Tonight, we’ll all be counting down together at midnight (varying time zones not withstanding), but each of us undoubtedly will be counting down to something different. Last year I counted down to the year I would get married; the year before, to my first full year of self-employment. For some, it will be ushering in the year of a new job or a new family member. Or getting rid of a family member, who knows?
This year, I am counting down to my longest-held life goal: publishing a book. Well, second longest. My very first life goal was to grow up to look exactly like my Asian Barbie doll. Really hoping I do a better job accomplishing the book thing.
It’s with a significant amount of lip-biting and tummy butterflies that I step into the worlds of both self-publishing and crowdfunding in 2013. At first, after spending three years completing a first draft of my book, I was dead set against self-publishing. With the vanity of any average artist, I was sure that if it was “worth publishing, someone would want to publish it.”
Then I spent a year working on that. After writing a lengthy book proposal that was nearly the size of the book itself, I sent it out to somewhere around 13 agents over the course of several months. Just when I was beginning to feel my prophesy was about to be self-fulfilled in the wrong way, I got a bite. An agent was interested. She read the full manuscript, and a week later I got an email back…with a “no thanks.”
The way I read it (and perhaps I’m an optimistic reader), she thought the story was compelling and the characters were compelling, but she was hoping it would be a little more this or that to fit her taste.
Well, jeez oh peats. How many agents will I have to query to find one with the right taste to fit my piece? Suddenly, my husband’s years of encouragement to self-publish started to seem worth considering. I mean, I know J.K. Rowling was supposedly rejected 12 times and Chuck Palahnuik had a hell of a time getting both Fight Club and Invisible Monsters published, but let’s be honest: I’m not sure I have the time or the self-esteem to muscle through for another year of this.
I also started reading more about self-publishing, and learned that the control over the final product and its marketing actually has many already-established writers switching to the format. I didn’t realize, for example, that with traditional publishing I would have no control over the cover art. This is no small deal. I have known from the first word I wrote that my best friend would design the cover. She’s not only a character in the book, but she was also my self-appointed archivist, without whom the book could never have happened. She’s designing the damn book cover.
The final straw though, was something my husband had to say to me more than once before it sunk in. Whenever I’d get on my soapbox about self-publishing being for people who aren’t good enough to be published in the first place, he’d ask me if I thought his music was any less worthy of being recorded because he’s recorded and publicized all of his work himself. Anyone who know’s Mike’s work knows how powerful an argument that is. In the music industry, all the talent in the world comes up a far second to luck; it seems the same may be true with book publishing.
And so, into 2013 I go with a new plan to self-publish. The catch, however, is a significant one: it’s going to take about $9,000 to do it right. That’s where the crowdfunding campaign comes in. Over the next month, I’ll be working on both developing my campaign and beginning the publishing process, as well as chronicling the process here. I’m a little nervous and a lot excited. Or maybe it’s the other way around.
So Happy New Year, all. I hope everyone has something so exciting it’s terrifying to look forward to in 2013.