…it doesn’t sell…we don’t know what to do with it).  Also, I may be a bit of an authority-phob, so you say “no” I say, “oh, yeah!” and send out two more. 😉

And, it stopped me. Yes. It did. If you read Part One, you saw the story of how I sent my first book out 148 times before it got an offer of representation.

ONE HUNDRED AND FORTY-EIGHT times.

I realize I just described the number one reason to NOT query for a lot of people. But, I became a better writer and more confident that what I was producing for readers.

When I’d first started, I’d almost immediately gotten specific feedback in my rejections (I know. I was lucky. Or close. Or whatever.) I (again) took what made sense and tossed the rest. When I say “tossed” I mean I collected it in a spreadsheet to make sure I wasn’t tossing stuff that everyone but me thought.

I never felt like I couldn’t do this. If I hadn’t gotten an agent, that wouldn’t have stopped my publishing path. But, at the same time, I’m not going to lie, it felt good to have people wanting to represent my book.

I needed to learn. A lot. And I did, I learned about:

  • Handling Rejection
  • Balancing Projects
  • Writing when I didn’t feel like it
  • Writing when things weren’t going well
  • Knowing when to say no
  • Knowing when to say yes
  • Figuring out how to put my foot down
  • Being someone who does what’s best for my own career no matter what people said (We’ll discuss people’s reaction to me turning down my first offer of representation later.)
  • What “this is a business” means to me
  • How I write under pressure
  • Selling myself (ok, maybe I didn’t really learn this… Um, GO BUY WRECKLESS!… but then come back and finish this blog post.)
  • Not short-changing my writing
  • How to rework something I thought was “done”
  • Then rework it again
  • And probably a few more times until it was the best a team could make it
  • That no one is going to hand me anything. Ever. No matter how much I deserve it, a career is not a magic ticket.

Yes. I could have learned most of that while self-publishing, but honestly — it was stressful. That’s another thing I learned, how to handle stress while being in a job (an un/low paying on at that) self-starting/motivated.

I also learned a ton about the industry which I’m glad of.

If you’re considering going indie, the last place I would go for a balanced look at publishing is a site that is about self-publishing. Or a site that’s about traditional publishing. I believe it’s a myth that each side doesn’t need to understand how the other side works.

There is so much information that is just WRONG about the other side of the coin on a lot of these sites that it makes my stomach turn. I fear for people who don’t do more than just a brief web search for their info.

Also, I’m extremely happy to have a working relationship with the Laird already in case someday something lands in my lap. For several reasons (more bullet points!):

  • I trust and respect her
  • She’s really good at what she does and knows the industry
  • I’d like to give her the business if I’m earning money
  • We know how we work together and are comfortable with it
  • AND, (career-wise, most importantly) it’s important to have someone who fills all those above bullet points BEFORE you need her instead of doing a mad scramble for a partner when there’s a deal on the table.

On top of all this, one of the best parts was  –> I wrote. I wrote a lot. I wrote things that I couldn’t give my agent. I wrote things we thought would sell. I wrote something that was “marketable.” I wrote and wrote and wrote. I learned. I grew.

I’m glad that I did all that growing before I put something out. Yes. I’ll keep growing, my writing will (hopefully) keep getting better. But those initial stories — the ones that were good enough to finally land my agents — I’m glad they’re not out in the world as they were. I’m glad that right now I’m reworking the Secret Series one last time before publishing it this fall. 

Which brings up another odd thing I’m glad about: That my books aren’t in the order I wrote them.

Wreckless came out first because it was a quick, fun, read with a lighter feel than the other books. It was a standalone until I started hearing from and talking to readers… yeah. It was they type of book you lead off with and it was the latest book I wrote. I think the only two that will come out in order are the first 2 Secrets (Secret Girlfriend and Secret Life).  It’s nice to have enough going on to have options.

BUT, here’s the deal — for everything I consider a plus, someone else might not care about or even think is a detractor of not jumping right to self-publishing.

That’s that “all paths lead to books” thing – You have to decide for yourself.

And yet, every time someone asks if I wish I hadn’t waited, my answer is still, “No. I’m glad.” Sure, I may have missed some of the high wave, but if you’re hitting that wave with floaties instead of a row-boat, you’re might regret it, right? I’m not sure I even had floaties two years ago. 😉

So, that’s me. People asked questions on twitter yesterday. Feel free to ask away in the comments and I’ll answer what I can.

Tomorrow we’ll continue on discussing the path now that I’m on it and then on to the Agent Hunt, Getting to Yes reboot.

🙂

 

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