As a lot of you already know, about a year ago, this same time, I had a literary agent who I worked with to polish my manuscript and help me to reach my dream of authorhood. We edited. We talked on the phone. She emailed me the notes and rejections from publishers—four of them (in the realm of sending manuscripts to publishing houses, four is not a lot. Books go to dozens of publishers. I only was placed on the desk of four. That's all).
After nine months, my agent sent me an email letting me know that she had decided to quit the literary business (that's why I only went to four publishers). She said publishers weren’t buying books like they once had. The business was in free-fall (her words). She needed to find another way to make an income. So after hitting the lottery and finding an agent who believed in my work, I was back at the bottom, having to start the process all over again.
I had a snobbish attitude about self-publishing. Didn’t like the idea of it. Didn’t want to do it.
If I was going to be an author, I wanted to go the traditional route. I wanted validation. When I published my manuscripts, I didn’t want anyone to hesitate or wonder about the quality of my work, if it was any good, or have the negative attitude that tends to be connected with self-publishing.
So I sent out more queries and I went on to write a couple of more books while I waited to hear back from agents. I had caught the eye of one agent, had several others request partials and fulls, so I figured it was only a matter of time until I found another. It happened once. It could happen again.
I waited. I waited some more.
It was if tumbleweeds rolled across my email. I heard nothing. I sent out dozens and dozens and dozens of query letters. I only heard back from a handful. Rejections (which I expected). But the percentage of responses I received was around 8%. What was that all about? What was going on?
In the span of one year (querying last year and then querying again this year), it seemed like a whole lot had changed. I had never experienced so much silence. Last year I had bite after bite on my manuscript. This year, not even the courtesy of a rejection letter. Same query letter. A very different response. It wasn't just me either. Other writers were getting the cold shoulder too.
That’s when I realized, I think my ex-agent was telling me the truth, something I didn’t want to believe—the publishing world was changing. The traditional route was hurting.
I needed to rethink my writing future. What did I want?
I changed my attitude about self-publishing (my ex-agent even suggested I look into it, but I wasn't ready to do so at that time). I became slightly obsessed trying to find out every bit of information I could about it—hiring graphic artists, editors, how to market, and what avenues were available to sell my books. I was not going to go into this blind. I wanted to know everything I could. I clicked on every link I could find about self-publishing and read article after article. I talked with people. I asked questions. Lot's of questions.
But still, the idea of self-publishing scared the bejeebies out of me. I worried. I fretted. I didn’t know if I could do it.
So I didn’t do anything. I just wasn’t ready.
Then through Twitter (gotta love twitter and tweets), I came across Evolved Publishing. Since I click on tons of links, I clicked on that one too. I read over the site. I liked the concept they put forth, and then I decided what the heck, I’ll send them my first three chapters of two of my novels, plus the query letters for both, and see what happens.
I expected silence. That’s what I was used to.
Instead, I received an amazing response. And no, I don’t mean amazing in the sense that they said okay to one of my novels (that is awesome though), but because the length of the email and the feedback I received was incredible. I had NEVER had that much insight, feedback, and advice given to me from any of the four editors my ex-agent sent my manuscript to. They had simply gave the same old same old response, “It’s not for me, but the publishing business is a subjective business, yada, yada, yada.”
Evolved publishing laid it all out there. Told me what worked in my manuscripts and told me what didn’t. I was quite impressed with their editor’s insight—smart and extremely helpful.
When they asked to have a Skype meeting with me, I was more than happy to do so. I will have to say, I’m a pessimist by nature, and so I went into the meeting looking for some kind of hidden agenda, or something that would say to me, “See, I knew it was too good to be true.” That is the kind of person I am, always have been. It sucks being this way, but it keeps me from being disappointed.
Instead, the hour long meeting went very well. I was very impressed with their concept, and I felt excited about the possibilities.
But I’m scared now.
I have to work with their editors and publishing team and actually put out a book--Wanted: Dead or Undead, The Zombie West Series. I can’t just keep my book on my laptop, safe and unexposed. I have to put it out there. For the world to see (AHHHHHH). I just hope I don’t suck and people like me (isn’t that what we all want?).
Anyway, I am thrilled to be a part of Evolved Publishing. Meeting some of the team members have left me feeling excited and ready to do this. I'm still nervous, but I'm ready to move from being a writer to being an author (writers write, authors publish--I heard that quote somewhere and I love it),
Hopefully, I will have a book coming out early next year with the possibility of several more after that.
Whoa, that sounds weird. But I like it.
*Pop over to Evolved Publishing and check out my author bio. Click on the Authors button and scroll down. You will see my pretty picture there. (SQEEE)