I often wonder why writers are in such a frenzy to publish their work. I say frenzy because that’s exactly what it feels like. That’s how I felt before I put my little novella, Cinders, out into the world, and that’s what it feels like as I visit blogs and talk to other writers. Going to my first and only writer’s conference so far was like a writer’s version of publishing-heroine. A chance to get noticed! Learn more about writing! Make important connections! Get one step closer! The tension, euphoria, and energy in the air was so thick I wasn’t sure I was going to make it through the day. I was exhausted when I got home. I was high, too, because I had the chance to meet an agent who currently had my partial of MONARCH. I thought for sure she’d request a full later because I stood in line and shook her hand and introduced myself. Yeah. No full request.
I have a friend online whom I chat with sometimes on facebook. She’s such a sweetheart. She’s also a new writer and she’s asked me a few times about self-publishing and what it entails. She’s on her first book and I finally decided to be completely honest and forthright with her. I told her to stop worrying about publishing and just finish her book. She didn’t seem upset by what I said. It’s simple advice.
Cinders is my fourth book. When I wrote my first book I would have given anything to get it out there. I think I would have chopped off my right arm if it guaranteed me a publishing contract. That was a long time ago. I didn’t make the decision to self-publish Cinders lightly, but at the same time I’m not sure I realized exactly what I was doing.
If there is one thing I can say to anyone considering publishing anything, traditionally or self, it’s this: There is no going back.
Like having a baby, you can’t send it back. In fact, it’s even more permanent than a baby! You can’t put up a book for adoption. It’s yours and it always will be. You wrote it. Even if you move on and start writing under a different name that book is still out there. Even if it’s no longer being sold or printed, even if you pull it off Amazon, people have still read it or have it on their e-readers or bookshelves. You still loved it enough at one point to put it out there.
Dorothy Howell has a guest post today up on Marilyn Meredith’s blog. It’s about knowing what you want before you publish. It’s an amazing post. You should go read it. She talks about making these very important decisions before you even finish your book. You must know what you want! I don’t regret putting Cinders out there, but because I wasn’t absolutely 100% sure of what I wanted, I start to fear for my own happiness based on sales and popularity and reviews. It’s a bad place to be for me because I want to be happy for how things are now. I’m getting back to that place, but it’s difficult.
I can’t stress enough…there is no going back, especially on your expectations. Don’t be in a hurry. Don’t get frenzied. Even if you feel like your clock is ticking, take your time and make sure that what you finally do put out there is really what you want, how you want it, and when you want it. Believe it or not, this usually means writing more than just one book, and this usually involves years of patience and work. Many of you are already sure. Many of you aren’t.Wherever you are at, whether you are going to publish traditionally, independently, or with a small publisher, step forward with caution. You don’t want to hit rocks at the bottom of that dive.