Last week I confessed — I mean, posted — that this year I was going to experiment on an Indie self-publicating adventure. Here is my update.
I chose to start with a middle-grade Michigan historical fiction which I wrote three years ago. I figured this type of book might be easiest for me to personally market, living in Michigan and all. The story had gone through my critique group and others before sitting at one publishing house for 16 months, from where I’d earlier received “the call” from the editor; well, except that even though “the entire editorial staff loves it,” it had go through the acquisitions group. This editor later informed me via email that one man in the group convinced the rest that historical fiction doesn’t make any money, so they dropped my story. (Visit a flash from my past with me face down in the dirt swearing I’d never write another word again for my entire life. Just take me now, Lord.)
However, I figured if several editors had already given their stamp of approval to the storyline, that it might be a nice place to start with self-publishing. AND, since a friend’s agent offered to help her self-publish if she wanted, I figured this route is no longer the taboo it once was even a couple years ago.
So this past week I set up an account with a POD; spent some time surfing over their community forums to get a feel for it; uploaded the book title; got an ISBN; spent about seven hours on the front pages (title page, dedication, acknowledgements, copyright, disclaimer, table of contents); did a quick revision changing all my underlined words to italicized ones; and finally uploading it. Now I’m waiting on two things: 1) my fabulous illustrator to send me samples of the cover; and 2) a follow-up from a traditional editor, whom I only remembered after starting this process, that he still had my manuscript. This manuscript. It was easy to forget that fact with eight months silently passing since I sent it to him. And I do appreciate editors’ busy-ness and feeling of being overwhelmed. Thank you, all you editors, for all you do. I do not envy your job. My quick inquiry of status to this particular very sweet editor, came back the next day with a simple, “Sorry to be so slow. Still on the pile.”
I think I would have preferred a “Sandy who?” response.
Switching gears, I followed the same process as above with another book I’d revised and rewritten more times than anyone should have to do in a lifetime. It’s not a Michigan historical fiction. It’s a middle grade fantasy. I actually had an agent send me a contract for this story 20 years ago, but when she told me not to contact a lawyer — I think I was her very first client — I did, and she dropped me, saying she was no longer interested. There were several other odd and unprofessional things about this one-page on letter-head contract. BUT, since someone liked it once upon a time, and since I recently (a couple of years ago) revised the story yet again, I choose to try that story with my new POD. I’m now waiting on the cover for that one, too. (No worries, no hurries, sweet illustrator. Really.)
And that, dear readers, was my writing adventure for this past week.
Thinking forward while I wait — there are always projects on backburners — my writing goal for this coming week is to work through the plot and write more raw writing on the sequel to the historic fiction story mentioned above. Two years ago I vomited out the tale during a NaNoWriMo. It’s nowhere close to even going through a critique group at this point, except chapter by chapter each month. We’ll see how the muses strike me this week. So far this morning, I’ve rearranged my chapters and scenes several times, and added two new scenes. Back to work.