THE INITIAL IDEA
By March I’ll have two completed manuscripts available for publishing, which means I have to make a decision whether or not to submit them to publishers or to self-publish. One of the manuscripts (paranormal romance) has been co-authored, and I think it would be best to find a small press digital publisher for it. Being co-authored makes me feel responsible for a measure of its success. I don’t want to take a personal risk on something that is also somebody else’s work. The risk is not solely mine to take.
The second manuscript is Femme, a fantasy I wrote during National Novel Writing Month. It’s a short novel, some 65,000 words. It’s got a strong romantic storyline but I wouldn’t define it as a romance. It’s more about the world and my protagonist’s interaction with it rather than the relationship. I was initially thinking of approaching the big boys of publishing, or their small press digital partners, but now I’m seeing more potential and value by retaining control.
Why not approach publishers? Let’s pretend I had a nibble at my manuscript, that I’ve managed to garner some interest. I would love that certainly, it would be acknowledgement that my writing is good enough to impress people in the industry who have high standards, but I would be relinquishing a lot of control. I would have little or no say on the cover and also have no control on the price (both are very important to me). I would have to bide my time while others made important decisions about the book and how it is to be released. There are benefits to letting others take the reins certainly, but this doesn’t suit my current goal.
Self publishing has become a much more credible source for books now, since ebooks have come along and taken away the costs to produce and release them. Goodbye immense printing costs and distribution fees and bookshops that return books they don’t sell and also take a large chunk of the profits. I can’t say I’m sorry to see these drawbacks go. Yes, there are many books that have been self published that need a critical edit, or have plot holes or are full of cliches that make them cringe-worthy, and I could lose my work in the ocean of self published novels… but what’s the difference between that and getting lost among other books on the shelf? Traditional publishing is hit and miss also, there’s no guarantee that just because a traditional publisher invests in me that readers will also.
So last night I did a lot of thinking while in bed, before sleep took over. This morning I was filled with the same thoughts. I typed up a pros and cons list of self-publishing Femme as a method of self promotion. I typed up my ideas and all the potential outcomes, both positive and negative. They were about equal. I talked to my husband about it just to make sure I wasn’t being crazy and he had a few more items to put on the list. He took my idea seriously.
Ultimately, it’s looking more and more like I’ll be releasing this book myself. Since I want it to be as widely read as possible, I’ll likely release a portion of it (or maybe all of it) for free. So watch this space, because I’m planning to report my every move putting this book into production, and if I make mistakes we can all learn from them together.