Moving on

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Self-publishing or Not, That is the Question....

Recently I had the privilege of speaking to a group of writers at the Charlotte Write To Publish Group. They invited me to talk about my experience acquiring an agent, so I gladly stepped up to the plate and gave them the full monty.  I traced my humble publishing history from Sunday School supplements to write-for-hire curriculum, to adult poetry, to my yet-to-be-published YA novel, CRAZY.

I talked about the time and money I have poured into professional critiques, workshops, and conferences to fine tune my manuscript.  I described my 4-month quest to snag an agent. I detailed the grueling year-and-a-half of rejections, close-calls, near misses,  agonizing waiting and elevated blood pressure. And I bravely divulged that my agent and I have come to the recent conclusion that I should launch my own search targeting small, independent presses who do NOT wish to see an agented piece of work. The writers listened politely and showered me with intelligent questions in the end.

Then I sat back and listened to them share their stories, and one after another they unveiled their self-publishing or subsidy publishing journeys.  Someone passed around a shiny finished product, another shared pieces of his glowing Kirkus reviews, and yet another outlined the ease and efficiency of getting her book edited and uploaded.  I listened politely, asked intelligent questions, and left with my head spinning.

This morning I woke up with a gross WHY headache.  Why am I doing this to myself when I could take half the money I was going to spend for yet another workshop, go to and within hours be on my way to published bliss?  In fact, with a little design savvy I could click my manuscript into the published realm before dinner tonight without spending a pretty penny.  Why not?

Fellow writers who have gone this route, please hear me.  I am not bashing you, your work, or the choices you have made.  Quite the contrary, for the first time in my writing career, I am seriously asking myself why not?

My head is in a muddle, but I'd love to hear from clear thinkers out there on either side of this slippery slope.


  1. Linda, I have read this book and know it needs to be published. COncerning your direction, I'll quote your daddy, "use your own good judgement"

  2. I actually had a great conversation about this last night at the WNBA meeting. COunt me as muddled too. WIll share all that I know (and don't know) when I see you on Thursday.

  3. After ten years of hearing, "Beautifully written and researched but just not right for us," after completely rewriting three times for three different editors: first changing to third person then back to first person and reworking as a series of three short novels rather than one longer one, I am doing just that. My second book (and first novel) will be out in October. I really think the face of publishing is changing. I will let the market decide if the book has the wings to fly, not wait to find an editor who shares my passion for the story.

    1. Thank you for your honest and thought-provoking answer. I like "letting the market decide if the book has the wings to fly" and I certainly see how you have come to this decision. And indeed, the face of publishing is undergoing some rapid and radical changes. Thanks for getting in on the discussion.

  4. I'm glad you waited for a traditional publisher. It will be less work for you and there's something about getting that validation!