I had been writing for months before I told anyone what I was up to, and it was many months more before I found the courage to let someone read what I’d written. I say courage because it felt a little like exposing myself; like admitting I’d developed an embarrassing fetish. It also came out of nowhere, surprising me as much as my friends.
After my secret was out, I felt less guilt about choosing to plunk away at the computer rather than weed the gardens, but I did wonder where it was all heading. The dilemma came to a head when I finished writing The Gift: Awakening. I had a choice to make. I was thrilled with the fact that I’d written a book, but what did I do with it? I mulled over the idea of trying to find an agent and getting it published, but the research I’d done was discouraging. Getting an agent, let alone getting it published, would be a long shot. Nonetheless, I spent several weeks researching the process and potential agents. I prepared the required submission material and sent out query letters to a dozen agents. While I waited for their responses, not only did I question the sanity of this process, I also questioned whether it was a good fit for me.
I began to pay attention to the articles friends sent me, or those I’d find myself about indie publishing options. There were dozens of choices out there from pricey full-service models to free e-book uploading on Amazon, Smashwords and many other on-line sites. There were also frightening warnings about self-publishing companies with dubious offerings and fiendish reputations.
I had already invested in a manuscript evaluation, several manuscript printings, postage back and forth to cold readers, cover art, an editor and a new office chair. Given the apparently miniscule chance of my manuscript being picked up by an agent, did I make that final investment and self-publish?
My answer was yes! It was an investment in me. Maybe it would pay off, but if not, it wouldn’t be because I hadn’t even tried.
As I moved forward with my decision, I came to grips with two things: 1. I didn’t know a thing about the business side of publishing; and 2. I didn’t possess the level of technical skill I needed to format the book myself. I needed help. I investigated my options and decided to hire a local company and chose a mid-range self-publishing package that included print and e-book formatting with wide distribution.
Indie publishing may have its pros and cons, but it’s never dull. It’s been an interesting experience with a steep learning curve. It’s not for everyone, but so far (for me at least) the pros outweigh the cons. And even if I never recoup the investment, each time I hear how much someone has enjoyed the story, I feel like the effort was worthwhile.
I’ve since invested in a domain name, a web designer, professional promotional material and endless hours of my time and I’m not finished yet. As it turns out, “The End” is really just the beginning. The second book in the trilogy, The Gift: Revelation is on the verge of publication. I’m indie publishing again and I’m still on the learning curve. I’ll let you know what happens next!