21 August 2011

Epub the emotional journey

If you follow me on twitter or even on facebook, you may have seen some of the articles I've posted the last couple months, mainly having to do with publishing and writing. I read a string of articles in close succession earlier this month that in so many words, in different ways, said that - yeah epublishing is a big deal right now, but really bookstores and paperbooks are still the majority of the market and if you want to be respected you need to go the traditional route and find an agent, who finds a publisher, who edits your book etc.

I always believed this and held very firmly to this mantra until the last year. Something has broken loose the last couple years in ebooks and I started to wonder - what if I just did it? I was a journalist, freelance writer, graphic designer in previous jobs. The skills to create a book are not out of reach. In fact, I worked with a publisher and actually produced 3 books myself. This is a process I can do. So, like a crack of light under a door in a dark room this idea started seeping into me. I read lots of things that seemed to say this is the future.

Then I stumbled on the articles with my old point of view -- you're only a real author if NY says you are (in so many words). So earlier this month in a fit of panic I sent letters to agents. I think I sent out 4 or 5 via email and I haven't heard anything back. It would be too soon in most cases, but I think they all said something like, "If we don't respond, we're not interested."

But I learned something about myself doing that. As I started working my way through the queries and the requirements, all those old feelings came back. The scary ones I try to bury. They'll never respond, you're not good enough, it'll never work for you, etc. etc. The evil editorial voice in the head.

I contrasted this with how I felt when I "published" my short story myself to Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords. The story had been published by a webzine so I already had some sense that it was legit, but be that as it may, I was eccstatic to see the work of my hands, the creation of my mind, and my husband's brillant cover posted out there for all the world to see. I know I'm not going to get rich from it and I know that it's a long way from the respect and bestsellerdom of NYC but it felt good. I felt proud as opposed to the sense of begging and shame I felt from my query letters to agents.

So for now, I walk the epub journey with a clear conscious. I know the respect I long for isn't there but for now I am content. And don't let anybody kid you, there's not an epub out there who wouldn't sign a contract for six figures or more if it was offered by the NYC big dogs!

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