Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Decisions Decisions Decisions

Hi All!  Sorry I've been absent, but I have a good excuse.  I have been writing like a maniac.   The dedicated writing time is working like magic.  Some days I'm able to pump out 3-6k words.  And, big news, I am almost done with my YA novel!  I am incredibly excited.  This book has been far easier to write than Tough Girl, and not just because the plot is less complicated.  This is my second novel and I learned a ton on Tough Girl and now I trust myself and my process.

This YA novel is the first in a series.  I hemmed and hawed about writing it because I have a ton of novels in my head and I always saw myself as more of a contemporary ficiton or science fiction writer, but then I realized how much fun I was having with the idea and the characters and I decided to just go for it.  If you've read my writing, then you know I spend a lot of time toiling in the darker side of human nature, so working on something that has some humor and joy was a relief (don't worry, people still die).

But now that I'm nearing the end of book one in Grape's story, I'm getting nervous about what to do next.  I self published Tough Girl because it's such an odd story that I didn't think a publisher would find it economically viable, but I HAD to write it.  With Grape, I'm not sure what I want to do.  I fear trying to find an agent because that can take years, and then once you have an agent there's no guarantee you'll get a book contract or that you'll get a contract with a major publisher.  I've seen it happen several times to friends of mine.  Not to mention that when I think of all the query letters I've written for plays over the years, I shudder.  Grueling is the first word that springs to mind.

Another option is to go with a small press publisher.  There are issues there as well.  I've been looking into a few small publishers and bringing up their titles on Amazon.  The majority of books I've researched have less reviews than Tough Girl and the Amazon ranking doesn't look too impressive, regardless of the publish date.   I know authors have to do marketing but I figured the publisher would at least line up reviews from book bloggers, but that doesn't seem to be the case.  It would be nice to have a publisher and to feel more legitimate, but is it worth it if they're not busting their tale to promote you?

In the next month or so I need to decide what path to take.  Do I query constantly until I find an agent willing to take me on?  Do I self publish and spend hours on marketing?  Or do I try a small publisher and hope for the best?  So much to think about.  I am open to ALL advice.

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20 comments:

  1. Hey Libby! Good to hear you're almost done. And relieved to know people still die.
    All three paths have their good and bad points. I've been very happy with my small publisher and they've done a lot to market my books. I think on any level though, unless you are established, you're going to have to do a lot of that anyway.

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    1. That's definitely true, and I'm not afraid to do it, just not sure what the best next step is. Glad to hear your publisher is active! That is all I would want, I think, to know that it's a partnership and they're willing to do some of the work as well.

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  2. There are some great small press publishers out there doing cool things with YA. You don't say much in this post about your subject matter, but off the top of my head you could check out Month9Books, Omnific, Entangled, and Spencer Hill Press. I have online friends who are thrilled with all of them. Good Luck!!!

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    1. Katie, that is awesome, thank you. I'm going to check them out now!

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  3. Yeah, it's a tough decision. Especially since you have some self-publishing credibility already. It does take years to get an agent, go through a traditional publisher, and then see the book on shelves. I know you could do it, but at the pace you write, and with all the stories you have in your head, perhaps you would be better off taking charge of your own publishing empire. Just a thought.

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    1. That means a lot L.G., especially since I know you're big on traditional publishing. Thank you!

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  4. That's fantastic you're almost done! It is a big decision to make. I've been going back and forth about it for a couple of years. I like my experience self-publishing, but I feel I don't have as much time as I need to dedicate to marketing. So I'm going to try querying small publishers this year. Yes, I will still have to do some marketing, but I'm hoping they'll give me a boost. As for agents, I don't think you need one unless you want to go for one of the big publishing houses or if you have no clue whatsoever what to do with a book. I like Stephen King's advice about agents: "You don't need one until you're making enough money for someone to steal ... and if you're making that much, you'll be able to take your pick of good agents."

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    1. King's advice is excellent. Thanks for stopping by Christine, I appreciate the advice. I'd noticed on your blog that you were querying and I was curious because I know you self pub as well. Thank you!

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  5. Congrats on getting so much accomplished. Yes, the decision won't be easy on how to publish. There are pros and cons to either. I have decided to self-publish a series this year. I may go with a different avenue next year. Who knows!

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  6. Hi Libby! Well, that is the tough question these days, right? It's hard to know what the right choice is. Why not query a few rounds to get a feel for interest? If nothing seems headed in the direction you like, SP and keep writing and keep SP. Successful indie authors have lots of books out, so as long as you're prolific you stand a chance. And it never hurts to query here and there during that time.

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  7. Hi LIbby, best wishes with the YA novel. I've heard of good things with Vook and CreateSpace. I'm not sure about going with a publisher or agent. I know that the I've previously used the Writer's Guide. It's a great resource. Congrats on everything. I hope to finally meet you one of these days at one of those groups!

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  8. Am I a sad cookie to get a really good laugh at your promise that people will still die?

    I'm wrestling with the same concerns about my writing future. Some days I would love to have an agent, just to say some input on my behalf...some long-range career planning. My fear is always getting into the contract and hating it. Let me know what you decide.

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  9. Well as long as people die...

    I've got no good advice for you, but I say if you decide to go the agent route, be working on the next book or another project while doing it. Yeah, that's the extent of my wisdom today.

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  10. Heh, heh, on not worrying about people dying. :D

    I think we all have to make that decision for ourselves. Be careful with small presses. I know a lot of folks who have gotten screwed by them. If you go that route, hire a literary attorney before you sign any contract. Same with agents and publishers. Contracts have been getting less 'author friendly'.

    Any route is hard and has its advantages and pitfalls. You have to do what seems like the right route for you. That's not very great advice, I guess.

    I continue to be an author-publisher and build my audience. That's my decision, however, and I'm fine with it and I don't get judgey about whatever someone else decides. I think we all have to quit doing that. Indie does not make you less valid.

    Either way, start thinking about marketing. I've already started for my next series, which isn't written yet. I need to adopt a stricter writing schedule.

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  11. Glad to hear you're still about and still writing! As the others have said, no matter what route you go you're still going to have to do your own marketing. It's just that with self publishing you have to do more.

    At the very least, you always have the option of querying first, and falling back on small publishers/self publishing if no one bites.

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  12. It's great that you're almost done with your latest novel! I like that Grape will show off your dark sense of humor. It sounds like you've already received some helpful advice about your publishing dilemma. Best of luck, Libby!

    Julie

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  13. Wow, you're really writing up a storm! That's some serious daily word count! I don't know what to tell you. I always try for traditional, but I would consider small press. I know a couple of self-published people who published with small presses first. It taught them a lot and they made a really good self-published product as a result.

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  14. Wow, I envy you your word count! As for your dilemma, I'm in the same one, sort of. I went with a small pub for my first book but plan to query my next. But I may go back with a small pub or self-publish. Ultimately, I'd like a traditional deal because if they're willing to give you an advance then they're probably going to do some marketing to help sell your book. Small pubs don't tend to do much on that front. Self-pubbing has the advantage of complete control, but the disadvantage of complete responsibility. Whatever you decide, good luck!

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  15. One thing about having more options a writers is that there's more up front labor--just in decisions. I wish I had an answer for you.

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  16. Congratulations on reaching this place. Now, yes, query, but write more books too.

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