Why I’m Self-Publishing ‘Baby Grand’

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.

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16 thoughts on “Why I’m Self-Publishing ‘Baby Grand’

  1. Dina, I’ve been meaning to respond to this for days now, but life got in the way. I am so happy that you’ve come to the decision to go indie! It’s a lot of work, but you are clearly up to the challenge—and fun—of it all. Congratulations! I can’t wait to get my hands on your novel!

  2. Dina,

    I have carefully read your note about why you are self-publishing. I’m glad you’re not waiting around like I did. I spent a good decade waiting for that one person to say “yes.” And even though I eventually got my yes, the truth is that I still had to do most, if not all, the marketing anyway.

    That was back in 2008 and much has changed. I am behind you one hundred percent. Will do my best to help you spread the word.

    I am so looking forward to reading, “Baby Grand.”

    Cheering you on from Texas,

    Kathleen

  3. It’s a brave new world with lots of great options. Brava, Dina, for plucking up the courage to self-publish. All the best!

  4. Great post again! Oh, that is all so true and striking many, many chords with me on a day where I shook hands with the self doubt demons on more than one occasion. Well, there’s no denying that it’s a brave step. I’ve heard arguments from both sides of the fence and you’ve hit the nail on the head. Does it feel right? If it does, go for it! No-one really knows the right answer, but when there’s a story to be told that has lived inside you and bubbled away for so long, let it out. Stories are meant to be shared. So let’s write and read as many as we can while we all have the time. Great stuff, Dina :)

    • Hear, hear, Tom! I agree: Let’s write and read as many as we can while we all have the time. And, yes, those self-doubt demons visit us all the time, don’t they? But while they can visit, we should never let them stay. :) Thanks for commenting!

  5. I’m so excited to read this. I am currently in exactly the same position with my second novel. I did a ‘test run’ by self-publishing a short story collection, and in my head it was 100% a test project to see if I could self publish. I didn’t expect it to sell, but it is.

    That experiment made my decision for me. I had several agents and publishers tell me they liked what they read but couldn’t take anyone else on. I actually though, “I could get hit by a bus tomorrow. Why wait?” so for me, self-publishing became my first choice. I don’t see it as second best. I see it as best for me.

    Sorry for rambling on. I do that a lot!

    • I am totally with you, Rebecca! And congrats on the success with the short story collection. That’s awesome! Yes, it’s a whole new publishing world out there, with lots of options. I think you said it best when you said you’re choosing what is “best for me.” That’s all any of us can do. And no worries about the rambling. I do it all the time. :)

  6. That’s exactly how I feel. Some of my novels I know I’m going to self-publish, while others it just “feels” right to have them traditionally published. Personally, I like keeping each foot in both the self-publishing and traditional publishing worlds. Until one of them stops working for me, I’m just going to keep going on my instincts.

  7. Catching up on my reading here! Congrats…I think you’ve outlined EXACTLY how writers today need to think about and approach things. The key is being willing to adapt to changes and new information, which you’re doing. You’ve considered all options, you have the knowledge, the talent, the insight, and the support. You’ve made a wise business decision for your particular situation. I keep telling this to writers: it’s no longer one size fits all. Ten years ago, to be taken seriously, you had to go the traditional route. That’s no longer true. Now we writers have options. It’s exciting (scary and overwhelming at times, but mostly exciting), and I wish you much success. :)

    • Hey, Robyn! So happy to see you! You are totally right — it’s no longer a one size fits all proposition. Lots of options. And, yes, I am scared and overwhelmed and totally thrilled — which, I think, are appropriate emotions for a thriller writer. :)

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