Adventures In Publishing Part II — Agent, Agent Where Art Thou? Eh, Screw It — Self-Publishing!

Adventures In Publishing Part II -- Agent, Agent Where Art Thou? Eh, Screw It -- Self-Publishing!
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Twilight of Lanar’ya is now on sale in paperback (CreateSpace and Amazon) and eBook (Smashwords and Amazon).

Finishing Twilight of Lanar’ya took me about three months total from start to completion. So, by August 2011, I had a fairly final draft ready. I just needed to fine tune a few areas of it and then I’d be ready to publish. So, I did what all writers who don’t know better do.

I started looking for an agent. (Even Neil Gaiman thinks it’s a bit of a waste of time).

If I knew then what I know now, I’d have saved myself the hassle and published a hell of a lot sooner. But, I was hung up on going the traditional route. I felt confident in my work and knew that the market had matured a good bit. I felt that I was easily better than some of the junk filling up bookshelves (Twilight, anyone?) and that I was on par with other big author’s earliest works. Certainly my writing had benefited from reading a lot. I don’t have the hubris to say I’m as good as Terry Goodkind or Terry Brooks but I do think I’m at least as good as some of the early stuff from Dragonlance (back when the world of Krynn was still being formed and the authors kept writing themselves into corners).

I sent Twilight of Lanar’ya to about fifty different agents. I heard back from about half of them. Mostly rejections, of course, because publishers are iffy about taking on new talent with it being so easy to self-publish and to distribute online. Plenty of bookstores and closing up shop for lack of customers and inability to compete against Amazon. Almost all the rejections I had acknowledged that my book was 1) well-written, 2) interesting, and 3) had potential but it’s gotten damned hard to sell a trilogy from a new name and, as I said, publishers are becoming very risk averse.

I did hear back a couple of tentative offers but nothing that I really liked on follow-up. Basically, if I was going to have to do all the marketing and negotiate the deals with bookstores myself and the publisher was just going to print a run and then charge me for it, why not just self-publish instead? At least with a print-on-demand service, I don’t have to worry about a publishing house playing games with the numbers until I have to take them to court to get my royalties the way Peter Jackson had to take New Line to court to get paid for The Fellowship of the Ring (which, according to Movie Industry Magic Math, did rather poorly). Perhaps big publishing houses don’t do this, but then, if I’m going to be doing all the footwork myself with no help, why should I get substantially less money than I would if I went indie?

So, I started looking into self-publishing.

My friend and fellow author, Daniel A. Kaine, had self-published his book, Daeva: Dawn of Darkness and so I went to him for advice. He gave me a few pointers and so off I went.

Now, lest anyone think self-publishing is easy, let me be blunt and say it’s not. Self-publishing is definitely not for the faint of heart. Self-publishing requires that you be your own editor, your own proofreader, your own marketing department, and your own format specialist. It requires that you study the market and the trends and that you set your prices according to what the cost of print-on-demand for your work is and how much of a royalty you need. A few people have gotten fantastically wealthy from self-publishing but, for the most part, the vast majority of us will not be able to quit our day jobs.

So, having decided to self-publish, I had climbed one mountain only to find a whole range of the things in front of me…

Check back in a few days for Part III of this saga — Why Formatting Is The Bane Of My Existence.

Twilight of Lanar’ya is now on sale in paperback (CreateSpace and Amazon) and eBook (Smashwords and Amazon).

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