I wrote a book. Where is the confetti?

On making a decision about what to do with your writing.

There are so many things to brush up on when you have decided to take matters into your own hands. By this I mean your career, as in writing, as in self-publishing. Obviously you can take quite a few things into your own hands, but that is a discussion for another day. (And just a warning for the future; don’t mind my brain-farts from time to time. I work with men mostly, so more often than not, my mind is in the gutter. One adapts, you know:) *wriggles brows*)

Now, when you are an aspiring author and have just finished your first book it is possible you’ll find yourself in a weird state of mind. After the initial ‘hell friggin yeah’ has worn off you stop and look around, thinking: And now? What now? I was told there would be money, fame… confetti? Yeah… no.

What you should be doing, after your deserved high, is think about what to do next. Do you want to bask in your brilliance and let your work sit around? No problem, you do that; you’ve written a whole damned book for goodness sake. But if you want to do something with it, like get it out there, then there a few decisions that need to be made. Your first one is which way to go: Traditional or independent. There are many pros and cons for both and in the end, it comes down to what you want, what you can stand and what you can’t.

Now hold on to your fedora’s ladies and gents; I’m pulling up my sleeves.

Traditional Publishing:

You can either query an agent, who can get you places you alone can’t, or you try on your own. There are quite a few publishing houses (and big ones too) that look at first-time authors who aren’t represented, but more will want to work through an agent. And an agent (should) know on which desks to place what to bring you forward.

For me personally, this route is too daunting and unsure. The rights to my stories would be bought, entailing me losing control over what happens to them. The editing, the marketing, the cover—everything. What’s a good thing about it is that you can sit back and let them do their thing; if it works ideally. You will have to market yourself on social media yourself though. Especially with first-time authors publishers don’t want to spend too much on people they don’t know will sell. That is why it’s always a good thing to ask about their marketing plans for you, once you are discussing your contract. You have less things to worry about, but it is a long journey (can take years) and you have to know that you’ll get rejections. Possibly countless ones. Oh, and you’ll earn about 10% to 15% per book sale, generally speaking.

Self-publishing:

No we’re talking. *rubs hands* As you can no doubt tell, this is what I am choosing. And let me tell you; it is a shitton of work. You will have to find an editor, which is costly, and you’ll have to find someone who fits you, who you can work well with. (I have been very lucky in that regard, cause I have found the best frigging editor in the world! We just clicked from the very beginning.) Editing entails two to three rounds, or more. You should find a cover-designer if you aren’t fit in designing yourself. Someone who formats your writing for e-book or paperback isn’t bad to have. You need a website, social media accounts, at least one (I recommend twitter or facebook, simply because it has tons of users). And then you need to decide on where to publish, how to do so and… the list goes on.

Basically, you do everything yourself, but you have complete control. You, and you alone are responsible for putting out the best work you are capable of. That isn’t an easy thing to do, trust me, I know. You will have to learn, a lot. I can’t tell you how many hours I have sat and read tips, watched tutorials and lost myself in blog-posts concerning what to do and what not to. (There are so many of them out there, and a lot more detailed and better than this, I’m going to shut up about the one vs. the other thing now.)

(Self-)Publishing your book is something you have to really want, and you have to be ready to put in hours of work and a good sum of money, not knowing if you’ll earn that money back. Now, of course you can let your friends proofread your book, slap on a picture as a cover and upload, then call it a day. The question is; what do you want to achieve? For yourself? Do you want to make a quick buck by selling something you’re not proud of? Go on ahead, you do you. I don’t think you’ll earn much, but tell me if I’m wrong. (I really meant that. I’m kinda nosy)

For those of you that love what they have written and want to whip it into the best shape it can be; stay strong. Learn. There are so many lovely people online that have gone through this already, and they share that information, because they’re awesome! Don’t be afraid to say ‘hi’. Random internet conversations about how to publish, what to write, dinosaurs, the existence of life and trolls are the absolute best!

I’m not saying choose what I have chosen. I’m not saying getting traditionally published is a bad idea, I’m saying I won’t do it. (Not at this point of my life anyway) Not because I’m a control freak, or organized. (I’m extremely lazy and veeery comfortable. I also speak procrastination fluently) The reasons why I chose to self-publish are many. And to me those reasons make sense, they will not, and should not, make sense to everybody.

The main one of them being that once I have it in my hands, once I run my fingers along the spine and flip through the pages, smelling that delicious book smell, I can proudly, and with absolute conviction, say: I made this, and it has turned out exactly the way I wanted it to.

I have thought about giving up. (I’m lazy after all, and socially awkward with strangers, and I tend to babble) Thought about it, but I have never wanted to. I knew that it was something that would eventually happen, even though there are so many things I still have to do before I’m there. The journey I have been on so far, the people I have met, the things I have learned…All of it is invaluable, and I encourage you to do the same. Go out there, even if the sun is blinding, even when you can’t see where you’re going. You’re not supposed to. That’s why it’s called an adventure! Grab the hand of a stranger and walk with him/her for a while, listen to their stories and tell them yours. Don’t be afraid, we’re all weird round here.

So go grab your MS by the horns and do something with it. Make that decision, stick to it and be proud of it. It’s yours!

 

 

As promised; the experiment stats from today:

F=7, T=73, W=769, AB=74!

 

 

 

 

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s