Last week the lovely Jorie of Jorie Loves a Story was kind enough to host a live Q&A with me on her blog. One of the questions that came up in the course of the conversation was why I decided to self-publish.
I finished “Intangible” in 2011, which was right about at the tipping point for self publishing… but I didn’t know this at the time. I was still hung-up on the idea of having a publisher behind me for ego reasons, to tell you the truth. (I think part of this might have been because I was in school to be a naturopathic doctor, and I was so tired of people saying, “Oh, is that like an online degree?” that I wanted validity in *something!*)
So I think I queried something like 150 agents over the course of a year and a half. I had a spreadsheet, and I systematically sent seven queries per week until I got a few bites. Then I’d wait the process out: most agents would request the first 30-50 pages, and if they liked those, they’d request the full manuscript. Of those 150 agents I think I got some 15 who requested the full manuscript… but none of them decided to take me on at that point.
Undaunted, I decided to move on to querying small and medium-sized publishing houses directly in early 2012. I got three offers for representation, but I eliminated one because it sounded to me like a vanity press (even though they swore up and down that they weren’t), and another because they represented primarily erotica, and I was concerned readers might think my book was the same. (Considering my audience is middle grade to young adult, this would definitely be a problem.)
But I did sign the third contract. Suffice it to say, my experience with the company before signing and after signing was… completely different. I could have dealt with that well enough, but then my first editor quit after the second round of editing, and I was reassigned someone new. He thought my manuscript was so dreadful it was unreadable, and I would have to rewrite the whole thing before he could get past page 30.
At that point, I sought the advice of a few other bestselling Amazon authors on what to do.
One, the very gracious Chanda Hahn, wrote me extensively of her journey as a self published author and encouraged me to get out of my contract if I could. Initially the company refused, but through a series of very unusual events, I did eventually manage to extricate myself… and after that experience and the advice of several other successful self published authors like Chanda, self publishing suddenly looked like a very good idea indeed!
Would I do it again? Absolutely. Would I consider going the traditional route? Sure, if the contract was good enough… in fact I’m hoping I’ll have the opportunity at some point, because it will open up new horizons for me (like Barnes and Noble)! But in the meantime, I really enjoy the freedom to call my own shots and keep a much higher percentage of the royalties!