Wednesday, October 3, 2012

IWSG: A Shoulder, a Hand, and a Word of Encouragement



It’s the first Wednesday of the month, time for

I’ve been participating in the IWSG for a year now, and, in that time, I think most of my posts have been complaints about one thing or another, usually about how discouraged I was feeling.  Yes, I know, that’s kind of what it’s for, but, besides being a place to vent insecurities, it’s also a place to support those writers who need it.  I just always seemed to be on the receiving end.  But not today.

Today, I’m here to tell you, you CAN do it.  I’m living proof.  And if I can do it, so can you.  For whatever reason, writers are incredibly insecure.  All we want is for others to read our words, and, for most of us, that means we want to publish those words, get them out into the world for all to see and, hopefully, love.  But with the industry in total upheaval, it seems quite daunting.  There are dues to pay, rules to follow, a platform to build, and a craft to learn and perfect. And to make it even harder, we have to get past those pesky gatekeepers, because…well, that’s the way it’s always been done.  Right? 

As my dear friend and fellow author, Jennifer Hillier once told me, there are many paths to publication.  Some of you have chosen the self-pub route.  I commend you on that move.  Contrary to what some might think, it’s not the easiest way, at least not if you want to actually sell your book to readers.  It takes endless hours of hard work to promote a book on your own.  I know I could never do it myself.  And it’s not just about not having the marketing expertise either.  I simply don’t have the drive.  Even if I hadn’t sold my novel, I know I never would have self-pubbed because it’s just so blasted difficult.  Kudos to those of you fearless enough to take on that brave new world.

If you’re more like me and, for whatever reason, only consider traditional publishing, take heart.  That doesn’t necessarily mean you have to pursue the traditional path.  With the explosion of ebooks, and with traditional publishers—namely the Big 6—not really knowing how to forecast, let alone deal with what the future might bring, many small presses have popped up.

These independent publishers are focused and built on the very foundation of ebooks, as well as the old standards.  They’re start-ups with marketing and business plans developed around this new formula, with the ability to change with an industry in flux.  They aren’t dinosaurs trying to survive what they see as a world apocalypse.  And while the Big 6 and all their subsidiaries and imprints throw 99% of their marketing budgets behind 1% of their authors, the indies are not only willing to cast their money and reputation behind new talent, they thrive on it  

Most of these establishments understand that the old blueprint is not the only way to find this new talent.  They don’t rely solely on literary agents.  They know writers don’t always choose to seek representation, and that even if a writer hasn’t been able to land an agent, that doesn’t mean their work is not worthy of publication.  It just means many agents overlook talent while pandering to the T-Rex. 

I spent a few months seeking the Holy Grail, and while I only tapped the top of the well and had planned on digging deeper, I didn’t limit myself.  In addition to sixty or so agents, I chose to query one small press, which resulted in a deal.  Yeah, sure, I would love the validation that goes along with representation, but ultimately, publication was what I sought.  And I got that.  Without an agent.  It is possible.  In fact, I have several friends who’ve done the same recently.  I stand behind it so fiercely, I convinced another friend who seemed dead set against it to finally submit to my publisher, Sapphire Star Publishing.  Why the hell not?  His book is every bit good enough. 


So to all of you who feel ground under the heel of Godzilla and his minions, fear not.  Embrace change and snuggle deep into the bosom of revolution.  It’s your time.  You just need the ability and desire to break free from dogma of conformity.  The publishing industry is headed that way regardless.  Why not tag along for the ride?     
________

This is my last IWSG post before my debut novel, The Mistaken, launches on the 18th.  After that, I might be seeking consolation for utter and total failure.  But I sure hope not!

BTW, if you were here on Monday, you know I’m out of town at my first writer’s conference.  Because of this, I probably won’t have time to make the rounds until I get back.  But thank you so very much for stopping by.  It’s the support of friends like you that has enabled me to make my dreams come true.


32 comments:

Natalie Aguirre said...

Awesome post Nancy. So true that there are many different paths to publication. Excited that you found the right one for you.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

You will not be a failure!
There are so many ways to succeed as an author. We just can't allow ourselves to think there is only one way that will work for us. I'm also with a small publisher and my books have achieved success beyond anything I could've ever imagined.
Enjoy the conference and tell Jennifer hello for me!

Stina Lindenblatt said...

I think whatever route you plan to go, it's scary. There's pros and cons to all of them. The main thing is picking the route that will make you happy and get your book out to the correct target audience. Your friend might be very successful at self publishing. But she publishes romances and you write YA. If you go the self-publishing route and want teens to read your book, you're going to be disappointed. Unless it somehow lands in a school library (or public library), there's a good chance they won't see it. If you don't care who reads you YA book, then self publishing could work for you.

The main thing is doing the route that works with your goals and the one you're most comfortable with. :)

Julie said...

I love learning when I read other blogs-- thanks for sharing your experience and route to publication. I can tuck this away as another option when I'm ready for that step. Yay!

Shell Flower said...

Good luck with your book launch. Nice to see someone who has found their road to publication, and is almost at the end of it (for this one). Congrats.

Liza said...

Thank you for such an optimistic post and best wishes on your launch!

Julie said...

Very inspiring post, Nancy! Reading how thrilled Lisa Regan was with her decision to join Sapphire Stars inspired me to query small publishers, and it was a great decision for me.

I can't wait to read The Mistaken, it looks awesome. Good luck with the release!

Jackie said...

Great post!
Congrats on your upcoming release!

Mark Means said...

Congrats on the release of your novel, I'm sure it'll be a smash! I'm sure that, soon, you'll have nothing to write about for the IWSG....which is a good thing! :)

Callie Leuck said...

Aw, this is a nice post :) Best of luck with your release! woo!

Insomniac #4 said...

On behalf of all of us insecure writers out there, thank you so much for sharing your story and passing along some encouraging words! It's a welcome change for sure, and very helpful.

Best of luck with your book release. Hope it's a rousing success!

Rena said...

You will not fail. You've come so far already, everything else is just icing. Great post, and I hope your debut is a smash hit (I'm sure it will be!).

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

Very encouraging, Nancy. Thanks. I've got to get off my butt and query agents. I can still feel the sting of rejection in the air, but you're so right. It's time to get over it. I'm published now, so at least my query letter will have something other than the synopsis in it.

Happy IWSG!

E. Arroyo said...

Yay! Congrats. I agree. It is a great time to be an artist. =)

Catherine Noble said...

Excellent post, Nancy, you're an inspiration to all of us! It's wonderful to see the publishing direction being diverted from "celebrity" autobiographies etc. :)

L.G.Smith said...

So many paths to success. The industry is definitely in flux because of technology, competition, and the economy, and I think we'll see even more innovation before it's over. Enjoy your moment and your trip. Waves to Jennifer and Lisa too!!

Donna K. Weaver said...

Yes. Excellent post, Nancy. And how fun that you're going to your first writers conference. LOVE them!

N. R. Williams said...

Hi Nancy
Congratulations. For years we were told, (I'm in a writer's group), that small press was a bad idea. But now, the word is it is a very good idea. Mainstream publishers have lost their way. I'm self pubbed but only because of timing. I wasn't willing to wait any longer.
Nancy

Andrew Leon said...

I'm pretty set against traditional publishing at this point and, likewise, set against agents. When agents learn, again, that they work for authors and not for publishers, they may be worth taking another look at but not before.

I'm not sold on small presses, unfortunately.

Lauren said...

Very encouraging post, Nancy, thank you! I'm more of a get-out-there-and-promote-yourself type of girl, which is why I've been seriously considering self-publishing. I love how there are so many more options than before, and though it can be confusing sometimes I do love to have choices.

Congratulations! Hope your book launch goes smoothly. :)

Melissa said...

Woohoo! I'm fired up!
Great post! :D

JeffO said...

Great post, Nancy, and so very, very true: there are many paths to choose from. Enjoy the Con!

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Doesn't take a big publisher or agent to succeed!

Eva Gallant said...

A very good and inspiring post. Thanks for taking the time to write it, and here's hoping for huge success on the launch of the Mistaken!

Heather Gardner said...

Failure is not an option.

Not to worry. You and your book will be a smash hit.

I'm so glad to be a part of it!

Have a great time at your conference!

Best of luck.
Heather

Livia said...

Yes, I completely agree that failure is not an option. You're definitely living proof, Nancy. If you can publish a book and get your words out in this gigantic world, it's amazing what we can believe in ourselves. Never give up and if you don't, you'll have gold at the end of the rainbow! :)

mmshaunakelley said...

Great advice... I am self publishi my second book (after working with a small press on the first) and it IS harder than I thought. But I guess we're all finding a revolutionary bosom to snuggle deep into ;-) thank you very much for sharing this, and congrats on h book deal. Still looking for blog tour participants?

Cynthia said...

I think it's awesome you were able to find a traditional publisher without an agent. Congrats on your upcoming book release.

jamieayres.com said...

You always say things best! Have fun at your conference:-)

Lynda R Young said...

Yay for embracing change!! And yay for your up and coming book launch! Exciting!!!

Have a great time at the conference.

Matthew MacNish said...

You're so right, Nancy. Each path is different, but none of them are wrong.

Cherie Colyer said...

Great post, and you're right about there being many ways to publication. Congrats on your coming book"