I am way behind on my reading because funny enough, I’ve been writing….a lot. In fact, next week I will begin the journey of self-publishing my first book Aberration, and God willing, by the end of the year finish my second (name to be revealed shortly).
I am incredibly proud of my growth from book 1 to book 2, not just in genre, but style, and I am looking forward to where that growth takes me in book 3. For me, writing is telling a story – a story that slams into me in the middle of the day or while driving my car. A story that despite shaking it off, is persistent, waking me in the middle of the night, begging its characters to have a name and a face.
I’m nervous, and excited, and a bit scared truthfully. I’ve loved these characters from the moment they were born and found it hard to let them go when the bittersweet words “The End” came. But I had to let them go in hopes others would get to know them and love them too.
I shared initially with family and friends, and that feedback was mixed: some loved it, some hated it. And after reworking a bit, I began submitting to lit agents, that feedback also mixed: some liked, some passed, and a few requested manuscripts for review that are still in queue waiting to be read (per my last check). Some might say that was success in itself, getting a query letter read by an agent after hearing some of the query letter horror stories that are out there. But being a PR person by day, what good would I be if I couldn’t write a strong pitch letter selling my own product after having done it for others for over 15 years?
Perhaps the most important learning from that process was the overall feedback. Could I write, yes. Did the story work, sure. But were those readers my target audience, was their feedback helpful, or could they share with others in my target audience? Hmmm…that I did not know.
It took a huge leap of faith on my part to decide to self publish my first book. But after following Book Baby the past few months, a digital distributor of eBooks from independent authors, poets, memoirists, and publishers, I’ve decided it’s a great avenue for me – its inspiring interview with lit agent Michael Larsen last week on the Book Baby blog, sealing my decision.
In the interview BookBaby President Brian Felsen discusses the value of self publishing with the Larsen-Pomada agent who highlights the value it can offer to writers, not just as a way to reach an audience but find your audience. In today’s world where anyone can write, the various forms of publishing – from blogs to yes, even Twitter – have changed the game in how work is distributed. Where before it was write, get published and have your marketing team market your work towards a specific audience, writers today must almost work backwards in finding, providing relevance and securing popularity among an specific audience, before an agent might think about representing your work. To some that may sound exhausting. But to me, it sounds pretty smart. Actually, I think it’s brilliant.
How many bloggers out there have found incredible success reaching thousands of readers a day with their voice? And how many of those bloggers have also found themselves go on and become celebrated writers after successfully speaking to and sharing their voice with readers – their readers. Well, I don’t know the exact number, but it’s a lot.
And that’s my dream, to share my voice with others.
But while I still dream my words will reach millions, the way in which I think it may has shifted and I’m ok with that. Instead of lining the shelves of my local bookstore (actually, a now non-existent bookstore) my stories might be read by someone on their tablet, e-reader, or even smartphone. And instead of it being a reader in one city, it could be readers around the world which is in one, hyphenated word, mind-blowing
I can’t wait to begin this next journey and will be sure to share with all of you where it takes me. If an agent discovers me then who knows, maybe one day my books will line a bookstore. And if they do, grab a copy and let me know you read this blog post and remembered me way back when. 😉
Video: Book Baby Interview with Literary Agent Michael Larsen