Why am I self-publishing my debut novel Baby Grand? In short, because it feels right.
As many of you know, I’m no stranger to the commercial book world. In addition to being a professional writer/editor for more than 20 years (I’ve had freelance articles written in Newsday, CNNMoney.com, etc.), I served as the “with” writer for the nonfiction title Good Girls Don’t Get Fat (Harlequin, October 2010), authored by Dr. Robyn Silverman, contributed text for the upcoming dessert cookbook, Brown Betty (Wiley, October 2012) and am currently editing a book for a 2012 release. Traditional publishing was something I had always considered for my first novel, simply because that’s the world I worked in professionally.
In January 2010, Stonesong in NYC signed-up Baby Grand, and, after I finished the first draft of the manuscript and three rounds of revisions, we started querying selected publishers last year. When the rejections started trickling in, as they do (as a freelance writer who’s spent many years querying editors, although rejections always sting, you learn that they’re part of the business), I found the nature of the rejections intriguing – some editors just weren’t crazy about the book for one reason or another, which is fine, and others really liked it, but blamed other factors (genre-crossing, etc.) in their reluctance to sign it, which is fine too.
But I have to tell you: The process was frustrating me, especially the waiting. And there’s lots of waiting involved in traditional publishing, mostly because agents and editors have to read your manuscript – and they’ve got lots of manuscripts to read. The thing is, I was willing to wait, had been planning on waiting (although it’s kind of like parenting – you know it’s going to be hard, but don’t really know how hard it is until you’re there, in the middle of the night, wiping up vomit). But I started to question exactly what I was waiting for.
It’s a very exciting time to be in publishing right now. The explosion of eBooks. The rise of self-publishing and of social media marketing. Still, at the same time, commercial houses have pulled back on marketing efforts and have decreased or eliminated author advances. Although I truly believe that all it takes is for one person to fall in love with your novel and send you on your way – and finding that one person can take days, weeks or years – I started to think about what would be waiting for me when I found that person at the end of this traditionally published road. I wondered whether the payoff would be worth the wait. And I decided that for me, and for this particular book, the answer was no.
As I move forward, Stonesong is wholeheartedly supporting me in this decision, which, I can’t say enough, is amazing. I feel like I have the best of both worlds – I’m doing this on my own, but not by myself.
As I wrote in a blog post titled, Why I’m Not Self-Publishing ‘Baby Grand,’ & Why I Would, back in June 2011:
…if down the road, Baby Grand doesn’t find a home, or a deal falls apart, I would certainly consider self-publishing.
And so I am. Is this the right decision? Should I have stuck it out? Who knows. All I know is that it feels right. And that’s good enough for me.