Test Driving in the Indies
Unlike many, I wasn’t one of those people who dreamed of being a writer since before they could read. No. My dreams of publishing happened less than three years ago. I had nothing but time on my hands and a goal-oriented attitude.
Life got in the way; motivation waxed and waned. A year later, I had the first draft finished. What a joyous time! I boasted, cheered, and twirled. When I came down from my high, my next thoughts were: What’s next? That’s when the hard parts came—editing/revisions, learning the craft (I had a LOT to learn), and of course selling myself and my work.
Agents would race to the phones, each one more eager than the last to represent my instant bestseller. Hey! A girl can dream, right?
To make a long story short, the market was/is tough. I received a few nibbles, some suggestions, and even a couple of offers to resubmit after revisions. One issue which bothered me about the entire process was I found myself doing more querying than writing and working on my craft. Writers write. How could I call myself one if I wasn’t writing? At that time, my job title should have been “submitter.” :)
Here’s what I found during my nine months of bumping heads with the gatekeepers. Agents and publishers are searching for the book which will be the next bestseller. They don’t know what that’ll be, just hope they’ll know it when they read it. Really, it’s all a guessing game. Publishing is a business, and the individuals running the companies can only take so many chances. They have to limit their risks in order to be as profitable as possible. I respect that. It’s just smart business.
Well, I don’t accept failure so readily. Knowing how the process worked didn’t mean I had to give up my dreams. Publishers and agents weren’t infallible. They win some; they lose some. I asked myself: With the technology available, why not take a chance on myself—let the readers decide if they want to hear my voice rather than let the gatekeepers decide for both you and me. And so my quest to self-publish began.
I still remember the day I went all in. Other than formatting, my manuscript was ready to go live. I had one full out with an agent at the time. Call me crazy, but I withdrew my submission. January 7, Shadow Cat went live in digital formats. A month later, I had shiny print copies in my hands. I can’t express to you the giddiness I felt handing one to my mother.
My journey on the indie road is exciting, full of trials and errors, but totally worth it. Whether readers love or hate my writing style, I love the idea that readers get to make a choice on my offerings. It’s an opportunity I may never have experienced if I hadn’t taken a chance on me first.
Whether it’s writing or some other dream, the pitfalls are there. That’s life. You can take a chance on yourself. Or will you be the one to “go gentle into that good night?”
Ben, thank you for letting me share my indie experience with your readership.
Reena Jacobs is just your typical writer who loves to see her words in print. As an avid reader, she’s known to hoard books and begs her husband regularly for “just one more purchase.” Her home life is filled with days chasing her preschooler and nights harassing her husband. Between it all, she squeezes in time for writing and growling at the dog. You can find Reena on Ramblings of an Amateur Writer, Amazon, Goodreads, and Smashwords.
About her novel, Shadow Cat:
Eric Randall’s plan is simple—fix the mess his researchers have created in Malaysia, experience the pleasures the country has to offer, and return to the comforts of America. All it takes is one beautiful aborigine, and Eric finds himself stranded in a world of Malaysian myths and legends.
A novice shaman amongst her people, Berani is free and independent. Yet all is not well in her homeland. Demons prey on her people, pushing them to extinction. When a strange speaking man invades her forest, she has one more worry to add to her already troubled life. Attraction or no, she will fight Eric tooth and claw to maintain her freedom. But will she destroy herself in the process?
If Berani wishes to save her family… if Eric wishes to reclaim his old life, they must stand together against the threats of encroaching wehr-tigers and bloodsucking demons… or perish.
Links to Shadow Cat:
Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.uk.co/Shadow-Cat-Striped-Ones-ebook/dp/B004IEA1C6/
Barnes and Nobles: http://search.barnesandnoble.com/books/product.aspx?ean=2940012535580