Iâ€™m going to say that again because I like the way it sounds (and looks in print): I wrote a book last summer.
Iâ€™ve posted before about why I write and about how I sometimes struggle to get words on the page (despite how utterly overrun my mind is with ideas at times). Iâ€™ve described the feeling before in various ways â€¦ words upon words floating, bouncing, squiggling in my head like a pot of eggs boiling, boiling, boiling to the point of dry, then suddenly you have egg remnants stuck to the ceiling and walls â€¦ or characters that resemble those animated mucusÂ things in commercials that find it hysterical that theyâ€™re host body canâ€™t breathe, think â€¦ or characters in stories who lay dormant all day long only to cause a ruckus â€“ er, have a dance party â€“ at night (the vampire playthings in my head).
So, completing the book was big for me. I think Iâ€™d been working on so many different projects for so long â€“ seriously, Iâ€™m talking years on some â€“ that Iâ€™d psyched myself out of actually being able to finish anything longer than a short story.
But I did it. I wrote a book last summer. The working title is How To Be a Good Mom (Or At Least Not An Epic Failure). And itâ€™s still written. Still on my computer (and backed up, right? Right). So what do I do now?
What I really want to do now is move on to the next project. Start knocking some things out of the park. Because I know I can do it now.
But what I really need to do is see this one through â€“ to publication. So thatâ€™s where I am right now. Thatâ€™s the â€œwhatâ€ in the â€œNow what?â€ Get published.
But short of cold-calling publishers (and by â€œcold-calling,â€ I really mean emailing because surely we all know by now Iâ€™m not actually calling anybody), what do I do? Iâ€™ve put out a couple of queries but who knows how long that will take. I know self-publishing is an option but Iâ€™m not sure thatâ€™s the route for me. I know my strengths; finally, at 40-something, I can say what Iâ€™m good at, and what Iâ€™m not, without feeling like Iâ€™m bragging or shooting myself in the foot. Iâ€™m a writer. Itâ€™s what I do, who I am. Iâ€™m not a salesperson. I have a message (messages, actually) to share with the world and I really believe (some) people will want to hear those messages. So how do I get from words on paper to messages heard? Given my previous conundrum (vampire playthings to words on paper), this canâ€™t be too hard, right?
So, fellow writers, any advice? Do you self-publish? Or use an agent/traditional house? Or some third option I canâ€™t see right now through the egg remnants/mucous things words?
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I acknowledge that it’s not always the best route, but–self-publishing a good product is so easy. And truthfully, most publishers do almost no marketing for first-time authors, though it can lend you some credibility.
But in fact, many publishers look for their next author in the self-publishing market, so, you know… A choice to do one doesn’t preclude a different choice in the future. #choices
Mostly, I think you should just do what feels right in your gut. But, if you want to chat about self-publishing and how it works in the real world, let me know! I’ve worked with a bunch of folks who go that route.
And hey, congrats on finishing your book!
Thanks for the comment, Lacey! This is helpful information. I’ve got one route I’m pursuing but don’t want to put all my eggs in one basket. I’d love to chat with you about self-publishing – pick your brain a little. I’ll message you soon.