It’s been a while since I talked about my self-published novel…
I’ll start this by saying that I received (yet another) rejection email from one of the agents I pitched at the conference. Those things are always horribly timed.
We’d just settled back home after a 2-day birthday extravaganza. I was curled up with a book on the patio while the girls painted and played, enjoying the last bits of weekend. Chris and I had gotten a date night which is rare (but luckily much more possible now that we’re back around grandparents who love to babysit the crazies). I was finally moving along on the newest manuscript and was considering taking some time this week to query more agents since I’d not heard back from the others yet.
I’d had a good weekend.
So, when I looked down and saw the name of the agent pop up in my emails, I just knew what it said before I even swiped to read it. I don’t like to cry in front of my kids, not for things I can’t quite explain to them, but I did. I hid behind my book, though. The one that a woman I met AT the conference wrote. I keep telling myself not to hang all of my worth on the words of these agents. Sure, they know the market, they know what publishers are looking for but at the same time… I just can’t accept the heartbreaking feeling that I am not good enough at this.
At the conference (one of the agents I pitched actually) taught a class and said how we should NOT self-publish. She even kind of rolled her eyes a tad when she said this. I sank deeper into my chair as thoughts of my own novel bursting into flames back at home. This stuck with me. It made me feel like my shitty little novel that I was so proud of, was garbage. My novel that was so much more than the words written, but the girl I was when I started it versus the woman I am today. (Not that that has any weight in the industry, it’s still a product and I am well aware of that) But, I didn’t publish it thinking it would become a best seller, I did it because it was something I felt compelled to see through.
This all started out to be a fun outlet for me, and still is 98% of the time! Which is why I come back to the idea of self-publishing again.
Why AM I doing this? What is important to me? Why am I allowing this industry to taint my relationship with writing?
I do the work, I researched to the end of Google, I went to the conference and I paid attention. I read as much as I possibly can… I try so hard and when I receive the generic email stating it “just doesn’t fit”, my spirit is chipped away. I don’t have the budget to hire editors but I did go to school for this. It’s not something I just decided to do one day.
So, yes. I cried. I shed my tears of utter disappointment and allowed myself to feel the shitty feeling. I earned that much.
Only this time, I did something else too.
I got my sorry ass up and went inside. I had new resources. I would air my humiliation out. I reached out to my writing community and requested (even more) beta readers and not just on the manuscript I pitched, but all 3 that are collecting dust on my hard drive.
I have nothing to lose at this point and I am NOT giving up.
I am fortunate to have support, even through strangers. Mustering up the wilted courage I had, gave me an editor willing to read an excerpt of one of my manuscripts. It was a ray of sunshine through the dark clouds.
A smile in the crowd that I needed in that moment.
This is all hard.
But, now I know that as much as I said I wouldn’t self-publish again… I just might. Because I’d rather sell 100 copies to the people who want to read it, than not share it at all. I never questioned myself when I did it the first time, not until an agent said I should.
Is it in vain? Yes.
But I’m not doing this for the money or notoriety. I’m doing it because I love to and it makes me happy. I love seeing my work in the hands of my friends and family. And for THAT reason, I will continue to take steps that feed my passion.
Anything that makes me feel like I did reading that email, is not worth my time. Life is too short to have the joy in my life siphoned out. There are MANY other things I DO have to beat myself up about and stress over… THIS is not one of them.
It’s MINE and I will proceed in the direction that feels right and I encourage anyone to do the same.
I will also encourage you to do your best. Self-publishing is not settling as long as you are still giving your 110% into the work and confident that your absolute best is out there. Know what your expectations are and that they are realistic.
For me, I want to see my books on my shelf. I want to have them as my reminders that I can accomplish things and there is no regret in that. The regret will be in never pushing through this feeling of defeat.
Waiting is fine. I did that.
But it’s time to move forward.