Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Self Publishing - what to do?

Well the book was written. Now what?  Oh the advice that came in was overwhelming and contradictory.  I’d re-read the great work – I'd considered the man hours involved, not just mine but those of my friends who had read, corrected, edited and commented.  The trees destroyed in the copying of different drafts, electricity used to power the computer.  Those 250 pages were the result, so then what to do with it?

Publish of course!  Isn’t that what we all want having put pen to paper – well finger to keyboard.  Print and go straight to Hollywood.  Another blockbuster. Another millionaire.

Back in the real world, on this planet, the doubts set in.  Publish, who would want to do so? I wrote it so it can’t be worth publishing, can it?  I re-read it again; I had by then re-read the dratted thing so often I could quote it word for word.  Well I would have been able to if I hadn’t  kept changing things.  I had to confess I liked the story.  Should I? Should I have enjoyed writing it so much?  I felt maybe I was fooling myself.  Not everyone liked it, my best friend, of oh I have lost count of how many decades, has read it almost as many times as I had and she did not like it. The subject matter interested her not at all, my style of writing grates on her nerves, she had been editing it for me and there was nothing about the book she liked, which actually made her a very good editor  Equally other friends who had been helping with the editing did like it.

I made a decision; I would try and get it out there. So then all the problems really began.  I  short listed the agencies who might be interested.  The first and most major  of stumbling blocks.  I had not written a ‘genre specific’ story.  I had just wrote a story.  I had drawn on interests and experiences of my own, as we are all advised to do.  Influences from other authors? Probably, I had been reading hungrily for over half a century.  My reading tastes were catholic and my interests and experiences were wide ranging.

Was my story science fiction?  Many said yes because it is set in the future and amongst other things deals with genetic manipulation.  I wasn't so sure , where were the space flights!  It certainly wasn't science fantasy - not a single dragon in sight!  My story was a romance but no bodice ripper.  I liked to think it is General Fiction but those agents are eagle eyed on time periods and if it isn’t set in contemporary life, General Fiction it is not.  I liked to think it was a little bit historical as it was looking backwards from 150 years in the future to 100 years in the future, but if it’s ahead of our times it is not historical. Ah well it was worth a try.

I put it on hold for a few weeks while I read novels set in the future.  I read Margaret Attwood, Ballard  and Maggie Gee amongst many in a whole long list.  They came into General Fiction as well as being Science Fiction, I could, I thought, slot myself in with them.  Who did think I was kidding? An unknown author trying to nestle in with the greats - I don’t think so.  Should I rework my story to fit in?  I have never been easy with fitting in.  So should I go it alone?


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  1. Go for it, no point in changing it unless or until you know no one wants it as it is.

  2. Hi Alberta

    This is all about self-belief. Sci-fi isn't all about space flight and Star Wars. At its most altruistic, sci-fi speculates on the future of mankind and genetic manipulation slots right into it.

    You can self-pulbish for nothing with lulu, then market like hell. Sell a couple of thousand copies in a month or two and those agents/publishers who didn't want to know, will be knocking on your front door waving their cheque books.

    You could also go the e-route. Smashwords don't charge a penny for putting your book out in all e-formats.

    The real question you need to ask is do you believe in your writing and your book to go for it.

    Reading your post, I guess you do.

    Whatever you decide, let me wish you the best of luck