About a year ago, I finished a fantasy novel called Dissolution which I tried to get a literary agent interested in. No-one wanted it. So I put it down, sulked for a while, started Nevill, realised that – what with the research involved – I wasn’t likely to get that finished any time soon, sent Dissolution out again, welcomed it home again etc etc etc.
So I thought – maybe I can make it a better book, make it so someone does want it. I’m about a third of the way through that at the moment. Massive rewrite of part 1, lesser rewrite (almost done) of part 2, parts 5 and 6 will need very little work (I think) and 3 & 4 definitely need some. I’m very pleased with how it’s turning out. Everyone who’s read any of it tells me it’s good (not just people who love me – a member of a crit group recently said to me “I’d read anything you wrote. Phone book, instruction manual” – you don’t hear that every day and it was seriously encouraging.) I think, so far, I have a much better book than I did. And more worthy of people’s attention. So, once I had the first three chapters where I wanted them, I thought I’d test the waters again. (I figured that by the time anyone got around to reading it, I’d be well on my way to having the whole thing revised.)
Six query emails to agents. One came back quite quickly with “Not taking new clients”. Ok, that’s fine. Another (that had my spidey sense tingling when I saw their website) came back quite quickly with (and I quote) “Sounds good. Send us the first three chapters”. Spidey senses on overload now. So I looked them up on the trusty Writers Beware website, found that my instincts hadn’t failed me – big thumbs down. Emailed them back – thanks, but no thanks – then went to bed, had a bit of a think, came to a decision, woke up not thinking it was dumb, told my husband who said “You’ve been talking about that on and off for a while now, I was wondering when you were going to come round to that.”
Ok, that’s the story told from one direction, now I’m going to switch to the opposite end (so to speak).
Some time ago, I read the marvellous story behind the book Atlanta Nights. I decided I was going to buy it. It’s published by Lulu. I ordered it, it came. I was impressed with the speed of delivery, the price and the quality of the book itself. Laughed like a drain when I read it – I would recommend it to anyone who (for instance) has enjoyed reading The Daisy and the Bear. And thought “These Lulu people are pretty good at what they do!”
You should be able to see what’s coming…
I’m getting old (the story from angle 3). I’ve got a couple of decades left, I reckon, if every bus I see keeps out of my way, but I’ve been telling myself that I’m going to be a published author since I was 9 and I’m just not 9 anymore! I can’t wait for the scales to fall from the eyes of agents and publishers. And self publishing, particularly POD, with its synergies with Amazon and Barnes and Noble, is so rapidly becoming a real option for writers that it is now a real option for writers.
So, I’m going to finish Dissolution, proofread the heck out of it (and I’m pretty good at that I’ve found), get as many other people to proofread the heck out of it as I can, commission my talented daughter Cole to come up with some cover art, and set it up on a POD site. Probably Lulu, unless I find something blindingly better.
I’m going to work my tail off and hopefully get it up by Christmas. (Just after Christmas I have another birthday – I’d really like to have the first copy in my hands before I’m a year older.) If it works, I’ve got 3 more in this particular series either on paper, in note form or in my head. I might even make some money! That would give me the leeway I need to get Nevill finished and, who knows? either the world of publishing will be well on its way to irreversible change and agents and publishers will have lost much of their relevancy and power – or my fantasy books prove successful and I can get my hands on an agent! Either way, I’m not waiting round for the world to come to me, not anymore.
Wish me luck! I might chuck an extract up in the next few weeks, see what you think. Might even make you want to buy it when it’s available! 😀