Thursday, February 28, 2013

What Is Best for You

Don’t look right or left. Stay focused on your dream and walk toward it. Those are words my mother drilled into me when younger, and it’s a huge part of why I chose to sign with a small publisher.

After a lifetime of writing, it wasn't until about two years ago that I decided to pursue publication. When I started researching the best way to get my book out into the world, it seemed as if traditional publishing was the main avenue, while self-publishing and small presses were the shady side streets no one should take for fear of literary death. 

Frightened by this prospect, I started down the traditional route. A long walk down this path left me with a lot of rejection and requests that fell through. Rewrites garnered similar results. I was left stranded with the dismal thought that maybe my work would never see the light of day. That maybe I should give up and work on something else.

The thought made me ill. Why should I give up? Why did didn't I consider the other avenues?

The truth is that I was being led by the experiences and opinions of others. I was busy looking all around at what others had to say about their journey, instead of focusing on my own.

Thing is, everyone's experience is different. There are always going to be those with horror stories—even some who took the traditional route. I've read of many who disliked the lack of control or attention they got from their publisher or agent. There were those who signed with a small press that did a lousy job at editing and marketing their book, just as there were many self-published authors who were overwhelmed by the amount of work it required. There were also some success stories. But in the end, whether good or bad, these were the experiences of others. 

As for opinions, I found that I had bound myself to one path because of the stigma that if I dared travel the other two roads, it would be equivalent to saying that my book wasn't good enough for the traditional route. I think this is a big part of what terrifies many writers on the fence about indie publishing, but that mindset isn't true and it shouldn't have power over you.

I felt I had something special. I had worked hard on my book and still had my dream. There were still readers looking for good books, and there were three avenues of getting it to them. Three avenues I then considered.  

Self-publishing was ruled out first simply because I didn't feel ready to tackle publishing on my own. I preferred testing the publishing waters with a little guidance while I learned more about the industry and built relationships. 

Black Opal Books, a small press, was a happy medium for me.  They have provided me with editors, will handle distribution and formatting, and are helping me develop a marketing strategy. My fellow authors also share so much information that for a newbie like me, getting to learn while making my dream come true is more than a win. I also have a say in the final edits and the cover. Awesome?  I think so. 

I’m happy with this choice as it was one I made for myself, based on what I felt was best for my book. It may not be be the same choice you make. Heck, it may be very different from the path I choose for my next book. Will I self-publish? I don't know. Will I go with a small press? I don't know. Will I follow the traditional route? I don't know.

What I do know is that whatever I choose will be what I think is best for me.

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