As I'm doing the final edits on my MS, and facing the dread of writing a query letter, I'm starting to wonder what's in store for me after that? I can't know for sure--no one can, I'm aware of this...but in the best of/worst of situations what should I expect for the future of these 77,000+ words that have so much of my heart & soul--my life poured into them?
In the best of scenarios I would get snapped up immediately by a wonderful agent who is totally excited about my MS. S/he would get my book straight into the hands of a major publishing house and ink me a 7-figure deal.
In the worst of scenarios--or at least one of the endless worst-case outcomes--I would be stuck in a steady cycle of submitting my query letters and only getting form rejections as feedback.
I am not naive enough to assume either scenario will apply to me, although I accept they are at least within the realm of possibility. But even somewhere in between those points on the spectrum--maybe a series of queries that eventually attracts an agent who sells my book for a respectable figure--still leaves me feeling a little left out in the cold.
I have no way of knowing how long I'll be waiting to see if my dream of having my book in print and being able to share it with others will ever happen. I've heard the horror & success stories and neither were helpful. My biggest sticking point has been that once I achieve the miracle of getting a book deal (if ever), how much am I giving up in the process? How much control over something I worked so hard on for so long do I retain? This led me to look into self-publishing.
I hate to admit until recently I was one of those people who bought into the stereotypes about self-publishing. Anyone who did that was either tired of being rejected by agents & editors, or too impatient to wait for a book deal. I never viewed it in a negative light, I was just 100% convinced it was not for me.
Now I'm not so sure.
I researched POD's, including Lightning Source & Createspace. I bought some books on indie publishing and read several blog posts. 2 things stood out for me:
---It doesn't take as much $$$ to get started as I'd thought, but it does take a major amount of hard work.
---Writers are very polarized on this issue.
Some people are not only hooked into the negative stereotyping, but they cling tightly to it--as if the thought of self-pubbing is scary to them. It blew my mind reading comments saying that self-publishers were "taking the easy way" or just another victim of the vanity presses.
I am still wobbling back and forth on the fence right now on whether I want to forge ahead with the querying and hope for a agent and book deal, with possibly some self-pubbed titles in my future...or whether I want to take charge and get my book out there myself without having ever licked the seal or pressed the send button on a query letter.
If I did publish myself and got a great response, it could be considered a trial run and may attract the attention of an agent or editor. But if it wasn't successful, it would be close to impossible to ever get it into the hands of an agent without extreme rework-age--if not a complete overhaul.
But that just leads me back to being confused, because if my book fails after being self-pubbed, then it's highly likely to have been rejected by agents...putting me in the exact same position! =P
So what do I do? The most important thing to me--the entire reason why I write is for the enjoyment of the process, but also to get my story out to others in hopes that they will enjoy reading it as much as I did writing it. =)
One thing is for sure, no matter which side of the indie/trade publishing fence you fall on--self publishing is growing in popularity and declining in stigma. Not sure how long it will take, but I believe POD's & e-books will become a staple in the publishing industry.