Karma? Fate? Fickle luck? Good fortune?
These are all theories on how things happen to us, the common man. It’s a debate that has stormed across the ages, and will never have a resolution. We’ll all stumble along, damning fate whenever we trip, and thanking our good luck when we shine.
So it is with my start in writing. Going traditional was simply dumb luck. Or one of those other choices. See, I never ached to have my books read. It isn’t something I yearned for over the last 54 years. But over those years, I was looking for a way to create. Playing the trumpet, singing, even tried my hand at genealogy. (That last isn’t quite up there in the creation scale, but trust me, there’s a lot of satisfaction in it.) Nothing seemed to do the trick. So, one day I just decided to try writing. That was a year ago. Didn’t know crappola about writing, publishing, or any of the rest. (Still don’t know too much.) But what I did discover was that it’s fun. Just plain ol’ fun. And so I wrote. And wrote. And wrote some more. And after four months, I had a novel. I edited the snot out of it, lost sleep for a few days, and finally picked three publishers to which I would submit.
Now, unlike many of you who might be reading this, I hadn’t gone through the rejection thing. I’d heard the nightmares, of course, and had even read Stephen King’s account of his start, and how many rejection chits he’d received before he began his decades-long romance with the literary world. (That work is entitled “On Writing”, and I’d highly recommend it to anyone wishing to gain a bit of perspective.) So, I waited. The first rejection came back pretty fast. They were a blood and gore type site, and my story ain’t that. Fair enough. The second one was down my alley, and took my work. But when I wrote them a courtesy letter, telling them I’d also submitted to another publisher, they slid a rejection back down the tube faster than a Nolan Ryan fast ball. So, one remained. And I resolved that, given all the success stories I’d heard over the weeks about publishing “indie”, if I was rejected again, I’d go it alone. Even downloaded software to convert my story over to mobi. Had a cover artist picked out. The works. Then the letter came.
And all that stuff about going it on my own flew out the window like it was chasing that Nolan zinger. So, now I have a contract, my work will be out in a few weeks, and here I sit, acting like I know something and spouting this and that.
Now, had I been rejected and gone indie, some things would be different. I’d be hustling to get my book converted (not too terribly difficult, and there are sites out there that will do it for a fee), get my cover done (ditto), and slap my book up on Amazon, Barnes& Noble, and Smashwords. I likely would have also gone to Createspace and done the print side. Then would have come the marketing. The Twitter, blogging, hob-knobbing, asking for reviews, asking for guest blogs, asking for author interviews…to be short, my next few months would be spent asking for something, mainly publicity. And you know what?
Two things are what.
Number one, that would be perfectly ok, because if you’re writing it, and believing it’s good, then you damned well better be prepared to TELL folks it’s good.
Number two, it’s absolutely no different when you publish traditionally.
Well, it’s a little different. My publisher IS setting up many of those afore-mentioned interviews, guest blogs, and so forth. But I’ll still have to work my butt off. I’m good with that. He goes to bat for me. He does that because he likes my book…and because when my book makes money, so does he. The down side to this is he has complete control over where and when my book gets published. I signed a contract saying so. A lot of folks have a problem with that, and I have to admit, it gave me pause. But after emailing quite a bit with the man in charge (His name is Tim C. Taylor), I felt very comfortable indeed with my choice. Now my book is due out in a little while under the Greyhart Publishing logo, and I’m a very happy boy.
So, you ask, what’s the bottom line? It’s simply this. We all do what works for us. Indie works. So does traditional. Will I ever go indie, if Tim doesn’t like something I do, or if it’s in a genre that doesn’t interest him? Absolutely. Do I have a bit less control since someone else holds the reins? Yeah, probably. But, I don’t care. My work load for getting my book out there is now far less, I can devote more time to writing, and it’s all good. Very good. So, see, it’s what is right at that moment, and for your particular situation. There is no right and wrong, no good and evil (except in our work). Both beasts can result in success, both in failure. That, in the end, depends on you.
Now, stop reading this article and go write something.