Friday, April 20, 2012

Publishing?

Well, as many of you know, I finally made a decision.  It was not an easy one!  I must have changed my mind thirty-seven times.

Ever since this idea of writing entered my head, I always assumed I would write the next Great American Novel, it would magically be wonderful, and I would send it off to a publisher, land an agent, and the rest would be history.  Okay, that's really never what I expected.  Though I did expect I would one day be published, I never imagined it would be an easy process.  And I know it isn't!  I have nothing but admiration for all the traditionally published writers out there.  It is a hard world to break into.  Many terrific books are passed over in favor of other books, as publishers try to guess which fad will catch on, what book will catch the attention of millions of readers.  Self-publishing is an entirely different ball game.  You can make this a very easy process in which you put forth no effort, and most likely will end up with a product that will not sell and will hurt your reputation.  Or you can go about it the correct way, professionally, just like a traditionally published author, and build a brand for your name that will eventually lead readers to you *crosses fingers and takes a deep breath*

Now there is the new  world of E-books and the publishing venture offered through Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble Nook, Smashwords, Google Books, and many others.  Suddenly, anyone who strings a few lines of text together can slap a book up on the internet and attempt to sell their work.

Honestly, I didn't view these as "real" books.  Please don't come after me with the pitchforks and burning torches.  In fairness, the only self-published book I had ever read was absolutely horrible.  I downloaded it for 99 cents, thinking that for the price it was worth taking a chance.  Boy, was that a horrible assumption.  Spelling errors, basic grammar structure problems, and the plot ... let's just say it was not well thought out.  I swore I would never buy another self-published book.

Enter Critique Circle.  Suddenly, I'm reading works in progress (WIPs) by awesome authors and I'm excitedly sharing my work, getting great help, perfecting my craft.  Everyone is talking about their editors, and I'm so naive and clueless about this new way of publishing, I think they must have publishing deals.  I was amazed that all of these people seemed to so easily land a deal, and wondered what the heck the secret was! :-)  When I realized they were self-publish authors, who actually hired editors just like traditional authors, my brain suddenly started wondering what world of possibilities could be opened by this new development.

I gave self-published work another chance, and I have to say, it's unfortunate I happened upon that first book.  The majority of these self-published novels really deserve to be published, as much as any other book I've read.  There is something a little sad about reading digital books, but I'm slowly getting used to this new way of reading--I love the feel, smell, and experience of holding a book in my hands, turning the pages.  I've told my family I want a Kindle for my birthday this year.  We'll see how that compares to a paperback.  It has to be better than reading at my laptop.

My plan is to publish Always and Forever on Amazon.  I'm learning a lot about promotion, Facebook, Twitter (I'll have more on my experiences with this later).  It's a scary world, but also fabulously exciting.

My editor, Stephanie, sent the first 5000 words of Always and Forever back to me this evening.  She has some great ideas and some great catches.  In fact, Chapter One listed on this site is not going to make it to the final edit--well, parts of it will, as far as information given about Lilly, but the chapter itself will undergo a radical change.  I will update the website in the future and put the final Chapter One up.  Stephanie made a suggestion for an alternate first chapter.  Interestingly, it's the same suggestion my good critique buddy and fellow aspiring author, Travis Casey, made.  It was a good idea when he made it, and it's still a good idea.  I'm going to run with it.  She had a lot of other great suggestions.  I can already see the benefit of hiring an editor.  I'm very, very excited to embark on the next phase of editing.

Here are some of my favorite blogs that have information about self-publishing, what authors are doing about promotion, and just some general guidelines:
Rachelle's Window
Victorine Writes

Good luck to everyone, in whatever dreams you pursue! Anything is possible!

16 comments:

  1. What a great post, Chantel! I'm excited for you and I can't wait to see the finished project. I'm also just learning about self-publishing, so I'm interested to read all about your experiences.

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    1. Thanks, Kimberly! I'm very excited as well. Glad my posts might be helpful in some way. I'll put up new posts as I come across information that might help someone else out. Thanks so much for reading and commenting so often! It means a lot to me to know I have readers out there :-)

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  2. Great luck to you, Chantel. I imagine the hardest part of self-publishing would be the marketing, so if you have this social media and blogging platform down, you've got the biggest battle behind you! :)

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    1. haha - well, I'm learning the social media. It is a challenge. But I agree. I think even traditionally published authors have the battle of learning how to market. Thanks, Diane!

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  3. Good luck Chantel! Self-publishing is a huge feat. I also have learned so much from my partners at CC. I'm curious to see how you will change chapter 1 and I know how hard it is to rework something. Keep your chin up! Your novel is excellent. I can't wait to download it to my kindle. By the way, I love my Kindle and couldn't live without it. My husband says it's attached to my hip. :)

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    1. You're so sweet, Melinda! Thanks so much. It makes me feel good to know that even after all the work you have done on Always and Forever, you still want it for your Kindle. :-) And yes, CC is fabulous! I've learned so much there!

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  4. Hi Chantel, we had you fooled didn't we? Name dropping our editors and all. Thanks for the call-out. You can still have your book in paper form through Amazon's Createspace or other print on demand services.

    Can't wait to see your revisions. You're doing it right, getting it critted, vetted, and edited. And I do most of my reading on my Lenovo laptop, second on my iPad and last on my original 1st generation white Kindle with the button keys!

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    1. Actually Rachelle, you were the person who finally talked to me enough about things that I figured out what was actually going on! LOL And Creatspace... I'm very excited about that, because I do love my print books so much! Have a great day!

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    1. Thanks, Hektor! It's so nice to meet you!

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  6. Great post, Chantel! Unfortunately, many authors don't make the effort you are to work with writing buddies and editors. And so readers have unhappy experiences with indie published books. Keep spreading the word and good luck with your book!

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    1. Yes... that is where the duds, like my first read, come from for sure. You definitely know what you are talking about. I haven't had a chance to read your book, Growing Up Country, yet, but your reviews are great! Thanks so much for stopping by!

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  7. I feel really excited about self-publishing, and it's great to be able to share it with you. I haven't sent mine in for editing yet, but I've found a fabulous editor and am really looking forward to digging in. Best luck and don't lose sight of your vision of getting into the readers hands!

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    1. Good luck to you, Laura, with the editing process. So far I've just started, but working with an editor is more fun then the endless revisions I did on my own :-) And it is always nice to get a fresh perspective! Thanks for reading and good luck with your own journey!!

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  8. From what everybody is saying these days, this is the way to go! Best of luck on the journey!

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