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Self-publish or keep fighting?

April 21, 2009

A big question hanging over my head lately…

My novel is nearly done. I’m really only doing clean-up work until I can get it into the hands of an agent or editor, or decide to self-publish. And that is the question: Do I self-publish or keep trying (and failing) to get an agent who will sell my book to a publisher?

Sometimes, the answer’s easy – do it on my own. I wrote the thing on my own, right? This book has been in the works now for more than 5 years and is so close to me, in my head, in my soul….if I am going to keep getting rejected by the high and mighty agents who don’t want to take a chance then maybe I should just turn the other way and get it out on my own and be proud of my work.

On the other hand, I KNOW this is a great book and someone just needs to take a chance on it. The right people need to see it and with time, I have hope…they will. Readers I truly respect have read it and loved it. An English teacher who read it last summer said “so many of my students and former students would LOVE this book. Yes, it is worth it. Get it out there!” She left little comments along the edges throughout the whole thing like “Wow!” and “Beautiful!” and “I’ve never seen this before!” That’s amazing encouragement.

The big fear is if I do self-publish, I’ll never know how successful it could have been. And that’s no way to live: wondering… And I can’t decide if that is gutsy or giving up? Again, if I keep getting rejected by agents/pub houses, then I could see myself rewriting the novel for the next twenty years as I keep telling myself “yeah, they’re right, it’s not good enough yet.” (Bullshit.)

Today at least, after getting it down on paper (screen) I am back on the train of getting it into the hands of an agent, the right agent for me which is key, and as a team we will get this thing out there into the world where people will enjoy it and I can stop thinking about it and get to work on the next beautiful novel I have brewing in my head and in my notes right now about a the New England travel writer who ….oh, wait, that’s for me to know (for now).

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. jennthewriter permalink
    April 21, 2009 2:24 pm

    There was a story recently on CNN about a woman who wrote a book and couldn’t get it picked up by an agent or publisher. After years of trying she gave up and went the road of self publishing. She purchased an ISBN and got her book listed with Amazon.com and there it sold like hotcakes. Her book was such a resounding success, that Simon & Schuster saw her and offered her a three book deal.
    With the current economy out there right now, more and more people are turning to self publishing and on-demand publishing and many are finding success. If you have a great novel on your hands, the world will find it, regardless if you get an agent and publisher, or go the route of “Do-it-yourself.”

  2. April 21, 2009 2:31 pm

    Why not self-publish until you can find an agent who can get it published the “normal” way?

  3. duluonzo permalink*
    April 21, 2009 8:36 pm

    jennthewriter – I saw that CNN article, too. I actually printed it out. Thanks for reminding me about it.

    Tyler – good point man. Just get it done, right?

  4. May 13, 2009 10:31 am

    Looks like we’ve been pondering the same thing. I just did a ton of research on this, actually, and here are a couple of things pointed out in Writer’s Digest & The Writer:

    – one author started trying the traditional publishing route, but with a deadline – if he didn’t have the book signed with an agent or publisher within 18 months, he’d self-publish
    – Writer’s Digest’s March/April 2009 issue has a huge feature on self-publishing. I’d highly recommend you give it a look, there’s some great info in there.

  5. May 14, 2009 2:38 pm

    BTW, you might find this article useful too:

    Guest Post: A Publishing Person Self-Publishes | Self-Publishing Review
    “I didn’t self-publish because the publishing process confuses, baffles, or overwhelms me. I don’t need a publisher to figure out discounting, rights retention, royalties, or the mechanics of publishing.
    I did it precisely because I understand the traditional publishing process, and I didn’t want it or need it. Not for a work of fiction, at any rate.”
    http://www.selfpublishingreview.com/2009/05/04/guest-post-a-publishing-person-self-publishes/

  6. Lisa (lablady) permalink
    May 28, 2009 9:53 pm

    Patrick,

    I agree with the others above. You can self-publish and get picked up by a traditional publisher both so don’t write off the possibility of getting an agent and/or having your work published by a big house publisher if you do choose to self-publish first.

    I can’t remember if I tweeted you this but for some input/insight from published authors, editors (and the occasional publisher), pop into The Writer’s Chat Room – http://www.writerschatroom.com on Wednesday evenings at 8pm EST in U.S.. Lots of people to help you with these questions specifically.

    I’m going through the same process as you are and they are always extremely helpful and encouraging. We have a blast! Sometimes we can get a little crazy! The chat room is open until 11pm so you have plenty of time to pop in. No password needed on those nights, btw. Just give yourself a name and come right in! All are welcome. 😉

  7. duluonzo permalink*
    May 29, 2009 9:01 am

    Hey this looks great – thanks for the help!

    -patrick

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