Those are four of the most difficult, and yet easiest, words I’ve ever said out loud. My manuscript hasn’t been accepted yet, and I’m not upset or surprised by that considering I’ve only sent out three queries so far, but with a very lengthy piece of fiction that hasn’t been published, I’m finding it hard to own what I do.
When people ask me what I do for a living I always say some variation of “I run a company that focuses on decorative faux finish treatments.” It sounds great and all, and it certainly helps pay the bills so technically the ‘for a living’ part is satisfied. The ‘what do you do’ part however…well, what I really want is to utter the words ‘I Write’, it just feels awkward right now.
When I do find myself saying it to a random stranger, I feel like a fraud. Is that weird? I don’t know, maybe it is but I just don’t feel like its real.
I started querying Literary Agents about a week ago and it has been exciting and fun to research their current clients, titles and information. While researching I have discovered a few authors in my own genre (Contemporary Women’s Fiction, or Chick-Lit) that I plan to check out of the library this week and read. If they have a similar enough plot to mine I can mention the titles to the agents I query as proof that I’m a ‘do your homework’ kind of writer.
As a first time author, the stakes are much higher in getting published. Or so I’m told. I don’t know how true that is considering my library holds thousands, upon thousands of books and all of those authors had to be published for the first time too, right?
Not to mention, the times they are a-changin’ and getting published, touring a book and having some agency roll out a red carpet for a quality author’s book signing have fallen away in the face of social media marketing and modern technology. I bet there are even web conference style book readings nowadays where there is a link for the viewer to purchase a signed copy of the book direct from the author while they listen. And if there aren’t yet, I’m sure it’s in the works.
This isn’t to say I will give up querying, far from it. I’m not dejected after a single rejection, and two additional well crafted letters that I haven’t heard on just yet. Please. My skin is far thicker than that.
It just seems like a lot of the marketing and whatnot falls on an author these days so why shouldn’t I just self publish and market it through word of mouth or social networking? Isn’t that what I’d be doing after a publishing house releases it into the wild in a year (or more depending who takes it) anyway?
So if I do self publish, buy my own ISBN, choose the artist for my cover art and spread the word either through this blog or other sources, what difference does it make? Is it more secure to have an agent? Does it really have that much stronger of a chance at being noticed by a lot of people if it goes through a house? Do I even want it to expand that wide?
Ugh, too many questions.
I guess I’m just anxious to be able to own it.