Last week, was without a doubt, the most stressed out week I've ever experienced as a writer.
My book order finally came in last Tuesday, so on that day I became an honest-to-goodness published writer. Granted, it was with a publisher who in some circles would be considered a vanity press and in others would not, but fact remains that I decided to take the plunge and present my book to the people that really matter: the general public.
Yes, the general public. For they are the ones who will truly decide whether or not my writing is good enough for them. They are the ones who have experienced my writing first hand in multiple forms. For some, they were exposed to my first attempts at short story writing and the original first draft of my novel. They saw something in that early tangled mess and told me so.
Others were exposed to my 13,000+ posts that were made in the Topix chat rooms and liked them enough (at least the ones that actually had a point and made sense) to tell me what a excellent and reasonable voice I have.
And finally, others were exposed to my writings via this blog, which has been around since Memorial day weekend 2008. I must be doing something good here as well, as I'm averaging about 100 visitors a week to my tiny slice of the blog universe. If people didn't like what they were reading, they wouldn't keep coming back.
For all of these people, and many others who know about me via word of mouth, either in the Cyber World or in the Real World, they are the ultimate decision makers in regards to my novel.
Back to the topic at hand: self-publishing my novel. I spent a fun filled Wednesday afternoon opening a business account (note: you can't have a savings without a checking or vice versa), getting a new mailing address, and creating a brand new blog to sell it.
On Thursday, I started a simple, but hopefully, effective grass-roots advertising campaign. First, the wonderful cafeteria lady at my office building was kind enough to tape up the postcard and business card I gave to her, on the front counter near the cash register. That way, when people were waiting in line to pay for their food, they could read the short synopsis of the book, and get a chance to meet and great the author (I'm there two or three times a day) as well.
Secondly, I've been able to make quite a few friends at some of my favorite blogs for the past six months, and they've been gracious enough to post a link to my blog on theirs. For the people who were nice enough to do that, I give you all a great big THANK YOU! for doing so.
Finally, I would like to thank Blogger as well. They have a feature called "scheduling posts", which lets a poster create multiple posts and have them post in the future. The previous week before I got my order, I had enough time to create several posts and date them for future use, because I knew that with things in the real world starting to heat up, there was a good chance that I wouldn't be able to update my blog properly.
I have two more scheduled posts that are coming up on 11/11 and 11/13 (note: my scheduled posts always have a time of 7:00a on them), so by next Saturday, barring any unforeseen issues, I will be back to my normal routine of posting in the evening.
So to sum it up, I am now officially a small business owner (really small as my office/warehouse is my bedroom and dining room). It's exhilarating, exciting and just a little bit scary, because to be honest with everyone, I never really gave any thought about becoming my own boss.
I figured that since I had the magic touch in other aspects of my life, that getting a book published would be a snap. Find an agent, get a publisher, get published. Simple, yes? Well, if you've been a follower of my blog from the early days, you know it ain't that simple.
I won't rehash the gory details, but I will say that if I knew then what I know now, I probably would still be having this conversation with everyone, because I would still be going the self-publishing route. I wouldn't be spending the ungodly total sum of $7,000 in order to get my book out, but I would be spending something in order to do what I wanted to do.
Self-publishing isn't for everyone. You need to look deep within yourself and ask, "Do I have what it takes to move forward with my dream, knowing that it will become an uphill battle in the process? That most people within the industry won't really take a second look at your book unless you can show really good sales for it (like at least 1,000 or more copies and great word of mouth)? That all you'll ever be is a good niche writer with a small and devoted following?"
If you can honestly answer yes to these questions, then self-publishing is for you. If you can't, then get ready to spend years fine tuning your craft, doing submissions and receiving multiple rejections. It's long tortuously slow process not for the faint of heart, and its designed mostly to crush the spirit of the average writer who dreams of success.
While this may sound like sour grapes coming from someone like myself who hasn't paid enough dues in the way of being rejected or being published, it isn't. I am by nature, an impatient individual. For me, two years worth of rejections from agents and publishers, was a long enough wait before deciding to go out on my own. For others, it may not be. Only you can be the judge on how long you're willing to suffer through the callous industry called publishing.
In any event, no matter what avenue you decided to take, pursue it to the best of your ability, because at the end, the reward of being published is all that really matters.