As I work on revisions for my novel, Postcards from the Desert, I can't help but wonder where do I go from here? Yes, I know, I have to finish it first, but as I finish the editing and send it to my next set of readers I wonder where it will end up. Sitting on agent's desk for months before I get the rejection letter (in my fantasy, the acceptance letter) or do I spend that time marketing it myself?
It used to be that most authors took the traditional route. Write the novel. Do the editing. Look for an agent. Wait. Look for another agent. Wait. Get an agent. Wait. Look for a publisher. Wait. Find a publisher. Wait. Get accepted. And then the real waiting happens. Cover art. Galleys. Meeting with Marketing people. Setting a release date a year away. Waiting. You get the drift.
Now as most publishing houses are reluctant to take on new authors, unless they are a famous name, it gets harder to break into the business and get that book into print. At least with the traditional route. I saw this recently with a friend who sent her memoir to an agent who seemed very interested. Ultimately, after many months of back and forth and the run around, the agent told my friend she loved the work, but didn't think she could sell the book because the market was already saturated. So my friend, who has a great book (I've read it) begins again. More queries. More waiting.
Fortunately, we live in an age where we have self publishing as easy as uploading a document to an ebook platform and selling it online with major retailers. Sure, that means there is a lot of crap out there, but there are also a lot of gems that might not get published the traditional way because they're too risky or unconventional. As for crap, there's some in the book stores too. As my partner likes to point out, Snooki has a published novel. What's taking me so long?
I've been following some "independent" authors on Twitter and Facebook and I must say I'm pretty impressed with the amount of time and dedication they put into marketing their work. Many traditional writers also put in this time as many of the publishing houses now require it. I admire the entrepreneurial spirit of the independents and hope I have that kind of guts when it comes down to it.
I don't know which way I'll go, but I'm glad to know there are options. I'm feeling pretty entrepreneurial these days, so I might just have to blaze a trail and find a home for my novel. I tested the market with my first is a series of novelettes, The Other Side of the Rainbow, a few months ago and I recently got my first royalties check. It wasn't a down payment on a house, but I was able to buy groceries that week.
But alas, I must get back to the revisions or this novel won't ever get seen by anyone other than my first readers (one who made me promise this would see publication one way or another). Either way, I won't let you down, Wendy.