Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Going it Alone

Lately I’ve been thinking about my bittersweet success as a self-publisher. Writing the book certainly took some doing—years of it, I’m afraid, and prepping it for publication was no simple matter, but beyond a doubt, the most difficult of all the tasks has been trying to get my name (and book) in front of potential readers. Marketing is key in book sales, and it’s tough to go it alone. It’s not enough to get your book in the door at Barnes & Noble, Waldenbooks or Amazon.com; you have to find a way for readers to actually look at it.

The reviews my debut novel has garnered have been critical to the level of success I have achieved to this point, and I’m certain that they are just as critical to any continued success I might have. Knowing that, I plan to continue soliciting reviews from respectable sources. And I would like to here offer my appreciation to the publications and web sites that willingly accept a self-published manuscript/novel—because believe me, not all of them do. I suppose I understand their reasoning—they don’t want to spend time reviewing something that might not have been worthy of publication. But at the same time, if the author is willing to risk a bad review, shouldn’t the reviewers be courageous enough to offer it? They might actually discover a diamond in the rough.

I have a similar appreciation for publishing houses that accept manuscripts from unagented authors. While agents can certainly offer their own perspective on new authors, each of theirs is only one opinion. As an author, the task of querying a list of agents until one of them decided they’d like to take a chance on me did not seem like the best use of my time. Response time for agents runs anywhere from 2 to 12 weeks! And typically they require a personalized query letter, a synopsis (specified anywhere from 2 to 10 pages), and up to three chapters of the manuscript double-spaced. A packet like this will run you a good six dollars or more at the post office. Some savvy, environmentally conscience agencies have started accepting email queries, and I must give kudos for them for their willingness to change.

Now if I’d just get busy and market and sell my “warehouse” of books, I might just try and search for an agent myself and save myself considerable trouble…

1 comment:

CG said...

Go Girl! I am envious of your time, talent, and energy, and I am anxiously waiting for the next publication.