It’s a mystery to me what I’m going to do with the mystery I’ve written. Here is my dilemma; my book is done. It has a beginning, middle, and end. It has interesting characters, all kinds of conflict, and a heck of an ending, if I do say so myself. It’s 85% polished and when it’s 100%, I will then have to figure out…what next?
Here are my options:
a. Hire an agent. I do not have to pay this agent until he or she sells my novel. Good deal, except getting an agent seems to include a certain amount of grovelling. You have to sell yourself to this agent. Query her to see if she’s interested in your genre and then convince her you are, at the very least, a competent writer or, at best, an exceptional writer.
From what I’ve read agents are being very selective when offering a contract to a writer. And so they should be. Janet Reid says in her blog, “Many of us (agents) now have to be careful about taking on small contracts cause they end up costing us money instead of making us money.” I understand that. A book would have to darn near blow their knee-highs off in order for them to take the chance that it will sell enough to make everybody involved some money. Editors (plural, please note. Copy editors, content editors, etc.), people to design your cover, people to market your book…all this talent needs to be paid if you are going to use the traditional method of selling your book.
I don’t think my book is a knee-high blowing masterpiece. I think it is what I meant it to be; good entertainment. A good beach book. Bathtub material. Something that helps ease the time of flying for six hours over the Atlantic at 30,000 feet. Not sure if an agent would take the chance on it so instead of going through all that rejection…
b. Indie publish. An independent publisher. Thing is, you pay them first, then they market and edit and whatever else you want them to do for you…for a price. Which is fine, as well. These people are business people; they are not gamblers willing to put themselves out-of-pocket for you. Again, I understand that. But do I want to spend approximately $1000.00 to $6000.00 for something I really could do myself…which brings me to option…
c. Self publish. Sure, I’d get to keep 100% of whatever I sold, but I’d have to spend quite a bit of time learning how to do it. Apparently Smashwords makes it relatively easy, and Amazon, Kindle and Nook are more than happy to put your e-book on their sites for sale. But, it sounds like a lot of work. And my network of potential buyers is pretty darn limited. And then there’s the stigma of self-publishing. Family and friends, not familiar with the problems of publishing, might mutter amongst themselves, “evidently she couldn’t find anyone to sell her book, she had to do it herself“. And they wouldn’t be saying this to be mean, or discouraging. It’s just how it used to be.
But not anymore. There are a lot of fine writers doing their own publishing and keeping the money all for themselves, because they are doing all the work. And there are a lot of horror stories out there of artists being ripped off by dodgy bookkeepers or agents. I would prefer to keep total control over this manuscript of mine, which I have toiled long hours over and into which I have dripped copious amounts of anxious perspiration.
I am leaning towards option c but I am also already resenting the time self-publishing is going to take. Time that will take me away from finishing the second book of my Mabel series. Take me away from what I really want to be doing. Writing.
What to do, what to do.