To self-publish or not…

Self-publishing has never been my plan. When people ask why I don’t just do it on my first two books, my answer is always the same: it takes more than one person to write a book. If agents and publishers don’t think it’s good enough, maybe that’s because it isn’t. I still feel that way. I take my hat off to those with the confidence to do it. That they trust they have produced a book good enough for public consumption is something I admire. How do they know they won’t embarrass themselves? I mean, I 100% believed in book three. Until the rejections rolled in, I really thought I had something. Now… it’s so hard to really know. Why would I self-publish and risk looking like a dick?

Perhaps it’s time to get over the fear of failure. Whilst my ego resists the risks, my book sits there unread. What am I doing this for? Yes, I love to write. Mostly. Usually. When it flows. But I do want to be read. I do.

My ego saves me at times when I need to believe I am ‘enough’ in environments I can feel less than, but it also makes me reject anything that is not the traditional route to publication. Because that is how you gain most respect. You see, as much as I’d like not to care, I do give a shit what people think. About me, about my writing, about how I achieve my goals. There are writers I admire who’ve debuted in the last four or five years. They were spotted for being brilliant. Damn them. (They are!)

I wanted that too.

I wanted to be spotted for being brilliant more than anything. That was the dream, the goal, the outcome my ego pursued. What has in fact happened is a great many rejections including one just before Christmas from my favourite agent who said: ‘It just wasn’t quite superb enough.’

Ouch.

That one hurt.

I might have done a little cry.

I folded the letter and put it out of view. That made it all better. As did wallowing in self-pity and the Christmas chocolate for a day or two. Today I re-read the letter she made the time to write. I searched for positives: she’d wavered, asking for other’s opinion. Whilst on the one hand that meant they’d all rejected me, on the other it meant they’d discussed my book. She liked the story. She liked my writing. It was ‘a near miss.’ Maybe it just needs more work. More time. Maybe…

Maybe it needs readers. Maybe I need readers. Maybe it’s time to face my fear.  Friends tell me I should. Peers have too. My Dad said I he liked it. Yes, biased, etcetera; but still…

So this is my plan for 2016:

  • Having taken notes from two beta readers, I’ll run a final edit on Lost: Love, Life and the Berni Inn. Then, I’ll self-publish it. I will try and find a way to market it despite being terrified I’ll look a self-interested idiot and I’ll keep everything crossed that at the end of the process, I can hold my head high among the people whose opinion matters to me.
  • I will also finish the next book: Grit, Graft and Paper Diamonds. Who knows what future that one has, I’ll wait and see.
  • I’ve also started work on a radio play. I’ll finish that too. It might stay a radio play, it might translate to stage. I’ve had chats with people, anything is possible.

And, as I up the output and dig deeper for the missing glimmer, I will hope, more than anything else, that I don’t embarrass myself and that taking the leap will in some way or other, pay off. That’s as big a plan as I can handle right now.

So there we have it. 2015 didn’t pan out as I’d targeted, 2016 needs a different approach. I’m on it. I’m frightened. I’m writing it anyway. Happy New Year lovely people. X

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