I’ve decided to take a shot at traditional publishing. In the spirit of transparency, here’s a peek inside the journey, what I’ve been up to, and the reasons behind my decision to attempt to break away from self-publishing and get with a publishing company.
Traditional Publishing: Why I Want to Try It & My Journey Towards It
I have always self-published my titles. And there’s nothing wrong with self-publishing at all, in my opinion. However, I decided I would like to try something different: traditional publishing.
To summarize, this means the novel I recently finished won’t be released at my discretion on Amazon or whatever platform I see fit when I see fit and that’s that on that.
Instead, I have embarked on a rigorous journey equipped with highs and lows and much research and many notes and known unknowns to get my book published traditionally. Essentially, I want to see if my work can catch the attention of a publisher that would want to buy the rights to print, publish, and sell my book and pay me royalties from the sales.
Now, why do I want to go through this process with the end goal being relinquishing full control over something I created? For two reasons that also encompass a number of smaller reasons:
1. For the experience.
I have traveled down the alternative road before, doing everything myself and earning my full royalties and all that jazz. I want to see how it feels to work with a publisher. Maybe I’ll like it and will choose to go about my career that route only going forward, or I’ll discover that it isn’t for me and return to self-publishing. Regardless, I will have learned something and expanded my horizons along the way.
2. To gain exposure.
Having a publisher is helpful beyond the printing, publishing, and managing your book getting sold aspects. Part of that advance you receive is put toward book tours and other marketing efforts. They’ll help promote your endeavors which can draw more eyes to their investment in you and your book’s success. And a huge part of why I want to give this is a try is because more eyes need to see what I’m putting out there. I want to connect and touch more hearts through what I’m creating. Working with a publisher can provide the resources needed to achieve that goal.
So, while I’m working on short stories (A second one is in the works to be released in November) and popping out blog posts and keeping up with social media (matter of fact, follow @a.erinw and @fragile.too on Instagram you won’t regret it), I’m putting in hella work behind the scenes on task after task for short-term goals that ultimately lead to this long-term achievement.
I have edited and revised and edited my manuscript more times than I thought I ever would and could. I believe it’s perfect now but I also said that a few months ago and have since made further revisions so… *shrug emoji*.
I have created a color-coded spreadsheet of about 30 agents I have an interest in and will be conducting more research to add at least 30 more in the next few weeks. I have queried 20 of those potential agents and have 5 confirmed rejections so far.
I stalk and communicate in writers groups on Facebook and watch Twitter #writingcommunity and other helpful hashtags for authors religiously. Partly for awesome tips on everything writing-related, but also for constant reminders that it is totally a part of this process to be rejected by dozens of people and I’m far from the only person going through this. And, though it doesn’t feel like it, I’m at the beginning stages of the query process. Some authors have reached out to over 100 agents and are still awaiting an offer. Some received an offer after reaching out to like 50. I’m not even halfway to either of these figures so my mind is set on the expectation of having a long road ahead of me.
And there are publishers out there that allow direct submissions. You don’t always need an agent to land a publishing deal. But, I’ve done enough research to know it would be in my best interest to have one. So this is a process with a mysterious end result that lies in the mystery of the what, when, where, how, and why’s. And also takes a lot of research, awareness (externally as well as internally), and faith.
Yeah, so there’s some transparency for that a*s. Any fellow authors out there that are considering, going through, or have endured the process of breaking into traditional publishing and went through the query process feel free to reach out to me. One of the things I’ve learned in this whole bit is connecting and having people to talk to that get it totally saves your sanity. I’m used to ducking off and internalizing. This process has shown me the useful effects of opening up. Turning strangers into critique partners and having people in the same boat to hold accountable and hold you accountable. This, staying busy with other great projects and, of course, continuing to write, is super important.
Sending good vibes to everybody. Whether you’re trying to get your book published, your music heard, the role that will be your big break, etc. We got this! Keep going.