Taking the Plunge…Why Haven’t I? by Cassiel Knight
Posted by SeeJanePublish
I follow a lot of agency blogs in my quest for an agent. One of the blogs I follow with daily diligence is by Meredith Barnes, an associate agent at Lowenstein Associates. She’s also a Digital Strategist (cool title!) and Subsidiary Rights Manager. I first learned about her when she worked with Janet Reid at FinePrint Literary Management. When Ms. Barnes started blogging, I followed her there. Her blog posts are always chock full of information, especially about social media (um, digital strategizing?). You can find her at La Vie en Prose.
The other day, she posted about Self-Publishing vs. Traditional Publishing, and I got to thinking about what she and some of the commenter’s noted. I don’t disagree with her post. The main thing that got me thinking about my own career is this:
Of course, some self-published authors get leveraged into traditional deals with publishers, but these are few and far between…There is about a 1% chance that your self-publishing experience will look anything like John Locke’s.
If you’re hoping to be published traditionally, the best way to get there is traditionally. Query agents. Revise for agents. Attend conferences. Do research. Get an Agent. Get a Book Deal.
I agree that people going into self-publishing with the thought to be the next Hocking, Locke (and others), to land that coveted agent and traditional publishing contract are looking at self-publishing through rose-colored glasses and truly have no idea what’s expected to succeed.
However, in thinking about the reasons I’ve heard people decide to self-publish, and exploring why I have considered it myself, I believe there are those who simply self-publish because traditional publishing is a broken record of no and no and no and no – and you get the point.
Maybe some (a lot?) authors are submitting before they should which is why they are receiving ‘nos’, but I suspect a larger percentage just haven’t been able to nail the “IT Factor” for the right agent. Phrase borrowed with full credit to Lori Dillon at The Otherworld Diner. An aside, check out her IT Factor posts. She’s very good and seems to really nail why a story might/might not have been picked up.
For the last three years, I’ve spent a lot of time (more than 80% of my author time) pursuing elusive agents. I get great responses, requests for fulls but then….nothing. Oh, some feedback but nothing I can sink my teeth into as to why I’m not getting represented. I’m beginning to believe agents just don’t get my voice. Editors do. Because I’ve sold to Samhain and am doing well and have received revise and submits from two small press publishers. So, readers and editors get my voice. This is why I’m considering self-publishing. Because as much as I’d love an agent and to be published with one of the big 6, I’m getting tired of the “not for me” or “I didn’t love it enough” responses, or worse, the increasingly common response of no means no. I keep hearing the industry is tougher for agents (yes, from repped friends). However, it sure hasn’t seemed to make it any easier to break in. No, this isn’t a post about sour grapes. I’m happy with the two contracts with Samhain and a new one with Lyrical Press.
It’s about a realization. A realization that with self-publishing, I don’t HAVE to keep beating my head against the proverbial traditional publishing world which includes agents. I get to make that choice. I’m looking for an agent because I want one. Because I recognize their value. However, maybe having one isn’t in the cards. I won’t say I’d be okay with that, but I get it.
A year and a half ago, I would never have considered e-publishing much less self-publishing. That being said, I’m not quite ready to leap into self-publishing (I so admire those that have and I’m praying for your success).
I’m not quite ready to deal with the downside of self-publishing – the fact that I’d have to do 100% of the marketing. With Samhain and Lyrical, I have to do something. More like 60%. Some self-published authors do this quite well and have the energy to do so. At this point, that’s not me. However, as I gain more experience in marketing with my publishers, who knows, self-publishing could be just around the corner.
As an author, have you considered self-publishing? Why or why not? If yes, did you and how’s it going?
As a reader, what do you think about self-publishing? Have you read any self-published authors? (and note that two of the Janes’ – Su and Nancy are both self-published. :-D)
All of these delightful cartoons used with permission from Debbie Ridpath Ohi at Inkygirl.com. Aren’t they great? She has more-check them out.