Self-Publishing : Taking Our Power Back

April 17th, 2014

This article is part of my ongoing Wannabe Pride Self-Publishing blog series in preparation for publishing my novel, QUEEN HENRY, in July of 2014. Proceeds from this novel will go to the Harvey Milk Foundation. My author page is www.facebook.com/lindafausnet

 

12 Weeks Until Publication 

 

Dont Care

So I sent out about 70 query letters to literary agents for my middle-grade novel, THE JOYVILLE SWEAT SOX. The response has been less than stellar. It’s not that the agents don’t like the novel, it’s just that they’re not reading it. So far, only one literary agent requested to read the novel.

I heard back from her just the other day.

The query response rate is never great, but it’s usually better than this. Typically, I will send out 70-80 query letters and about 4-5 of the agencies will request a full or partial of the manuscript. Sure, those four or five will almost surely reject the manuscript in the end, but at least you get a few weeks to dream.

Not this time. This time, only one literary agency requested to read the novel. This was the same agency who said they loved my last novel, said it had a strong chance of publication, and that they were seriously considering taking it on. Then, after two months of radio silence, ultimately declined because they were “too busy”. Given my history with this agency, I didn’t know if was a good thing that they requested this latest book or not. Would they be impressed if they now read two novels of mine that they enjoyed? Would they brush me off again? Would they not like this book?

Oddly, I hadn’t really been giving much thought to this latest submission. Normally, I sit around on pins and needles, waiting to hear back from the agency who will determine my fate. Will this be It? My Big Break? This time, I found myself forgetting that I even had submitted the book for consideration. I had already kind of made up my mind then when the response came in –  I’d be upset about it for few hours, andthen let it go. There was kind of a lot riding on this submission. I really like this novel,  I’m proud of it, and this one was the only agency biting. It was either them or nothing.

When the email response finally came in, the one from the agency with my novel’s title in the subject heading, I was overwhelmed with a sudden realization.

I DON’T CARE.

Even before I read the email, I realized I simply did not care what they thought. That may not seem like a big deal, but I’ve spent my entire “career” as a writer living and dying by what agents, producers, editors, and publishers thought of my work. It was totally up to them as to whether my particular story would live another day or die a slow, languishing death.  And it was always death. Always. Over and over, I’ve been told I’m a good writer, told I have talent, and yet they always PASS.

Things are different now. For the last year, I’ve been laboring to get my favorite novel. QUEEN HENRY, ready for self-publication. No, it’s not going to be on the shelves of Barnes and Noble, Books A Million, or on any library shelf. But it will be out there. If I get five readers, that will be five more than usually read my work. This time, there’s no maybe about it. As long as I’m still alive in 12 weeks, THIS IS GOING TO HAPPEN.

The same day I got the email from the agency, I’d spent the day making some final changes to QUEEN HENRY based on my latest editor’s feedback. I guess I was feeling especially productive and very attached to the material I was working on because I knew it was actually going somewhere come July. Suddenly, it just didn’t matter what the traditional publishing world thought of me because it was totally irrelevant.

The truth is that NOBODY knows what’s going to sell. Both traditional and self-publishers just make the best guess we can about what’s going to please the reader, but nobody knows for sure. The great thing is that, these days, a self-published author has just as much of a shot of being successful as a traditional published one. Sure, we may not sell as many copies as an author who’s backed by an agent and publisher, but we’re not forking over 80% of our profits, either. We don’t have to sell as many books to be successful. Since nobody knows what will sell, it makes sense for self-publishers to write the best book we can, release it to world, and then get to work on the next one. In the first one doesn’t sell, that sucks, but oh, well. There’s more where that came from. With traditional publishers, the door is slammed shut on 99% of writers before they even get a chance. Who knows how many bestsellers there could be in that large group of writers? It’s not really the publishers’ fault. It’s just business. It’s just not a particularly great business model anymore, which is why it’s failing…

Anyway.

It’s a good thing I didn’t care about what the literary agent thought of my work…

The truth is, they were actually quite complementary. They said it was really good, funny, well-written, and so forth. They said, however,  that it was in need of a “paid professional edit” and they were more than happy to provide their special editorial services. A quick look at their website for such services revealed their prices were about $1000.

At best, this is a conflict of interest.

At worst, it’s a scam.

Which means that the best response that I ever got from a literary agent, the time where they “almost” represented my first novel, was a total lie.

I should be devastated.

I’m not.

It’s a combination of world-weariness (15 years as a screenwriter, 5 years as a novelist) and optimism as a self-publisher, but I just don’t care. This is not the first time I’ve been jerked around by a so-called professional in the biz, but it just might be the last. My plan was to query agents with my future novels, and then just self-publish when they all get rejected. Now, I’m thinking maybe I won’t bother. I just don’t really give a damn what the “professionals” think any more. It’s not that JOYVILLE doesn’t need work – I’m sure it does. Being told by an agent that a book needs work is standard procedure. In fact, I would be suspicious of an agent that agree to take on a work “as is” without suggesting any revision. However, I’ve never heard of an agent saying you must pay for a professional edit. I’ve been writing for a long time and have been read by many agents and producers – no one has ever said my work was not professionally written. This agency just told me that the book needed work in order to be more age-appropriate for middle-graders. This is probably a valid viewpoint and one that I will take under serious consideration in the future if I decide to go forward with publishing the book myself. However, any agency that tells you that you must pay for an edit – and that they would be more than happy to take your money – is not to be trusted.

I found it so liberating that my gut reaction to receiving the email – even before reading it – was indifference. It’s not that I don’t care what anyone thinks. I’m in the process of having a couple of beta readers tear my second novel apart and for my own good. I care what they think because I care what my readers will ultimately think. It’s their ultimate opinions that matter the most. It’s just that the opinions of a few, highly selective traditional publishing folks stopped mattering to me somewhere along the way.

Cool.

I keep hearing Morgan Freeman’s voice in my head. “So you go on and stamp your form, sonny, and stop wasting my time. Because, to tell you the truth, I don’t give a shit.”

It’s time to let the readers decide.

- Linda Fausnet

Right-brained, Creative-type Plus Technology Equals HULK SMASH!!

April 10th, 2014

This article is part of my ongoing Wannabe Pride Self-Publishing blog series in preparation for publishing my novel, QUEEN HENRY, in July of 2014. Proceeds from this novel will go to the Harvey Milk Foundation. My author page is www.facebook.com/lindafausnet

 

13 Weeks Until Publication 

 

Hulk Writer

 

 

Well, I’ve spent countless hours in the last few weeks completely overhauling my basement office into the beautiful Wannabe Pride headquarters. I assure you, it’s really quite beautiful.

But you can’t see it.

At least until someone smarter and wiser arrives on the scene (paging my husband and sister!!)

I took pictures of my office to share with you on this site, but they are too large to upload and I have neither the time nor the patience to sit here for hours and figure it out. That’s time much better spent writing and editing, which is what I’m about to go do now.

This, my friends, is why I plan to spend money that I really do not have in order to pay a formatter to properly format QUEEN HENRY for e-book and print-on-demand. I simply cannot envision a scenario in which I could properly format my book myself without it ending in tears and smashed computer equipment. I know my limits. Technical crap is my limit. Can’t do it. Won’t do it.

And now, back to being my quirky and creative self.

Stay tuned next week for some Wannabe Pride photos.

Maybe.

- Linda Fausnet

On Commanding Respect as a Self-Publisher

April 3rd, 2014

This article is part of my ongoing Wannabe Pride Self-Publishing blog series in preparation for publishing my novel, QUEEN HENRY, in July of 2014. Proceeds from this novel will go to the Harvey Milk Foundation. My author page is www.facebook.com/lindafausnet

 

14 Weeks Until Publication 

 

grumpy-book_o_2346873

 

If you want to be taken seriously as a self-published author, you’re going to have to prove yourself worthy. People are going to assume you weren’t good enough to make it as a “real” author. People are going to think you didn’t work hard enough to call yourself an author. People are going to think that your writing isn’t as good as “real” published authors.

Far too often, they’re going to be right.

Being a self-published writer does not necessarily mean that you weren’t good enough to make it in the traditional publishing world. I was recently rejected by a “small” publisher that publishes 30 manuscripts annually. They receive 20,000 submissions each year…. This does not mean that 19,970 of those manuscripts were bad. Surely, some of them were, but an awful lot of truly great books are gonna go down with that ship. It’s not the publisher’s fault. That’s just business. Still, that kind of experience coupled with literary agents who state that they reject up to 99% of submissions makes me realize that any writer, even a truly great one, could live ten lifetimes and still never make it. That’s quite a depressing thought.

Enter self-publishing. Though self-published works rarely become blockbusters, there are plenty of opportunities out there for a midlist type of author who may not sell millions of books, but may sell enough to make some decent money. The trouble is that anybody and everybody can self-publish, so there are an awful lot of people out there who fancy themselves authors and who have absolutely no intention of learning the craft. How hard can it be to write a good book, right?

If you’re a real writer, self-published or traditionally agented/published, you should be rolling your eyes right now. We all know people like that. People who “have a book in them” and reason that they can just sit down and write said book and upload it to Amazon and wait for the money to roll in. “Writers” like that make me crazy because they make all self-published authors look bad. I am passionate about promoting indie writers and helping them get the exposure that they weren’t able to get from traditional publishers, but some of these writers make it awfully hard. I follow thousands of writers on Twitter and I’m always looking for good indie books to read and promote. On average, I have to click on four or five self-published books to find one that’s not awful. The first step is to read the description or blurb that describes the book. Far more often than not, the blurb contains choppy writing, run-on sentences, and incorrect grammar. To quote Saturday Night Live’s critic Jebediah Atkinson – NEXT! If the blurb is bad, the book will be worse. If the blurb looks okay, I will then go ahead and download the free sample and skim that with a very critical eye. I imagine this is what literary agents and publishers do. Skim the writing sample quickly and at the first sign of trouble…NEXT!  I refuse to waste my time with bad writing and so will any of your potential readers.

If you are going to be a self-publisher, I implore you to do it right. You must do your homework before you decide to publish any of your writing. If you’re new to this whole writing gig, it is imperative that you read as many books in your chosen genre as possible, as well as nonfiction books on the craft of writing before you even begin to write your first book. Then, after you’ve done lots of reading and writing, it is vital that you find one or more critique partners to tell you the truth about your work and who will point out flaws that you simply cannot see. Following these steps is really the only way to give yourself the best shot at success. Otherwise, you are wasting your time.

You’re also wasting mine.

With the influx of truly bad writing being published every day, I am no longer simply competing with writers who are better than me. I’m also competing with lazy writers who didn’t bother to put in any time or effort into their work. I may be willing to wade through a bunch of bad writing samples in order to find a good one that I can promote, but you can bet that most readers won’t have that kind of patience. The average reader might click through two bad self-published books and then say NEXT! and head to the library and the bookstore. Can you blame them?

What happens if a reader clicks through two bad books and gives up? They’re never going to get to mine, that’s what. I can damn well guarantee you that I did my homework, paid an editor, and, while my book may not be 100% perfect, it was professionally written.

I didn’t just wake up one morning and decide I was gonna be a writer. I started out wanting to be a screenwriter, so I spent about a YEAR reading screenplays and books on how to write a screenplay. Then guess what happened? My first screenplay was optioned by a production company in Los Angeles (Mega Films, Inc.). It was optioned again later by another company (Runaway Productions). Years later, when I decided to try writing novels, I spent several months reading books on how to write fiction and I read dozens of middle-grade novels. I did this even though I was simply adapting the aforementioned screenplay into a novel and already had the entire plot and characters worked out. I had several agents look at the book, and one even expressed serious interest in representing me.

Now, when I’m finally getting ready to self-publish my debut novel, you damn well better believe I did my homework. QUEEN HENRY was also a screenplay first (and a finalist in a national screenwriting competition). I wrote and revised the novel for at least a year until I finally got it right. Then, when I decided to publish, I gave myself an entire additional year to learn the self-publishing process so I could hopefully do it right.

It’s hard to be patient, but I believe it ultimately pays off. This is why it makes me so angry when I see people who simply do not take the process seriously. Writing is my passion in life, and I have little patience for people who refuse to give the craft the respect that it deserves.

It’s a real uphill battle to be taken seriously as self-published authors, and the lazy hacks are making us all look bad.

I want to help promote indie authors, but only if they’ve done their homework and have respect for the craft.

To be successful as a self-published author, you must command respect by writing a quality, entertaining novel that is professional written and free from errors.

Once you’ve done that, contact me. I’ll help you promote the hell out of it.

-       Linda Fausnet

New Company Logo!

March 27th, 2014

This article is part of my ongoing Wannabe Pride Self-Publishing blog series in preparation for publishing my novel, QUEEN HENRY, in July of 2014. Proceeds from this novel will go to the Harvey Milk Foundation. My author page is www.facebook.com/lindafausnet

15 Weeks Until Publication

Introducing my new Wannabe Pride logo!! The flames are an homage to Back to the Future, which inspired me to become a writer. (I was a screenwriter before I was a novelist.)

 My Love Letter to Back to the Future on Its 25 Anniversary

 

WannabePride logo 4-2

Logo designed by Evan Lerman.

 

Self-Publishing Means Never Having to Say Goodbye

March 20th, 2014

This article is part of my ongoing Wannabe Pride Self-Publishing blog series in preparation for publishing my novel, QUEEN HENRY, in July of 2014. Proceeds from this novel will go to the Harvey Milk Foundation. My author page is www.facebook.com/lindafausnet

 

16 Weeks Until Publication

cry

 

Manuscripts which are written for traditional publishing only have a Sell By date. It doesn’t matter how long you spent writing the book, because once you’ve exhausted the lengthy yet finite list of literary agents and publishers to submit to, it’s game over if nobody bites. All that work and the book is shelved forever, never to be read again. When It’s Time to Permanently Shelve Your Unpublished Novel.

It’s a hard thing, letting go of a story. Nobody but the writer will ever really know what it was like to write the book. What it was like to come up with the idea – that moment when you light up and realize you’ve suddenly been grabbed by your next Big Idea. The hours that it took getting to know the characters and breathing life into them. The songs that you listened to that fit with your story and will always remind you of that book whenever you hear one of those songs for the rest of your life. The moments of the story that made you laugh, made you cry, made you feel.

It’s hard when the day comes and you’re forced to accept that these characters you loved and the story you slaved over are destined to exist only in your mind. The final agent has rejected the story. There are no publishers left on the list anymore. It’s time to say goodbye to that book forever.

I’m preparing to go through that with my latest middle-grade novel. It’s nearly impossible to market a book to younger children online via self-publishing, so it’s traditional publishing or nothing for this one. There is one literary agent reviewing the story now, but I’ve been doing this writing thing long enough to know how this story is going to end. And it’s going to end soon. I was working on this baseball book last summer as my son played little league for the first time. It’s a baseball novel about a female coach managing a bunch of lovable misfit players, and I had a blast watching my son play and feeling inspired about my book. There were lots of great baseball songs I loved to listen to, as well as general rock songs that fit well with my book. The main character’s theme song (in my mind) is She’s So Mean by Matchbox Twenty. It’s been wonderful listening to those songs while I went on long walks, brainstorming about my book. It was especially fun blasting those songs at full volume in celebration of finally completing the novel. Now, hearing those songs is tinged with sadness. I’ve sent out 70 queries with one acceptance and 21 rejections. Many of those other agents will simply reject the novel with their silence.

It’s almost over for this novel. My son starts baseball again soon. As I watch him play, I’ll remember my novel, the characters, the story, the experience, knowing that few other people will ever know anything about it.

Very special thanks to my parents and sister who are always quick to read my books. My mother, in particular, breaks speed records when it comes to reading my novel the moment I send it to her. She pretty much gets the final draft, since I know she will tell me it’s wonderful no matter what and won’t tell me the truth about it (That’s okay. That’s her job as my mom, and I love her for it!).

My husband and kids are a different matter.

My wonderful husband is generally supportive, but hates to read (odd couple much??) and won’t even make an exception in my case. Seriously, this last book is for nine-year-olds. He can’t even handle that? I read my last middle-grade novel, RAIN ON THE WATER, out loud to my son and daughter. Though they claimed they wanted me to read this one to them, when the time came, they decided they’d rather play Minecraft.

Not gonna lie. I cried over that. A lot. My husband comforted me and told me “they’re just children”. I don’t care. It hurt. When I wrote this novel, I had my kids in mind. There are jokes in there that I knew they would get when I read the book aloud to them. Now I’ll never get that chance.

Times like this make me want to shake my husband and children by the shoulders and cry out “Don’t you understand? You might be the ONLY people who will ever read this! All that work and now it’s all over!”

They just don’t get it and they never will. I have no choice but to accept that and move on.

I get tired of saying goodbye. QUEEN HENRY was the first story with characters who really grabbed me by the heart and absolutely refused to let go. YOU ARE NOT SHELVING US, they told me. NOT THIS TIME. QUEEN HENRY was the one story that I just could not let go of. Why I Decided to Self-Publish My Novel. 

That’s why it will be my debut published novel.

I’m pretty sure THE JOYVILLE SWEAT SOX will be my last middle-grade novel (unless, by some miracle, an agent decides to represent it). From now on, I’m going to focus on writing adult fiction.

It is my hope to never write another novel that I don’t plan to publish. Stories are meant to be shared, so thank goodness for self-publishing. I’ll do my best to promote my books and get them read as far and wide as possible, but if only a handful of people purchase and read them, at least my stories have reached out to others in some small way.

I don’t want to say goodbye any more.

-       Linda Fausnet

There is a P.S. to this story : I wrote this blog article last week. Since then, my son decided to start reading THE JOYVILLE SWEAT SOX. He is supposed to read for 20 minutes a day for homework, so now he’s reading my book. He’s read the first chapter so far. He sat at the kitchen table reading it, and then looked up at me with surprise and said “This is FUNNY!”

So I guess there is kind of happy ending to this after all…

 

 

Traditional and Self-Publishing – There’s Room for All of Us on the Shelf

March 13th, 2014

This article is part of my ongoing Wannabe Pride Self-Publishing blog series in preparation for publishing my novel, QUEEN HENRY, in July of 2014. Proceeds from this novel will go to the Harvey Milk Foundation. My author page is www.facebook.com/lindafausnet

17 Weeks Until Publication

 

book-meme2

There’s no question that there are pros and cons for both traditional publishing and self-publishing. With traditional publishers, you have the validation of a big publisher and all the publicity and exposure that goes with it. However, you also have a very short shelf life. If your book doesn’t sell well quickly, it may be pulled from the shelves within a matter of weeks. Not so with self-publishing, where you have all the time you want for book to gain traction. It may not sell well at first, but within a year or more you could be quite successful as word of mouth spreads.

There are some in the traditional publishing world who look down on self-published authors, while there are those indie writers who think traditional agents and publishers are snooty and antiquated. My feeling is that there really is room in the book market for both types of writers and publishers. Traditional publishers are very much bestseller-oriented because they have to be. It’s the nature of the business. After all, they have to pay the agent and the distributor and shoulder the costs of cover design, multiple edits, publicity, and so forth. If they don’t sell an awful lot of copies, they will simply lose money. That being said, just as not every Hollywood movie is destined to be a blockbuster hit, not every book is going to be a bestseller. A bestseller has to appeal to the masses, and not every book is designed to do that. My debut novel, QUEEN HENRY, is all about LGBT equality. Sadly, an awful lot of people aren’t going to like that topic. Certain types of Christians and super-conservative people aren’t going to want anything to do with my book. If you watch the news, you’ll see that number hovers close to 50% of the population at times, though support for equality does continue to rise. Still, traditional publishers wanted no part of my book because they knew it was not likely to be a huge bestseller.

It’s unlikely that I will sell millions of copies of QUEEN HENRY, but as a self-publisher I don’t need to. I don’t have anywhere near the overheard for my book as big publishers do. Sure, I paid for a professional cover and an editor, but I don’t have to pay for a bunch of copies of a book that may or may not sell. That’s what POD (print on demand) is for. I’m not paying an agent (sorry ladies and gents. You had your chance…) and I will keep a far higher percentage of the sales than I would with a traditional publisher (though in the case of QUEEN HENRY, all of the proceeds will be going to the Harvey Milk Foundation).

The fact is, there is room on the virtual shelf for both the James Pattersons, the Danielle Steeles, and for my little gay book that nobody wanted. There are lots of LGBT people and allies out there who would be happy to read my book (I hope).

Ideally, both traditional publishers and self-publishers can learn to coexist peacefully. The best advice I can offer is to respect traditional agents and publishers because they’ve been doing this a lot longer than we have, and for the most part, they are quite knowledgeable of the literary field. For self-publishers, commit yourself to excellence. Don’t be a hack. Study. Learn the craft. Revise, revise, revise. Respect traditional publishers, but don’t sit around waiting on them to tell you that you’re good enough to publish your work. 

- Linda Fausnet

Critiques – You CAN Handle the Truth – The Road to Self-Publishing

March 6th, 2014

This article is part of my ongoing Wannabe Pride Self-Publishing blog series in preparation for publishing my novel, QUEEN HENRY, in July of 2014. Proceeds from this novel will go to the Harvey Milk Foundation. My author page is www.facebook.com/lindafausnet

18 Weeks Until Publication

 The single most important thing that separates professional writers from amateurs is the willingness to have their work critiqued. It’s the hardest part of being a writer and it’s also the most important step toward completing a well-written book. When I pick up a book from the library, I know that the book has been through dozens of revisions and has been seen by many pairs of eyes. When I pick up a self-published book, I have no idea how many times the book has been edited or even if it has been reviewed or edited at all. I can tell pretty quickly, though, and so can the rest of your readers.

It’s not just about the grammar, though. I recently read – or at least I started to read – a self-published book that was perfectly grammatically correct, but it was almost entirely telling and not showing. At least the entire first chapter was like that and that’s when I gave up on reading it. No editor or beta reader worth her salt would have let that slide. The story had a good plot to start of with – a bride-to-be was left at the altar when her fiance ran off with her best friend.

Good drama, right?

Except the author forgot one thing.

The drama.

The author glossed over all of the action of the inciting incident. She just described it all as if it was something that happened already, robbing the reader of the chance to go through the emotions – and thus empathize – with the main character. The rest of the chapter went on the same way. The character told us how she had to cancel all the wedding vendors and then went on her honeymoon alone. That situation is SO rich with potential emotion and drama. What would it feel like to have to call and cancel the church, the caterer, the flowers for your wedding when you know the groom left you for your best friend? Show us! Have us go through those agonizing phone calls with her. Make us feel something!

This author has talent and definite potential, but she really needed to flesh out the story. Grammar and spelling errors are always the most obvious mistakes, but editors and beta readers also help point out plot and character problems that you as the writer cannot possibly see, no matter how experienced a writer you might be.

Being told the harsh truth about what’s wrong with your manuscript and then putting in a lot of hard work to fix it is the only way to produce a truly great story.

Read that last sentence as many times as you need to in order to be convinced.

The bad news is that sometimes those critiques are going to hurt. They’re going to force you to see weaknesses in your writing that you were completely oblivious to before. You might find out that your characters aren’t quite as lovable as you thought they were and your exciting plot might actually be slow and predictable. Frankly, it sucks to be told that your story isn’t working.

There is good news, though:

1. First and foremost, know that you can handle the truth about  your writing. Yes, it will hurt, but you will get over it.

2. Stressing over getting critiqued is often worse than getting the actual review, even if the review isn’t great.

3. You only have to implement the changes that your really believe need to be made. Reviewers are human and they are prone to subjective views.

4. You will not believe how much better your manuscript becomes after revisions. After you get over the sting of the negative comments and you start revising, you’ll get excited at how much better your book is getting.

5. In the end, you’ll likely not even remember what was initially said about your manuscript after you’ve made lots of revisions. If you show trusted editors and reviewers your manuscript BEFORE finalizing the story, it simply doesn’t matter if they hated it at first. That was then. This is now. The final, vastly improved manuscript is all that matters in the end.

6. If you subject yourself to the scary process of inviting a few people to essentially tear apart your work, thus allowing yourself the chance to rebuild it again, you’ll feel much more confident when submitting the final product to agents, publishers, or when you publish the book yourself. Tastes vary and you won’t be immune to bad reader reviews, but you will greatly reduce the chances of getting negative reviews of your work. You will also vastly improve your chances of getting glowing reviews, which will make all the hurt and pain well worth it.

If you want to be considered a professional author, you must be brave enough to submit your work for honest and potentially brutal critiques. You’ve put a lot of heart and hard work into creating your story and characters, and you owe it to yourself to make your story the best it can possibly be.

Believe me. I’ve been there. It took me a long time, but I took QUEEN HENRY from being a terrible story to being a writing contest finalist story. I loved my story and characters, and I refused to do anything less than my absolute best.

You can handle it.

I believe in you.

You’re stronger than you think.

- Linda Fausnet

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

19 Weeks Until Publication – The Road to Self-Publishing

February 27th, 2014

This article is part of my ongoing Wannabe Pride Self-Publishing blog series in preparation for publishing my novel, QUEEN HENRY, in July of 2014. Proceeds from this novel will go to the Harvey Milk Foundation. My author page is www.facebook.com/lindafausnet

 

medium_You_should_be_writing_meme

19 Weeks Until Publication 

Wow, 19 weeks. Can’t believe it’s in the teens now! It seems so soon, and yet there’s still so much to do to get Queen Henry ready to go. I have to get an ISBN, a formatter, find a printer, and lots of other stuff.

And yes, per the meme above, I should be writing. However, this week I’ve spent most of my writing time sending out query letters for my middle grade novel. I sent out 70 letters to literary agents. As of it this writing, I’ve gotten 9 rejections (no big deal) and one acceptance!

We’ll see what happens with that.

Sorry for the boring status update, but it’s been a busy week!

- Linda Fausnet

 

 

Celebrating a Win, If Just for Today – The Road to Self-Publishing

February 20th, 2014

This article is part of my ongoing Wannabe Pride Self-Publishing blog series in preparation for publishing my novel, QUEEN HENRY, in July of 2014. Proceeds from this novel will go to the Harvey Milk Foundation. My author page is www.facebook.com/lindafausnet

 

20 Weeks Until Publication 

 

FreeClipart_Fireworks_01

Well, I’ve just finished yet another FDFN of another novel – my fourth. FDFN stands for Final Draft For Now because I really don’t believe in final drafts.  The “for now” means that you really never stop rewriting a novel until it’s either published and too late to change anything or you decide to shelve the novel forever.  FDFN means the novel has been critiqued by others and rewritten over and over to the point where it is as good as I can possibly make it. The next step is send query letters to literary agents and publishers to see if anyone will bite. Typically, a handful of literary agents will request a few sample chapters. Most of the time, they will reject the novel at that point, though some might request to read the rest of the novel first. If I’m lucky, the agents who ultimately reject the book will give me some kind of critique, some kind of reason why they are passing on the project. That’s where the “for now” part of the final draft comes in. If an agent or publisher gives me some helpful pointers on what they found lacking, I can then open up the novel and do some more rewrites.

Now that I’m starting my own self-publishing business, most of my books don’t have to end at that point. I plan to still run all my books through the traditional publishing route, pile up the rejections, and then go publish the book myself. I know that sound like a negative attitude, but to quote Dr. Phil, “this ain’t my first rodeo”. I know how this story is likely to end, at least with traditional publishers and agents. I’ve been told numerous times, by both movie producers and literary agents, that my writing is good. Very good, in fact. They just don’t think my particular projects will sell. Yeah. That’s code for – we think your work is good, but we don’t think you’re going to be a blockbuster, breakout author, so we’re gonna pass. That’s the way traditional publishing works – there is very little room for midlist authors whose books might sell, but won’t sell as much as J.K. Rowling or Nora Roberts. For most of my books, I’ll go the query route first because I really don’t have much to lose, except for some time and a small amount of postage money. So, I figure, why not query on the off chance that I’ll get an agent this time? Then I’ll just go an publish the book myself.

Not this time, though.

As I mentioned in earlier blogs, my current novel is for middle-graders aged 9-12. It would be nearly impossible to market it as a self-published book. Unfortunately, that means that this book’s life will end after the query process if nobody bites.  Which brings me to the point of this article.

It’s very important to me to celebrate the completion of the Final Draft For Now. It’s a big deal, at least to me. There are thousands of people, maybe more, who say they want to write a book but relatively few actually do. I actually do it. I finish what I start, even though it’s not always easy. I write when I feel like it and I write when I don’t. I believe it’s very important to take a little time to celebrate the accomplishment of completing another book before the world steps in and tears it apart. Right now, the book is finished and nobody knows what will happen next. Most likely and despite any praise it might get from agents and publishers, it will be mostly rejection that lies ahead. That’s later. Right now, I finished another book and I believe that it’s good.

That means It’s Time for Peach Schnapps and Drag Queens, my traditional way of celebrating when I complete an FDFN . I learned the hard way not to send a single query letter out before I do my celebrating. In this digital age, it’s possible to get a rejection letter in under five minutes. QUEEN HENRY was rejected a LOT (everybody said the book would not sell because it’s gay-themed) before I got the chance to celebrate the fact that I finished it, and I swore I would never let that happen again. It’s very important to take a couple of hours just to celebrate before the world gets in the way.

So this Friday night you know where I’ll be and what I’ll be drinking.

Cheers!

-          Linda Fausnet

Starting My Publishing Business – The Road to Self-Publishing

February 13th, 2014

This article is part of my ongoing Wannabe Pride Self-Publishing blog series in preparation for publishing my novel, QUEEN HENRY, in July of 2014. Proceeds from this novel will go to the Harvey Milk Foundation. My author page is www.facebook.com/lindafausnet

 

under_construction

21 Weeks Until Publication

Well, I looked into establishing Wannabe Pride as an LLC, but it looks like that plan is a no-go. As it turns out, I’d have to pay $300 per year just for the privilege of filing taxes. As optimistic as I’m trying to be about my writing business being successful, I worry that I’ll barely even make $300 profit, especially in the first few years. (All the proceeds from QUEEN HENRY will be going to the Harvey Milk Foundation of course, but I’m sure it will also take time for my subsequent novels to take off and actually turn a profit).

So! I still want to make my publishing a “real” business, so it looks like I’m going with the sole proprietorship method. File the company name, get a Tax ID#, and we’re good to go.

I’m in the process of overhauling the Wannabe Pride website / Facebook page, and I’ve hired the same wonderful designer who did my QUEEN HENRY cover to design my new Wannabe Pride logo. Looking forward to sharing my new and improved website and logo with you very soon!

 - Linda Fausnet