Every time I get a rejection I go through a cycle of reactions. I've only had three rejections so far, actually. Which isn't very far along the road in the scheme of things, certainly not enough to draw any firm conclusions.
Nevertheless it is enough to start getting a sense of direction of how this process is likely to play out. One was a form rejection from an agent, who read the first three chapters of The Reluctant Wizard -- which right off the bat feels to me like an insufficient measure. The other two rejections were from the same small publisher, who both times was very complimentary and basically told me I was writing fantasy and he was publishing hardcore horror.
But even here, even with fairly quick reactions, it felt like my life was being put on hold. It wasn't -- I was writing the whole time I was waiting, but it's there in the background, preying on my mind. Part of me likes this feeling -- it's a daydreaming anticipation, and a little bit of dread at the same time. But part of me feels totally at the mercy of other people, for what seem whimsical and capricious and arbitrary reasons.
It also reminds me though of the huge waiting times in my previous career, the waiting for someone else to answer and then do anything about it or see the light of day or get paid. It reminded me of the hot and cold reactions of my agent, depending on the hot and cold reactions of the publishers. Which didn't give me any faith that my agent really liked my writing, only that she thought I might be a meal ticket.
And this was when I was getting published!
I feel like somehow the whole system is a roadblock. Especially for someone as prolific as me.
When I started this new round of writing, I was being tentative. I wasn't sure how serious I was.
Pretty obviously, I'm going to be doing this. I like doing this writing thing.
So maybe it is time to invest in myself and not wait for permission from someone else.
Get a real professional website up, which centralizes everything. Get covers done to all the books. Print out physical copies of my books -- and not call it vanity publishing, but instead call it self-publishing. I think the world has changed, and my exposure to self-publishing in comics, where it is common, has convinced me this is a viable option.
All this will cost money, actually. But it will be an investment in my own belief in my own writing, and I don't have to wait for the go-ahead from anyone else.
So far, I've been willing to pay for writing trips, which are really vacations as well. I've been willing to pay for some professional editing help. I've bought one out of three covers I've finished, and photoshopped the other two. Frankly, the photoshopped covers were pretty good. I think I can come up with the design elements and get others to do them.
The website will cost. And the self-published copies will cost. Hopefully, I can recoup some of the cost through selling in my own store. (Tricky, that.)
The point of all this, is that my feeling is -- I need to just go for it. Forget the old system. As long as I'm enticed by the old system, I'm going to be hogtied by it. There is a feeling of liberation in doing it myself. At my own pace.
Certainly not worry about money. Just exposure.
Sure, I may not get anywhere. Maybe it's impossible to break out on my own. But I can at least set up all the circumstances that would make a break out possible, even if it doesn't happen. Neither Freedy Filkins or Death of an Immortal have been selling great. But...I feel like I've just started.
Besides, I'm starting to build up so much material, I think the old system would be years behind me, at this rate, and meanwhile I intend to keep writing.
I'm learning a little bit with each effort. Maybe if I do this for awhile longer, I'll figure out an effective way to produce and promote and get people to read my books.
Either way, I won't be sending my books out into the void. (Well, maybe a different kind of void.) But it will be my choice, and not someone else's.
In short -- the ethos of doing it myself. Everything -- writing, producing and selling.
By holding back, by looking for someone else to do it for me, I'm in some ways cheapening the process, and showing a certain lack of faith.
I came to this conclusion once before, and then doubted it. But I think maybe this time I'm ready to go full speed ahead.
If the traditional publishing happens, let it be because they come to me!
3 days ago