Tuesday, April 17, 2012

O - Options

I went into a bookstore the other day for the first time in forever.

As you can imagine, the books sold were in French. It’s hard to find books in English around here besides a one-shelf section in most big stores.  There’s no such thing as a Barnes & Noble in France. At least, none that I’ve seen.

But while perusing the cluttered independent bookstore, I did come across titles of books I recognized and had read in English.  Authors that I’ve come to know through the blogosphere who were lucky enough to have the rights to their books bought up by French publishers.

But instead of feeling at home amongst one of my most favorite objects and pastimes I felt...defeated. It’s the kind of defeat that comes from battling for so long and hard entering a place where your dreams are there staring you in the face – unobtainable and out of reach.  Will my book ever be sold in a store like this?  Will I ever succeed?

I know I have options and I’m weighing them carefully.  I watched a documentary last night with my husband and one of the catch phrases spoke to me.  ‘There are those who know, and those who do.’ 

I know what I have to do.

But I’m not sure when I’ll have what it takes. Some make self-publishing look so easy. But it’s not. It’s not easy to pull yourself together and give everything you have.  No excuses.  No rejection letters. No agent or editor, publisher or marketing director to blame if you don’t claim success. 

It’s just you – the work you put it into your book, your cover, and your promotion that determines whether you make it or not. Talk about pressure. But, at least today, we have options.  Which is more than most aspiring authors could have said ten years ago.  

17 comments:

Natalie Aguirre said...

So true we all have options. And we all need to do what's right for us. There's a lot of resources out there for you if you do decide to self publish. Remember, there's no right or wrong. Just what's best for you. Try to use that knowledge to not get discourages.

Old Kitty said...

One day lovely Katie!! Your books will grace many a bookshelves in all sorts of languages too! Yay!!

Take care
x

Matthew MacNish said...

That's a great point, Katie. Having options at all is much more freedom than writers had even not so long ago.

stu said...

The thing with the self publication is not so much the publication as the distribution and marketing, but you end up doing a lot of that with some smaller publisers anyway.

Laura Pauling said...

I have those days too. I can say that self publishing doesn't take away those days of discouragement. But it has given me a tremendous feeling of moving forward.

But you're right. It is a lot of work. But you've also got a great platform and a ton of followers. You could think about a small press because they'd take care of the scary side of it like editing, formatting and cover design and you'd just have to focus on the marketing. That might be a good place to start.

or just wait until you know for sure what to do. Nothing wrong with that either!

Jennifer Hoffine said...

A lot of pressure is on the writer with big publishers too...they'll let you sink or swim on your own then support you more once you're afloat. The payoff may be bigger but still often just as hard won as the self-publishing route.

Either way, options are definitely a good thing:)

Tonja said...

I wonder if self-publishing is as easy as it sounds on the surface. It involves a lot of work that does not include writing fiction (the thing we all presumably want to do). You seem like you have a great presence here - you would probably do quite well with self-publishing.

Annalisa Crawford said...

I do the same thing in bookshops. I walk around with an it-might-be-me look on my face. I'm sure the booksellers recognise the disenchanted authors amongst their customers - it would be nice if they gave me a free hot choc to empathise :-)

Tracy Makara said...

I had a difficult time in commenting to your post today, because I understand it all too well. You make a good point about having options now which weren't available before. :)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Katie, whatever path you take, you know you'll have a mass of bloggers who will help!

Botanist said...

That feeling in the bookstore spoke to me. I haven't felt like that, not yet, but maybe because you're farther down the road than I am just yet. Regardless, my dream is still to see my book on shelves in bookshops, so I can empathize.

One day, Katie, one day...

Marta Szemik said...

Having Options is better than not having them, right? The distinction between self-publication and traditional is getting smaller and smaller. Both need lots of work with promotion from the author. The most important is that you do research. You'll get a lot of support from other bloggers, that's for sure!

Carrie-Anne said...

I'm glad writers have more options nowadays. I've considered e-publishing for my superlong sagas, but I'd love to have them traditionally published and prove to naysayers that books over a certain length really CAN get agent attention and be popular if you target the right agents and write a good query letter (with word count left out). I have to remember I've been seriously writing a lot longer than many of the people being published today, and just deferred my dream of publication for an obscene amount of years. I'm interested in being a writer for all time, like Shakespeare, not someone who has commercial success for a few years and then ends up in the bargain bin.

nutschell said...

Don't give up just yet. YA author Lauren Kate once told me, "Never Give Up, it only takes one person to say yes.".
Nutschell
www.thewritingnut.com
Happy A-Zing!

M.J. Fifield said...

It's very true that we all have options. It sounds like I'm on the same road as you, just trying to figure out which path to take.

Jay Noel said...

The quality of self published works is getting better and better everyday. Nothing wrong with wanting to be a part of that!

I've thought about self publishing some stuff outside of my contract. Just to get it out there.

But you're right, lots of pressure. But it might be the best avenue for you.

Cherie Reich said...

The options are one of the best things about being a writer nowadays. :)

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