Recently I had the privilege of speaking to a group of writers at the Charlotte Write To Publish Group. They invited me to talk about my experience acquiring an agent, so I gladly stepped up to the plate and gave them the full monty. I traced my humble publishing history from Sunday School supplements to write-for-hire curriculum, to adult poetry, to my yet-to-be-published YA novel, CRAZY.
I talked about the time and money I have poured into professional critiques, workshops, and conferences to fine tune my manuscript. I described my 4-month quest to snag an agent. I detailed the grueling year-and-a-half of rejections, close-calls, near misses, agonizing waiting and elevated blood pressure. And I bravely divulged that my agent and I have come to the recent conclusion that I should launch my own search targeting small, independent presses who do NOT wish to see an agented piece of work. The writers listened politely and showered me with intelligent questions in the end.
Then I sat back and listened to them share their stories, and one after another they unveiled their self-publishing or subsidy publishing journeys. Someone passed around a shiny finished product, another shared pieces of his glowing Kirkus reviews, and yet another outlined the ease and efficiency of getting her book edited and uploaded. I listened politely, asked intelligent questions, and left with my head spinning.
This morning I woke up with a gross WHY headache. Why am I doing this to myself when I could take half the money I was going to spend for yet another workshop, go to CreateSpace.com and within hours be on my way to published bliss? In fact, with a little design savvy I could click my manuscript into the published realm before dinner tonight without spending a pretty penny. Why not?
Fellow writers who have gone this route, please hear me. I am not bashing you, your work, or the choices you have made. Quite the contrary, for the first time in my writing career, I am seriously asking myself why not?
My head is in a muddle, but I’d love to hear from clear thinkers out there on either side of this slippery slope.