The good old days
As a writer, I thought I knew what I was doing. Get a damn good idea. (Or what seems like one at the time.) Open a vein. Write a book. Query agents. Gather rejections. Become depressed. Drink heavily. Get a new, better idea. (This is THE ONE, I’m sure!) Repeat.
Ahhh…the good old days.
The good old days lasted for four books in as many years. My first attempt wasn’t a novel but a proposal for a women’s self-defense book called, Sexy Self-Defense: How to Kick Ass in High Heels. Great idea, I know. And I wasn’t the only one who thought so. That proposal and the writing that went with it garnered me TWO offers of representation from top NY agencies. Yes! I felt like a lottery winner, floating on cloud nine. I would achieve my dream of being a best-selling author and sought after speaker. Not to mention the money. Lottery, shmottery--my riches awaited. Whoo-hoo!
The drop from cloud nine…
…is fast and painful. Although many editors loved the idea, the proposal never made it past the whole “publishing house committee.” Apparently, self-defense books, now matter how clever they’re marketed, do not sell. Boo! Back to square one.
My early success at finding an agent convinced me I didn’t totally suck at writing. And if I could do it once, I could do it again, right? I could still see myself on top of the bestsellers list, except this time it would be as a novelist. So I wrote Crossed: A Jayden Morrow Mystery.
But the publishing world at the time was becoming more and more closed off to the new writer. Even my few contacts, meager as they were, didn’t help me. It seemed if you weren’t a celebrity or didn’t know a celebrity or didn’t have nude photos of a celebrity on your phone, no one was interested in what you had to say. But I still had things to say--important things--so I kept trying. I wrote Belted and then Antichrist 16. But no luck.
The kiss of death becomes new life.
Now I used to counsel newbie writers against self-publishing. “Don’t do it!” I’d scream with my face contorted in horror. “It’s the kiss of death! You’ll never see your book in Barnes and Noble, you’ll never be taken seriously, you’ll never get a legitimate contract or agent or advance.” And all this was true until...
When the eReader blew into town, people (not me, of course) laughed and said it would never last. That silly, little machine will never substitute for a real book. Ha!
But people liked the convenience and ease of use. You could download any book at almost any time, and boy, were there books. Tons of new books appeared on Amazon because suddenly, an author didn’t have to wait on a publishing contract. An author could publish a book in a matter of minutes. Whiz-bang, done.
It took me a while to get with this program. And if publishing is easy, selling is still hard. I continue to feel a bit lost as I pick my way along, trying to dodge potholes as I go. Luckily, others have gone before me and marked the way. I use them as my guide and inspiration, and I’m happy to say, I may finally be getting some mileage on Publishing Road.
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