Tired of this ride

The publishing ride. I’m sick of it. It’s like a week-long line at an amusement park. In the sun. Where the chains that divide the line into a bullpen are too weak to sit on and too hot to lean on. You can see the people coming off the ride, and they look so happy. They’re so excited. So even though you’re tired and hot, you’re still happy just to be there.

And then you get to where the ride is supposed to be. And instead of going on the happy-fun-published ride, your ride is in pieces, smashed cars, torn up tracks, the works. The conductor waves your forward…and promptly kicks you hard in the crotch.

But before you go, he hands you a card for a free ride, and by the time you get back to where the line started, your crotch has stopped aching, and you can see the happy people for whom the ride has worked, and you think, “I’ll just try again!”

And again. And again. *sigh* I’m sick of this ride. I’ve written three books to what I’d happily call completion, and I really like them. I might tinker with them now and again, but I don’t think it’s making them “better.” My writing group has helped me with my query letters to the point where they’re made of awesome. I don’t see why agents aren’t willing to rep my work. Hell, some agents have even complimented my work. It’s just “not for them.”

Just to get one of them out there, I think I’ll put it up for free on my website. Free to download to computers, and I’ll try and figure out how to get it on e-readers without spending an arm and a leg. And if I do incur some little cost I need to make back, I’ll charge the minimum I have to for a Kindle or Nook edition, a dollar or something. I have to get my technically skilled husband to help me figure this out, but I think it sounds like a good start. I always say that the reason I write is to one day have someone who has no obligation to me pick my book up and like it. Maybe this way they will.

What do you think? Would you take a gander if it were free? And yes, I know, you might feel sort of obligated to do so since you follow my blog, but I’d be glad if even a few of you actually liked it and maybe told a friend. Does anyone know someone who went this route? Have you ever thought about it?

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24 thoughts on “Tired of this ride

  1. I have to believe it’s a problem with “the market,” because I’m baffled otherwise. You rock & so does your work. Getting it to readers is a great idea.

    I read a great interview about an author doing very well w/epublishing on http://www.jungleredwriters.com. Lots of good tips and concrete advice:

    http://www.jungleredwriters.com/2010/06/ja-konrath-mysterys-rebel.html

    In a more recent post on the same website, Jane Friedman, former editor of Writers Digest, talks about different models of publishing and wrote

    “The big example here is agent Scott Waxman, who started Diversion Books. Diversion publishes e-book originals, and he’s focusing on works that don’t have a place in the current commercial market. I’ve talked to several other agents who are also looking at how they might assist in publishing their clients’ work in a meaningful way. Many of the ideas are niche or community based, since that makes it much easier to market and reach a readership.”

  2. smashwords.com is an easy and free way to get your book on e-readers.
    You just have to re-format your ms to suit an e-reader and upload.
    Good luck

  3. I haven’t kept up with her, but Katiebabs had a similar frustration…. I think, last year maybe?

    http://kbgbabbles.blogspot.com/

    (I just went to find her, reading how upset you were, and was reminded that I miss her WTFckery bits. I stopped following because she was much more into erotica than I was about the time when I was realizing I spent more time reading blogs than writing. Sometimes I still do, but at least it doesn’t take me all day to get through my subscriptions now.) But you could ask what she ended up with. I know she did a bunch of interviews with different versions of self-published back then.

  4. I understand your frustrations, and your description of what it’s like was spot on.

    I think there are many options for you to consider, and whatever you decide will do well. But I want you to keep on truckin’ and never give up. You’re an amazing talent, and you should never forget that!!!

  5. Michelle Davidson Argyle recently self-published her novella Cinders:

    http://www.michelledavidsonargyle.com/

    She’s writing a series of posts about self-publishing here:

    http://literarylab.blogspot.com/

    I have another friend who self-published her Beatles fantasy fan-fic novel, With Strings Attached:

    http://www.lulu.com/product/paperback/with-strings-attached-or-the-big-pink-job/4995209

    I think there are good reasons to self-publish, but it does require extra effort to format everything, produce a cover (even e-books need cover images), and do everything the publisher would normally do for you. Whatever you decide to do, good luck!

  6. This is going to be long, but I hope something here is useful.

    Here’s the thing with free reads… Unless you’re already a well known author like Lynn Viehl or a brilliant marketer like JA Konrath, it doesn’t really take you much further than where you are now.

    Audience is critical.

    If you want to e-publish, consider offering it to the smaller presses who will not only guide you but pay you royalties.

    But if you have energy to burn, there’s no reason not to try self publishing as long as you understand that it’s really all up to you.

    Zoe Winters is one who made it work for her, but I’m sure she’ll tell you that this is not for the lazy. She really gets out there to promote her work. That’s not something all of us are good at, or are comfortable doing.

    I’m so sorry it’s been discouraging. And although this advice is sacrilege to many writers, I’ll say it out loud anyway.

    Being published isn’t the end-all of life’s accomplishments. I realize some writers think they’re failures if they don’t get published. That’s like saying I’m a failure for not having a baby.

    That’s just stupid.

    The reason people put so much value on publication is because they think it gives their writing validity.

    I write a blog regularly. People email me, comment, and some have become very good friends. That little blog has given me more validity as a writer than all my pub creds.

    My blog doesn’t earn me a dime, but it brings me an audience. To me, that’s worth a lot more.

    Feel free to email me offline if you want to talk more.

  7. You know what I think of your work. I don’t think anyone compares to it and I don’t understand why you’re not a kajillionaire.

    But, I’ll say again that I really REALLY think that several of your books would REALLY REALLY appeal to a YA audience. So, if you feel like you’ve exhausted all of your adult fiction possibilities, why not just send it to someone who reps YA and see what they say? Can’t hurt anything. You wouldn’t be selling out. I read almost exclusively YA and it’s kind of my specialty as a Librarian… and when I read your stuff, I can’t help but wish you’d give some of us YA geeks a fair shot at widespread exposure. Let me know if you want specifics.

      • Then, search me. All I know is that I read YA and I’ve read you and if I read the back cover of one of your books, I’d totally buy it/check it out of the library and I know a lot of other people who would seriously dig your stuff. I guess just hang in there? I’m convinced that with you it’s just a matter of time. You have the right stuff. The planets just haven’t aligned right or whatnot.

  8. I’m a true technical-dummy so I can’t offer you any advice but I can only tell you that I’m with you. It is so frustrating and I can relate to that feeling of getting sick of all this. But e-readers sound like a good idea!

  9. Your discouragement makes me think maybe you’ve had another big disappointment recently??? You’re in good company in that I don’t know any aspiring author that hasn’t faced a mountain of rejections… sometimes hundreds of them. But I do understand that sometimes it just seems like too much.

    As Maria says, you need an audience regardless of how your books are published, and I don’t think many people will choose to read an eBook from an unknown author, just because it’s free.

    It sounds like your writing could be good but if agents are consistently declining to represent the books, perhaps it’s the queries, or the synopses that need refining. If you’ve had your heart set on publishing traditionally, before giving up on your dream I’d suggest investing in a professional editor. An opinion and suggestions from someone within the industry could be invaluable. Don’t give up too soon.

    • Just more rejections, Carol. I’m going to look into other options besides free. You guys have convinced me. And I’ve had a few bites, so I think my query is good. I’ve even had some compliments on my writing. It’s just been, “not for me” which I guess is subject matter. Who can say!

      • Sometimes it’s not even that, but maybe that they are already repping something along the same line, or the baby kept them awake all night and they’re too tired to feel enthusiastic about anything that day, etc. If feedback has been positive then keep querying. Research appropriate agents and saturate the list! Persistence is imperative.

  10. Ugh, this is such a discouraging business… but as everyone has said, there are options, though it will take a time investment to find out what works for you. It could also just be the market right now — maybe in 6 months, your content will be just what they’re looking for! Who knows.

    In the meantime, keep writing 🙂

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