Sunday, May 18, 2014

The Road to Self-Publishing Part 1

I’ve been immersed in the writing industry for decades and I’m tainted by all the old rules. For example, I’m late to the self-publishing game due to the stigma attached to self-publishing when I started this journey. Way back when, a talented writer didn’t need to take the self-publishing route. In those days, there were plenty of outlets for print publishing. All you had to do was link up with the right editor at the right publishing house.
In addition, I wrote romance fiction, a category that has over 50% of the paperback market. If you believed the romance experts, anybody could get published in romance.

Except me. 

I am a historian. Majored in it in college. Taught it there, too. Big reader of historical fiction in my younger years before the historical romance category was invented. Seemed a good fit as a writer to meld history, fiction, and romance.

Not that I knew a thing about writing a historical novel, but hey, why let that hold one back?

Along the bumpy road to publication, I wrote two Civil War era adventure romances. Over many years of submission, they were rejected by every major romance publisher. And some agents, too. Granted, some of the rejections were nice, but they were in the end, rejections. 

My optimistic nature took quite a beating. 

But more than 40 local women had read one of my Civil War manuscripts, asking permission to lend it to friends and family members. This manuscript even won a Best in Show contest, pitted against every category of fiction and nonfiction out there. Why did all these people love my book, but the editors and agents didn’t?

Then one day I had an epiphany. I thought, aha! I’m submitting to New York (i.e. Northern) editors and agents. They’re probably not as interested in this era as we are in the South. Maybe I needed another route. Maybe I need to self-publish my manuscripts.

I began my research on self publication at various writers’ conferences. I bought a slew of books on the subject. Finally, I decided I’ll do it. I’ll publish my novels. 

As soon as I decided to take the plunge, I got the call. 

My first two novels were published by Kensington in 2004 because one of their editors loved anything to do with the Civil War. With the carrot of success dangling in front of my nose, I shelved plans of self-publishing.

It had taken me way too many years to find the right editor. Naturally, she left within a few months of offering me a contract. 

The journey continues in my next blog post.....