A few years ago I wrote the first version of "The Soulkeepers". It was barely more than on outline, completely underdeveloped and at that time titled "A Different Paris". I wrote it for fun and never intended for it to see the light of day.
A year later, I pulled that manuscript out and completely rewrote it. This time I thought it had potential. So, I had two strangers from a local romance writers group read it. They connected with the story emotionally but had some advice on the writing and characterization. I was a busy mom and a part time student, so I put the manuscript aside again.
Months later, I had a break from school and made the corrections to the manuscript. A handful of readers, some friends and family read it and loved it. This time, they said it was ready for "The Show". So, I queried five agents. I had no clue what I was doing and my query was horrible. Not surprisingly, I received five rejections.
Then I joined SCBWI. I went to classes on craft. I read books on plot and character. I finished school and rewrote the novel a third time. This time I had it beta read by writers, professional authors and editors who I'd come to know through social networking. After overwhelmingly positive feedback, I queried fifteen more agents. My query was much better this time. Three requested the manuscript. All ultimately rejected me but were complimentary of the book. I was close, very close.
Based on the feedback I received during this process, I'm halfway through a fourth and final revision. I won't call this one a rewrite, just a nip and tuck. This book is awesome. It is amazing. And very soon it will be as perfect as I can make it.
At this point, I could go back to querying. It's the traditional thing to do after all. But instead, I'm considering self-publishing. Why? Mainly because querying takes time and energy away from writing. I have a second book (a romance) that is waiting to be edited and the idea for a third book I've had on the back burner. Each time I query someone, I research their agent page, tailor my query for them specifically, and fret endlessly over every detail before I send it. It takes hours, days, weeks, and there is no benefit to the time spent unless someone asks for the manuscript. Even if I was able to get an agent in a reasonable amount of time, they would have to sell the manuscript and then I would have to wait for the publisher to publish it. That's a whole lot of waiting.
I have simple goals. I don't need to be the next Dan Brown, I just want to sell a few copies and share my story with the world. So what do you think? In your opinion, if this was your novel, what would you do?