Thursday, September 5, 2013

Publishing Choices - Why I made the choice to self-publish when I had an agent interested.

To continue our series on publishing, I’m going throw in my two cents of why I chose self-publishing over going traditional route. 

Two days before I was about to announce the release date of THE TRUTHS ABOUT DATING AND MATING, I received an email from one of the agents I’d had it on submission with, informing me that she wanted to discuss my book.  I was so stunned that I couldn’t even answer for a day.  To be honest, I stepped away from the computer because it seemed too freaky that this was happening the exact week I had planned to make the announcement.  This was after a couple of months of hearing nothing.  (I know, a couple of months is nothing, but I’ve never been good at the waiting game.)

So, once I got my thoughts together, I decided I'd be crazy not to at least listen to what she had to say.  After a Skype call – which was very interesting and I’m sure I acted like a total dork on – I heard some ideas I liked...and some I wasn’t too fond of.  There was a lot of information to ponder.  I discussed everything with my husband ad nauseum, weighing the pros of signing with an agent, as well as the cons.  I received  a lot of advice from friends and family, who generally don’t know much about how publishing works and why I was struggling with this so much.  What it really came down to was this:  Did I really want to make a lot of changes to my storyline that I wasn’t comfortable with for a book that may or may not ever sell, or did I want to go forward with my plan of self-publishing, and for better or worse, keep my book the way I wanted it?

I didn’t have a lot of time to decide, but I used every second I had to try to figure out what I wanted to do.  
I’ve always wanted to be published, but I also had the story written the way I wanted it, and every part is in there for a reason.  I laid a lot of groundwork in Truths.  Cutting some major scenes and characters would feel like selling out and sacrificing my story to possibly get a deal.  And what if I did all that work, and the agent still wasn’t happy with it?
What do I do?

After about a week, I finally came to a decision:  I was going to pass on going that route, and move forward with my original plan of self-publishing.  I’ve heard various reactions from people close to me, such as why are you settling for self-publishing?  What if you never get a chance like that again?  I thought that’s what you always wanted! 

With the new shift in the publishing world, self-publishing didn’t feel like settling.  It may not have been the deal I had always been dreaming about, but the idea of taking charge of the entire process myself – while scary – was also really exciting. 

I knew it was going to take a lot of work, but I was willing to put the time in.  I ran a blog tour by myself.  I bought an advertisement spot.  I sent out some review copies.  I ran some contests.  Oh, and I did a few strategic $.99 cent sales. 

In return, I’ve sold ten times the number of books I ever expected to.  I invested a fair amount of money in getting the book ready, and I made it all back in the first month, three times over.  My overall rating on most sites is pretty dang good.  From that, I’ve also learned that bad ratings don’t really bother me anymore.  
There are plenty of books people loved to death that I thought were horrible.  Different strokes, right? I remind myself of how many people have told me they enjoyed my book.  They far outweigh those who hated it.  I’ve built an audience and still have days where a simple tweet or email from someone who loved my book brightens my day and makes me feel like I’m walking on air.  

The simple fact is, I did it!  I put a book out there by myself, the way I wanted it to be, and not only did people buy it and read it, but plenty have enjoyed it and taken time of their busy days to let me know that.  And ten months after my release, people are still buying my book, they're still reading my book, and many are still letting me know how much they enjoyed it.  That right there is how I know I made the right choice in self-publishing, and why I consider myself successful from having done it!

This doesn't mean I won't ever consider traditional publishing again.  There will always be a part of me seeking that bit of validation, but I don't feel it as much I used to.  I got what I wanted the first time out without a publishing deal.  That may be all the validation I'll ever need.  

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