Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Self-Publishing: What's your opinion?

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?

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