Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Choice is Made

Ever since I started drafting the Agent M series, my one dream would be that I would walk across my college campus and see dozens of those books being enjoyed by my peers.  The only way I thought I could achieve that goal would be by securing an agent and publisher.  Seeing my work in print and flipping through the freshly printed pages is one of the greatest triumphs all authors hope to achieve in their career.  Sadly, going through the traditional publishing route is even more difficult today than it ever was.  It would appear that getting published in today’s market is more fictitious that the stories I’ve written.

But rejoice all yee who are disheartened!  Legacy publishers are no longer required.  Thanks to the words and wisdom of the mighty Joe Konrath (check him out at A Newbie’s Guide to Publishing), there are alternate solutions available to anyone who has the time and dedication to do so.  New companies have been created to help independent (or indie as some are called) authors get their work into the hands of the masses easier than ever.

There were many pros and cons I had to dissect before choosing which venture to pursue.  Going through the Legacy publishing route has an aura of prestige that can hardly be matched.  Many of the greatest writers living today hang their author’s cap on the door of one of the famed publishing houses.  Besides that, having a publishing house and agent by your side means you already have a team of people who believe so highly in your work that they are willing to invest thousands of dollars to see it in print.

After playing out all of those scenarios in my head, looking at the cons became difficult but necessary.  Unlike the characters in fiction, happy endings and miracles are few and far between.  For starters, gaining the attention of Legacy publishers is extremely challenging.  Not doing so after a great length of time could be career breaking.  If you can’t convince a group of professionals (the ones that have been in the business for countless years) that your story is good, how will you convince the public? Of course, there are those wild success stories.  The Debt was rejected by 60 different publishers before one house took a chance on them and now it’s a best seller.  Dr. Sues, the legendary children’s author, tried his hand 27 times before finally catching a break and his work is still revered even to this day.  Truly, there are some amazing success stories in the publishing world but sadly, those happen on only the rarest of occurrences.

Self-publishing always felt like my back up plan.  I glazed over it as if it didn’t even really matter.  “Oh yea, if I can’t sell my book to these publishers then I’ll sell it on Amazon myself!”  The start up costs for self-publishing start at zero but can quickly go up to a down payment on a house (in today’s market anyways).  The trouble with self publishing is that you are completely at the will of your skills and resources in order to achieve success.  There is no team of editors to help check the spelling, grammar, and plot oversights and forget about the marketing team that will help advertize your story.  If you want any of those things to happen you are going to have to invest your time and money into making it work.  Not to mention that boorish label of being an “indie” author who apparently “couldn’t hack it” in the real publishing world (the sarcasm in that statement almost knocked me off my chair).  It’s not easy to publish a successful novel on your own even though the barriers of entry are practically non-existence.  Hell, I could copy all of my current blog posts, wrap them up in a PDF, and put it on Amazon’s shelves tomorrow.  Doing so wouldn’t guarantee sales but I could still do it.

I fought with this decision for months on end.  The more I thought about it, the more it made sense to go towards the self-publishing route.  And before anyone has any ideas, this has nothing to do with the increased royalties I would receive from publishing my own book.  I couldn’t care less about the money at this point.  I know other authors desperately struggle to keep writing and get their books out there so they can pay their bills but for me, the money is an afterthought.  I just want my story to reach out and be read by as many people as possible.  Self-publishing Agent M: Project Mabus will give me that chance.

So there you have it.  The first book of the Agent M series is going to be a self-published title.  I attest most of the credit in making this decision to Mr. Joe Konrath and his very insightful blog about the publishing industry.  Whether or not it this is a good decision can only be answered in the future.  But, when it’s all said and done, I’d rather be loved or hated than unknown.


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