Warning – Stories of Heartbreak Ahead
Writing will keep you alive, but publishing will break your heart. Let me tell you why you have to learn to endure, as any good heroine must. And how to self-publish like a heroine.
When you begin writing a book you intend to publish, you’re entering a tumultuous relationship. Heartbreak dead ahead, and you’re barreling forward at 90. Any author who tells you otherwise is either Cinderella (go, Cin!) or trying to be supportive–and that kind of support will damage you.
After you break your heart on the manuscript itself, with the help of early readers, editors, and your own soul-deep revisions, there will be the querying. Let me elaborate on the hell of querying, and the other hells of publishing. In future articles, I’ll give you tips on turning those hells into heaven.
Querying Hell 101.
You slave over a manuscript, per the above process. Then you slave over a query letter, with the help of your writing community, books and podcasts on writing queries, and feedback from early agent queries that help you refine the pitch for your story. You run it through 200-300 agents. You either snag one, pop the champagne and jump up and down, certain of success — and hopefully your agent will get you a deal. Or you don’t get and agent, and then must endur the heartbreak of deciding what to do with this beautiful manuscript. You kept faith in it, right? Then skip to Self-publishing Hell 101.
Submission Hell 101.
You thought getting an agent was heartbreaking? Try having your book go on submission. Wait — I thought once I got a good agent, I was guaranteed to get a publishing deal. Wrong. Even a top agent can’t guarantee you a deal. The heartbreak of having a book fail to find a publisher is even harder than the heartbreak of agent rejections. But you may get a satisfactory deal, and you can skip the rest of this article.
Self-Publishing Hell 101.
This is the part you were probably waiting for. Why heartbreak if you go down this lane? At first, it’s just as heady as snagging a deal.
Your book will be out there! People will buy and read it!! Readers will hopefully say nice things on those Amazon reviews (the only ones that matter). Just a few small details to manage first.
** Finding a good copy editor at an affordable price. Oops! None are affordable. You dig deeper and eliminate a weekend getaway from your budget.
** Writing a description of your book for its Amazon page, and picking categories for it. Wait! There are how many categories under Fiction in Amazon?
** Hiring a good and affordable cover designer. Another Oops! moment. Well, there goes the vacation. Maybe you’ll do a staycation this year.
** Promotions — what, you have to pay that much? And there are how many ways to promote a book?
Welcome to Self-Publishing!
The good news about all this bad news is that with the complexity of choices comes great control. Your book’s future is in your hands. And there’s a lot to learn! Depending on your inclination, it can be an exciting adventure. If you’re up for the journey, stay tuned for Part 2.