I am a proud self-published author. I’ve been one, for the past four years. It’s been good, bad, and a little ugly at times. I said to myself that I would give the self -publishing thing a try, before approaching the big guns this year (Publishers, for those that don’t know). However, already 2 months into submitting my work, I am already asking myself: WHY?
For those who have never submitted to agents or publishers before, allow me to give you a little insight into just how tricky the submission route is. 1) Finish your novel to a good standard (This is a no brainer, for anything you do). 2) Write up a good synopsis of one or two pages. It really depends on the agent (Because that’s the way it is. Don’t ask why). 3) Put together a query and a cover letter. Yes there’s a very big difference between the two. Depending on the sources, you may get the right or the wrong advice (Because Fake news and all).
There is nothing quite like the feeling of a reader, leaving a beautiful and honest review – many authors can attest to that.
Once that’s done, you’re ready to submit to the horde of agents, ready to read your material. Oh, what’s this? Agent “A” wants just the first three chapters of your work, in the body of the email… no attachments? “Ok… sure”. Agent “B” would like just the first chapter only, but would prefer you have knowledge of their preferred books? “Uh… ok” (Because I am really supposed to know about the thousands of agents that I am expected to submit my work to?) Agent “C” Prefers the first fifty pages of your novel, but you’re expected to wait a good twelve weeks for a response – if you’re successful that is (Because… we love waiting.)
Throughout this interesting experience, I reminded myself of my own accomplishments, pushing my novels to reach that one special reader, who appreciated my work.
This probably sounds like a rant, but in fact it’s not. It’s an unfortunate reality, which leads many of us to go it alone. The reason? Why should we wait six to twelve weeks, hoping for a response that may or may never come? Why should we subject ourselves to stalk an agent’s likes and dislikes, in hopes they will notice our work, when thousands of other writers are most likely doing the same? Throughout this interesting experience, I reminded myself of my own accomplishments, pushing my novels to reach that one special reader, who appreciates my work.
There is nothing quite like the feeling of a reader, leaving a beautiful and honest review – many authors can attest to that. Granted, the power of a publisher allows for stronger marketing to reach more readers, but what is a writer to do, when expected to wait for weeks and months for that “lucky break?”
Personally, I am not yet ready to give up on submitting to the big agents. In fact, many of my rejection letters have been very encouraging and supportive. However I can honestly and truly see: why we decide to go it alone. Yes, we may not have the backing and support a publisher brings, but we retain a certain dignity and pride of being in control of our work. If you decide to go the traditional route, good luck and do your best. If you decide to go the self-publishing route, then that’s fine too.
Whatever you decide to do, always be proud of your work.
Till next time
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(Image by Jamestaylor.me