Breakthroughs and Eating Words

Happy Saturday, friends! It’s going to be a quiet one for me–nowhere to go and nothing I have to get done. I’m excited. I might even take a nap!

I’ve done a lot of thinking lately about my work, and my post last week hinted towards some things. Besides letting go of works that aren’t, well, working, I’m learning to say “never say never.”

A couple years ago, I had the opportunity to have a lunch lecture with Steve Berry, one of my favorite authors. He answered a question about how many rejections he’d gotten before he got a yes. He answered the question, but he also went off on a tangent about self-publishing. He was very anti-self publishing, calling it the instant gratification way. That anyone could just throw something out there looking to make a quick buck.

Unfortunately, I ate it up. I believed every word, and I decided then and there I would never self-publish, I would put myself through the agony of querying and getting rejection after rejection after rejection.

Why would I want that? Writing makes me happy, it shouldn’t make me miserable. I enjoy it.

Looking back on it, what he said and the way he said it was incredibly pretentious. He was able to get a book deal, and that’s great–it takes a lot of hard work to query and get published. The work self-published authors put in shouldn’t be discredited, either. They are their own marketing team, taskmaster, and sometimes editor and cover artist.

I’ve learned a lot about the publishing industry since that lunch. Speaking to actual self-published authors and learning why they went that route instead of querying made me think. One aspect I’m concerned about is control over my work.

Steve probably gets more creative control than most traditionally published authors. He’s made his publisher a lot of money–he’s earned it. By no means am I saying he hasn’t. But finding out they could change my book title, give me no say in my cover design, and even market my book completely different from what I intend? I’m not ok with that.

Will it be more work? Absolutely. Will I get frustrated and want to give up? Almost certainly. But this is my work. Mine. My story to tell. I’m going to tell it how I want.

All that said, I have exciting news! I’m teaming up with the fabulous Charlie Knight of Charlie Knight Writes as my editor! Charlie and I are going to begin our work together in March of next year, and I couldn’t be more excited. They’ll help me give my manuscript the TLC it really needs. I’m one step closer to sharing Swanpoint with all of you.

And now, it’s time to get to work!

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