Why I chose to self-publish.
Every writer/author has their own path, and I firmly believe that path is present before birth. Each present moment in life, whether good, bad or mundane is constantly shaping us for all future moments we have yet to live. By the time our adult feet are wet with some life experiences, we have hopefully mastered the art of looking over our shoulder to remember the lessons of the past, while continuing to look ahead and applying those lessons to the future. Self-publishing isn’t something I planned on doing. Starting my own publishing company (Karyn Rae Publishing) never even crossed my mind, but when the opportunity arose, I’m grateful I took a moment to turn around and look back.
I didn’t know I wanted to be an author until my thirty-fifth birthday. I literally woke up one day and decided to write a book. I’d been searching for a particular story in other books, each time a little disappointed when finishing another book and feeling unfulfilled. As a stay-at-home-mom, I read books to escape the crying, fighting and servitude that comes with the job, so that’s the book I decided to write. The Achilles Heel won’t change your life, but it will help you escape it.
From the first chapter to publication day, The Achilles Heel took a year and a half, and I loved every moment of it. Writing from ten o’clock at night until two o’clock in the morning, I finished the first draft of my novel in six months.
Like most first time authors, I got caught up in what I thought was my final product and queried agents too early. Two agents out of New York said yes! My excitement was short-lived when they BOTH began telling me how I needed to change my story. After our first contact, one agent rethought her offer and immediately changed her mind on my story. The other agent gave me a list of things I needed to change before we could even begin. Her main complaint, switching back and forth between two separate POV’s, and the confusion it would cause the reader. Ironically, that’s the main compliment I now get from readers. I said, “Thank you, but no thank you. I’m going to pass on your representation.” Crazy right?
After tons of research, I scoured the internet for an editor, while simultaneously revising my story. I thought I’d found a great one. Here’s where the story gets interesting.
She was a published author with a publishing company, and agreed to edit my manuscript in three weeks’ time for a set fee. I spent the next four months waiting for those edits. She had not only stolen my money, but made me feel like a novice each time I questioned the status of those edits, and going as far as threatening to dump my book on the internet if I bothered her again. However, during those four months I thought my manuscript was being edited, I learned about the business of self-publishing. Today, I’m grateful to her for distracting me from my novel long enough to immerse myself in the business aspect of books.
Fortunately, she has been the only person to rip me off and everyone else- from cover designer to current editor- have been amazing. After my book was edited, I was offered representation from another publishing company, but I was already hooked on the power of self-publishing.
If you want to try and make a million bucks right out of the gate, change your story to what someone else tells you your readers want, work on a given deadline and maybe see your book in Barnes and Noble one day, then the traditional route is for you. If you are able to accept a gradual incline in book sales, make your own deadlines, put in the constant research required to understand an ever-changing billion dollar business and maybe never see your book in a chain bookstore, then self-publishing just might make you happy.
Writing a book is a crazy idea. Self-publishing is a full-time job. You aren’t just publishing a book; you’re launching a world-wide brand. If you can live with being an author as only a dream, then don’t try and become one; it’s not worth the time, money and sacrifice. But, if you have a great story, and you’re willing to fight for that story, then I say go for it!The bottom line, and something I remind myself on a daily basis, is that we are all long-shots. America was built on long-shots, so why not you and me?
Grab a copy of THE ACHILLES HEEL