More than two decades ago I decided I wanted to write novels. Working for a living kept me from aggressively pursuing that dream for almost three quarters of that time, and only when I retired did I allow the pleasure of this task to take over my life.
If you write, you are a writer, and I believe strongly that statement is true. But it is also true that most of us who write would like to have others read what we have written, and so that motley crew, of which I am a member, stalk the dream of getting one of their works published.
When I finished writing my first novel a few years ago, I was naÃ¯ve enough to believe that my end goal was in sight. Eight, one page query letters later, my ego was trounced so I went back in my hole to write my next novel, putting the first one on the shelf for some future purpose.
By writing almost every day, I believed I was getting better: better in character development, better in description of places and events, and better in putting the story in my head on to digital paper. Most important was the fact that I believed my self, and my book worthy of being published.
You should read that last sentence once again because it is the essence of what follows.
After a lot of editing on this second novel, I started sending out query letters, with a synopsis and the first twenty pages to a set of potential agents listed in the Guide to Literary Agents. 40% were not answered. 35% were answered with a form â€œno thank youâ€ letter, and the other 25% I received personal letters ranging from, â€œI like it but itâ€™s not the type of book I handle. To, â€œI like it but I am not taking on new, (read unknown) authors at this point in time.â€
The fact that the book is about a cyber attack to destroy the US banking system probably did not help my cause, since at that time we were right in the middle of the financial meltdown, as well as a nosedive in the publishing industry.
In the past I would have either given up writing for good, or just put that book on the shelf and moved on to my next story. But I didnâ€™t. And I didnâ€™t because as I said before, I felt the story was worthy of being published, so I decided I would pursue self-publishing through Amazonâ€™s Book Surge process.
The book went on sale yesterday, and for anyone interested you can follow the link below.
The process was not cheap, with the main cost coming from a professional edit of an eighty-thousand word manuscript at $0.02/word, another two hundred dollars for making it available on kindle, and four hundred dollars for a professional review company called Kirkus that went out of business the week my book was available to them.
The process took four months from the time I uploaded the draft manuscript until it was available on Amazon, and half that time was caused by my iterations of the cover design.
I can tell you that without even selling a book, it has been worthwhile. The editor was extraordinarily helpful both to my ego and to my writing. The cover designers read the book and offered me a great set of options for the cover. And the book summaries they wrote for me, I felt were better than my own. I learned a lot of valuable lessons from this process that have already helped me in the editing of my third novel that I recently finished.
Iâ€™ve read some horror stories about self-publishing here on Gather, but for me I only have good to say about the process.