I sat back in my worn out office chair and looked at my first book debuting on Amazon. I opened the champagne, poured it into an elegant crystal flute I’d picked up at a garage sale for just this occasion, and sat there adoring my first online creation. Not that I expect to be competition for the big name writers—not yet, anyway. I had let fear of this breakthrough in my writing life divert me for too long. I was inundated from all sides by the need for platform, web site, reviews, promotion, marketing. Even if I were fortunate enough to land an agent for any of my books, a website presence is vital in today’s publishing world. When was I going to have time to write?
I have finished three adult fiction novels, a series, and am presently sending queries out to agents for consideration. I hope my books are a good fit for some agent/publisher. After spending three years writing my books, I will be diligent about making the effort. However, I am not patient enough to spend ten years looking for an agent or tough enough to emotionally recover from 125 rejections. My hat is off to all the talented authors who wrote worthy books and had the fortitude to do this before finding an agent and becoming famous. I have to wonder which of them would have tried self-publishing. At the time they had only three choices: 1) Find a publisher 2) Find an Agent; 3) Send out query letters and take the time and energy away from writing the next book.
I was the reluctant self-publishing virgin. And I was being held back by all the concerns that every other author who has considered self-publishing has: 1) it’s demeaning; 2) I’ll be labeled a publishing slut because I’m not going the traditional route; 3) I don’t know how to do it; 4) people will think I’m only a “fake” writer because almost anyone can get a book published on line; 5) I’ll have to expose myself (on social sites, anyway) and my life won’t be private anymore. Well, Yes to all of the above to some degree.
A word of comfort from a former self-publishing virgin: Self-publishing sites knock themselves out to make the process easy. And if it all seems a mystery, take it one step at a time. Call their Contact number. (Don’t worry, I’ve already asked all the dumb questions and they are generally knowledgeable and kind). There isn’t anything you can’t find out about on the internet, no question you can’t find an answer to, no directions you can’t get on line (hooray for YouTube!). Get recommendations for services such as editing, and formatting your ebook. I researched a number of formatting services on line and chose one a number of my writer friends highly recommended, ebook-form.com.
In closing I’ll say I am just at the beginning of this adventure with my first online book Crumbs from the Edge, a collection of my short stories. I’ve committed myself to this, so the trepidation of Should I or shouldn’t I? is behind me. From here on out it’s about keeping the faith and taking advantage of all the opportunities on the internet.