The Road to Self-Publishing : Excitement and Liberation

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.

 

51 WEEKS UNTIL PUBLICATION

This week I’ve decided on a release date. It will be Monday, July 14, 2014. 7-14-14. Since my main character is a major league baseball player, I’ve decided to make him #14 in honor of the occasion. The occasion is not only my publication date, but it will also be the week of my 20th anniversary as a writer. I would have loved to make Henry #20 instead, but he plays for the Baltimore Orioles and #20 is one of the five numbers that have been retired for the team (thank you, Frank Robinson).

Speaking of the Orioles, I sent MLB an official request for permission to use the Orioles in my novel. I don’t know if they will grant me permission or if they will reply at all. I informed them that, of course, I would not use any MLB trademarks or images and that I would be glad to use a disclaimer or whatever. I told them that, though I would not be using the Orioles in any derogatory manner, there was definitely the potential for controversy given that the novel was about a gay player. Given the MLB’s recent inclusive policy about sexual orientation,  I would hope they would have a hard time saying no. I’ll keep you posted…

I’ve been busy this week with doing one final edit on QUEEN HENRY before sending it to two different editors and telling them to rip apart my story – and my heart in the process – for the good of the novel. More on that fun stuff next week.

This week, overall, I’ve been feeling pretty good about the whole self-publishing thing. As I’ve mentioned in previous blogs, I’ve decided to celebrate my 20th anniversary as a hardworking-yet-still-undiscovered/unpublished/unloved writer. I am feeling such liberation in knowing that, this time, I WILL be published. I’m no longer sitting back and waiting for somebody else to come along and tell me that I’m good enough. I’m not waiting for a publisher or agent to tell me when, if ever, I’ll get my chance. It’s a wonderful feeling to know that every bit of hard work I’m doing now is being put to good use. Everything I learn about publishing, every line that I edit, every step I take is going to lead to the publication of my favorite story. It’s not “if” anymore. It’s “when”. When is July 14, 2014.

While I haven’t given up the dream of traditional publishing, that’s definitely on the back burner right now. I still have query letters pending for other novels, which means I still get rejection letters coming in. I got three this week. It still hurts. It always does. It is freeing to know I’m no longer waiting on somebody else to tell me I’m good enough, but still – it means that nobody has told me that I’m good enough. The painful truth of self-publishing, at least for me, is forging ahead without that validation. Without somebody telling me I’m good enough.

It’s been twenty years. Maybe I’m not good enough. If I was, shouldn’t I have made it by now?

Maybe. But not necessarily. The truth is, NOBODY KNOWS what’s going to be successful. Publishers and agents just make their best guess. About a dozen publishers turned down Harry Potter, but it’s doubtful that the publisher who did run with it had any idea of how phenomenal the success of the franchise would be. Ditto for Fifty Shades of Grey. Disney sure as hell didn’t know the new Lone Ranger movie was going to lose over $150 million. Books and movies hit bank or tank all the time. Nobody really knows how or why. It’s impossible to tell.

Still, it’s frightening to venture off on your own into uncharted territory. QUEEN HENRY is definitely the little story that nobody wanted. My screenplay version got terrible reviews until I spent years revising it and getting it right. After that, it got pretty good reviews. Still, it’s not coming to a theater near you anytime soon. In novel form, nobody would touch it. It’s gay, so it won’t sell. This is what I was told. Repeatedly.

Maybe they’re right.

Maybe draq queens and gay sports players and male/male relationships aren’t the most popular topics out there. I do worry about how publishing such a potentially controversial topic will go over. I worry about my family. They have been endlessly supportive of my work and my writing, but it’s not like my parents can brag to their friends or my husband can boast to his buddies at work about how proud he is of his wife, the author who’s publishing a book about a gay baseball player that contains bad language and sexual content.

I do believe there is a niche market out there. Maybe not a big one, but it’s there. There are bound to be some LGBT people and straight allies who would embrace a sweet, funny, hopefully heartwarming story about a man who learns an important lesson about love and life when he falls for another man.

I saw Field of Dreams  the other night in a local movie theater. Now there’s a movie all about dreams. It’s all about people who came unbelievably close to touching their dreams – only to fall short. That is, until Ray Kinsella is able to give them one final chance to fulfill their dream.

That’s what I’m going. I’m going to touch my dream. For nineteen years, traditional publishers and agents had their shot.

Now it’s my turn.

 

How to Self-Publish Your Book – Wannabe Pride How-To Series

Books, too

In case you missed it, I recently announced that I will be self-publishing my novel, QUEEN HENRY, in July of 2014 after many years of being a Wannabe writer. Though I have been told by industry professionals that my work has a strong chance of publication, so far it hasn’t happened so I am taking matters into my own hands.

The thing is, I don’t know the FIRST THING about self-publishing. However, I am very serious about my craft. I’ve never done anything halfway and I’m not about to start now. I plan on reading, researching, and learning as much as humanly possible about self-publishing before I finally launch my book next summer. Therefore, I have decided to do a yearlong series on my blog on self-publishing so I can pass along what I learn to others who are looking to learn about the whole “indie author” process. Please note that, when I refer to “self-publishing”, I am referring to independent authors who may hire freelancers to help with editing, cover design, formatting, and so forth, but who are not actually hiring a publishing company to publish their work.

Over the next year, I plan on blogging about the following topics, plus more that I probably haven’t even thought about yet:

* Editing (Developmental editing, copyediting, proofreading)

* Cover Design

* E-publishing

* Paperback / Hardback publishing

* Pricing Your Book

* Promoting Your Book

* Book Reviews

I hope you will join me on my journey toward self-publishing! Comments, suggestions, and ideas are always welcome!

-Linda Fausnet

Empowering Wannabes and Those Who Love Them

 

books

Today, please welcome Guest Blogger Rick Karlsruher. Rick has over thirty years of international marketing and management experience. Over the years, he has also delved into writing several times. His comedy writing was supported by legends like Laugh-In’s Dick Martin and National Lampoon’s Matty Simmons. A few years ago he wrote a book called A Story Almost Told . His experiences in trying to get it published led him to create Noveltunity® to help others have a better chance to have their voices heard.  

Everyone is a Wannabe at something, sometime in their lives. If you haven’t been a Wannabe, you aren’t trying hard enough.

Like I’ve told kids I’ve coached in basketball, “You never make a shot you don’t take.”

I want to start out by thanking Linda for having the courage, foresight and willingness to have fun to create Wannabe Pride! It was a long time coming.

Let’s get to why I’m here.

Some think this is the best time ever to be a writer. Anyone can start a blog. Anyone can write an ebook. Anyone can sell anything on the internet. Anyone can post a book on Smashwords, Goodreads, Shelfari, Amazon, etc.

Everything but the first sentence is true. But because of the rest being true, this is one of the hardest times to be a writer. Everyone who has ever written a poem to a fourth grade crush now thinks they are Hemmingway or Aaron Sorkin or John Legend.

Can this be fixed?

We can’t fix it all. With your help, we will fix some of it.

I’ve created Noveltunity® (take a look here for more info ) to fix part of it. We’re going to help dozens of Wannabes get a better shot each year. We are going to empower readers to help the writers.

What is Noveltunity®? We will be the world’s first ebook/audio book club that exclusively features new/undiscovered (Wannabes) authors.

After the first few months, we will empower our members to vote on and choose the selections.

Our writers and readers/members will directly interact with each other. They will get to know each other and support one another.

As we grow, writers, readers and media will come to our local national and international events.

The way to get power is to take it. We can take the power by working together to help Wannabe writers reach their goals.

We would love to hear from you. Tell us what you think. Tell us how to make things better. It would be greatly appreciated if you could share our story with your friends and social media.

Over the past month, I’ve started a slow rollout. The response has been remarkably positive. People from over twenty-five countries on every continent except Antarctica have written, tweeted or called to express their interest in helping Wannabes.

We’re about to launch a crowd funding campaign on www.rockethub.com. The perks will be fun and you’ll be empowering us all.

Noveltunity® will only work with your help. We can make some dreams come true and make social media truly social. You can create new stars and make new friends around the world.

Contact me directly with any questions, suggestions or just to say “Hi”. My email is rick@noveltunity.com or follow me on Twitter @Noveltunity.

Thanks! Let’s make Wannabes rule together!

Why I Decided to Self-Publish My Novel

 

Little Red Hen

I guess there were lots of reasons I decided to self-publish after all these years. I think the #1 reason was that I wrote a novel that I couldn’t bear the idea of not getting published. It’s kind of like the wonderful speech the best man, Steve, gave at our wedding. When my husband was going to propose to me, Steve said he advised him “the thing you have to ask yourself is – can I spend the rest of my life with this woman?” to which Bill replied, “The question is, could I spend the rest of my life without her?”

Is Bill the best or what??

I began asking myself – can I spend the rest of my life without getting this particular novel published?

As a writer whose ultimate goal was to be traditionally published, I’ve written a lot of books that I knew might never see the light of day. I’ve spent months – even years – researching, planning, outlining, writing, rewriting, getting critiqued, rewriting again, perfecting, and polishing books that, quite possibly, no one would ever read. I poured my heart, soul, and every ounce of emotion that I could muster into those tales knowing full well that my stories and my characters might languish on the shelf collecting dust for all eternity. There’s a long list of agents and publishers to query to try to get these novels read and published, but it is a finite list. Sooner or later, I do come to the end of it. When I reach the end of the line and I still have no agent to represent me and no publisher to publish it, it’s all over for that particular novel. There’s just nothing more that I can do for it.

I’ve come close – maddeningly close – to getting an agent, but so far I’m still unagented. Unpublished. But that’s okay.

Or is it?

I was approaching a dubious anniversary. July of 2014 marked my 20th anniversary as a still unagented and unpublished writer. Now to be fair, I was a screenwriter for 15 of those years. This is pretty much an exercise in futility if you live 3000 miles away from an industry that is nearly 100% based on who you know. Still, I did manage to get two screenplays optioned with production companies in Los Angeles. I’ve really only been writing novels since 2009, so it really isn’t that terrible that I still don’t have an agent. I had a New York City agent read one of my novels and tell me that she did want to represent me, but her current caseload wouldn’t allow it. She told me that my novel “has an excellent chance of publication” and that she “enjoyed it immensely”. This may not sound like a big deal, but when you’ve been around as long as I have, you know that agents don’t say that kind of thing unless they really mean it. I was getting closer.

Still. Twenty years is an awfully long time to invest in something that hasn’t exactly panned out yet. For the most part, I’m okay with the wannabe life. It’s hard as hell to get an agent or get published, but I work hard as hell and I’m not giving up. So there you have it.

But yet…

I turned my favorite screenplay – QUEEN HENRY – into my favorite novel of the same name. I’ve always loved the story and the characters. I wrote the novel several years ago and I swear, I still hear Henry’s voice in my head. I’ve written three novels since then, but nothing I’ve written has ever resonated in my head and in my heart the way that story still does. It’s the story of a homophobic, macho, major league baseball player who takes part in a clinical drug trial to treat his asthma and the experimental drug has an unusual side effect: it makes him gay. At first, Henry is horrified to suddenly be attracted to men instead of women. Then he falls in love with a wonderful man and learns the important lesson that love really is love after all.

Believe me, that’s story’s been through a lot of changes over the years.

I got the worst reviews of my life when I first queried with the screenplay version. I mean, just bloody awful, terrible, no-good reviews that absolutely ripped out my heart. But I couldn’t bear to give up on my story. I rewrote the screenplay over and over and over again, working with a respected industry script analyst. I battled my way back and eventually QUEEN HENRY was a finalist in a small but national screenplay contest. They referred to the script as a “fun and uplifting story that combines baseball, homosexuality, and peach schnapps.” This was huge victory for me. Sure, it was a small contest and I was just a finalist, but it truly was an amazing accomplishment considering how bad the story was in the beginning. I loved the story so much that I stuck with it, refusing to give up. In the end, I finally got the story right.

Then, after I wrote the novel, I queried everywhere and got the worst response rate for anything I’d ever written. No one wanted any part of it. Every agent I queried told me that it wouldn’t sell because it’s a gay-themed story. No one even gave it chance. Not even a look. Just a NO when they found out what the story was about. But I found I still couldn’t bear to give up on it.

I had my heart set on traditionally publishing, but that’s just not going to happen with this novel. So, I could just put QUEEN HENRY back on the shelf and watch it gather dust, or…

I’m reminded of the story of the little red hen. She asks and asks and nobody will help her plant, harvest, mill, or bake the grain of wheat into bread. “Then I will do it myself,” said the little red hen.

That’s why I decided that, in July of 2014 on my 20th anniversary of being a wannabe writer, I was going to publish QUEEN HENRY for the following damn good reasons:

1. I want to prove to the world that a “gay-themed” story will sell.

2, I want to donate all of the proceeds to the Harvey milk Foundation.

3. I can’t live without publishing this novel.

No one would help the little red-headed writer write, edit, rewrite, polish, publish, or promote her book.

“Then I will do it myself,” said the little red-headed writer.

And she did.

QUEEN HENRY, now available at the following retailers:

Amazon eBook 

Paperback

Smashwords

Barnes and Noble

 

* All proceeds net of taxes will go to the Harvey Milk Foundation **

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