The Great Indie Quest

So you may have read the post I wrote recently, where I examined the different publishing paths and which one was right for me. Since I didn’t know a lot about indie at the time, and some people had not even heard of it when I posted, I thought I would share some of the resources I found in my search–my Great Indie Quest, a traditional girl’s quest to see what indie publishing can do for me.

Indie publishing has a lot of things to offer potential authors, a lot of things I never realized. Freedom, rights, customization. You get to be part of a more intimate, and very loyal community. Not to mention when published through an indie publisher, there is still a gatekeeper and official stamp, as well as all the resources and services a publisher provides, but you get to forgo the entire stressful querying and finding an agent process.

I wanted to share these with you so hopefully if you haven’t heard of indie publishing, or like many people don’t really know a lot about it, you can learn more, and maybe discover that it is an option, or even the right publishing path for you.

Here are some of the resources I found:

1. This site is a great, straightforward guide, particularly to the business side. This post is helpful,  but her others are definitely worth checking out as well.

2. S.M. Boyce has some great advice for writers and indie authors. Here is an overview page of different aspects, and here is a list of recommended vendors and people to assist with all the different aspects you might have to handle if you choose to go indie–editing, design, formatting, etc.

3. Kirkus Reviews is well-known and prestigious within the writing and publishing industries, so I was glad to find that they had a guide on indie publishing. It is more general overview advice, but very helpful for those who are just starting to consider indie publishing, or want to find out more about it.

4. Though the Indie Author Guide is a book, which you can buy herethis companion site has a lot of excellent resources, including outside sources and links, and even worksheets for indie authors such as for tracking sales, production costs, budget, etc.

5. Again, though this is a book by author Susan Kaye Quinn, the site also includes two webinars, 10 Ways to Survive Indie Publishing and Facing Your Fears, plus dozens of links to resources for freelance services and other recommendations.

6. This is an article about an author’s journey to self-publishing, and different aspects of it. The title, Self-publishing a book: 25 things you need to know, says it all.

That’s all I have for now! I hope these can help you to understand a little more about indie publishing, and maybe even consider it if you haven’t already. Do you have any questions, or more resources about indie publishing you’d like to share? Let me know!

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The Magic Number

One thing I have noticed lately is writers who are agented or published have one thing in common: most of them, this is their second, or third, or sixth book–it took them that many tries to get it “right”. This made me curious. Is there an unspoken magic number in the publishing world? Is there a certain number of books it takes to master the art?

Like I’ve said before, I’ve been writing my whole life. What started as picture books progressed to short stories then chapter books, until finally I finished my first complete novel at 12, handwritten in a pink journal. It was a science fiction/dystopian about a girl who discovers government secrets, and then teams up with the rebels to overthrow them. Naturally, now I read it and it’s complete crap, and will live the rest of its life locked away in my files, never to see the light of day.

My second book was an epic fantasy that probably should have been two or three books instead of one, about four kids united by magical powers, saving their land from the Dark Lord. I was probably about 13 when I wrote it, so considering that it’s pretty brilliant, but like the previous will never see the light of day.

My third I wrote when I was about 15 and is 102 pages of teenage angst. It was my first contemporary, about a girl whose boyfriend is killed in a car accident. Again, teenage angst. There are some tiny gems, but most of it is one giant facepalm.

Now my fourth was Ember, which you have probably heard me mention. I started writing it when I was 17, and this was the first one worth reading. Countless rewrites and two years later, I am in the process of querying it. Though I’ve only been at it six months or so, it’s hard not to get discouraged, especially when promising leads end up going nowhere. I started writing its companion, but needed a break from writing in the same world and same story for two years. So to battle the rollercoaster of querying, I started Nightfire.

Ember and Nightfire are my true loves. But one question I have been asking myself a lot lately is–what if Ember isn’t the one? What if it’s just another one in the series before I get it “right”? I absolutely believe in that story; I love the characters, the world, everything. It was the first story that characters became real to me, that I started to get voices in my head. I believe I have developed my writing skills well enough that I could be published now. But what if there’s something wrong in the formula? Something that Nightfire has the chance to get right?

Which led to me wonder–what is the magic number? I wrote three books before Ember, but was that enough? Do the ones I wrote at 12 or 13 count, when I was still so young and had so much to learn?

I believe in Ember, but I wonder if it’s not the one that will get me agented and published. Maybe that is Nightfire, and Ember can come later. But my question remains–is there a number?

What do you think? How many books have you written–if any? Is there a magic number of books a writer has to write, before they have “mastered” it? Is there a magic number of books it takes before one makes an agent fall in love?

 

Best Before: Yesterday

The publishing process takes a long time. It’s a known fact, and something I’ve come to accept. But somehow I still find myself feeling like the clock is ticking, like the sand is running out on the hour glass, and there’s an anvil hanging over my head. Somehow, I feel like there’s an invisible window to getting published, and if I don’t make it in that time, I’m finished.

I feel like there’s an expiration date stamped on my forehead, and it reads: Best Before Yesterday.

Now I know this is basically irrational, but I can’t help the feeling. Maybe you know what I’m talking about. When I get another rejection, that little voice wonders: was that it? How close am I to the point where I’ve used up all my chances? I wonder if it won’t happen this year, or the next, or at all.

But here’s the thing. The little voice doesn’t know what it’s talking about. Yes, maybe it’s good so I don’t get my head too high up in the clouds without some dose of reality. But that little voice is wrong.

There is no expiration date. If I don’t get it this time, I’ll try the next, and the next, and the next. There is a part of publishing that is pure chance and luck. Finding the right agent, at the right time, with the right words. But there is also a huge part that is persistence.

By not giving up, and putting myself out there again and again and again, not only am I ahead of the crowd but I increase my chances of getting a yes with every time. I could get a hundred nos, and it wouldn’t matter. All it takes is one yes.

It doesn’t matter if you’re young, old, just started, or have been trying for years. You do not have an expiration date. Let me say that again. You do not have an expiration date. Maybe that’s hard to believe if you’ve been at this a long time. You just started, you say. You’ve only been doing this a few months, you have no idea how hard it is. Yes, it is hard. It is hard to the point of wanting to give up sometimes, but there is no time where the window to being published is closed.

The only time you expire, and lose all chances of realizing your dreams, is when you stop trying.

It’s not like an Indiana Jones movie, where you triggered the trap and have to dive through the temple door before it closes and locks you in for all eternity. That door stays open until you let it close.

So get up, dust yourself off, and wipe that invisible expiration date off your forehead. Jump back in the trenches, and keep fighting and fighting and fighting. All it takes is one victory.