My Rocky Start Becoming a Self-Published Author

Those who've been reading the personal posts on my blog for the past few years know of my struggle to break into the writing world, but for those who don't I'll give you an abbreviated version.

I started writing my first manuscript in 2009. It was completed in about ten months. After querying over 100 agents in an attempt to secure representation, without success, I decided to trunk my tragic romance/family saga. In retrospect, I was too green and needed to work on my writing skills a bit. After all, we all need to pay our dues and this was just the beginning of me paying mine.

Knowing nothing comes easy has always been something I realized from an early age, but when I've wanted something badly enough I've always continued to pursue my goal. Some might call it foolish, a waste of time, or even stupid, but I'm stubborn. I admit I was extremely disappointed no one took an interest in my first serious writing attempt. I even considered giving up my writing dream at one point, but that was before I was inspired to write my second manuscript.

The idea for Snow Escape, my murder mystery/thriller/suspense, came to me after I had endured the worst winter I can remember. In the winter of 2009-2010, three massive snowstorms, two back-to-back, hit my area of the United States. To read more about the details of the fateful day inspiration hit me, and the subsequent way I managed to find an Indie publisher to take a chance on my work after querying agents failed, click the following link. It will take you to several links for guest posts and author interviews I've done.


Before Snow Escape was published in October 2011, my life and the lives of my husband and children would be thrown into chaos. After my husband received a Testicular cancer diagnosis in January 2011, understandably my writing career took a back seat. I did manage to document the experience,—click on the link to read my manuscript about this dark time: bit.ly/12hfBzf — but I had no desire to continue to query agents about Snow Escape. If you read anything about how my second manuscript came to be published, then you know I was elated in the summer of 2011.

After Snow Escape was published, I had high hopes it would be a moderate success. I certainly didn't believe I had a runaway hit on my hands—far from it! Despite my vigilant attempts to promote myself in as many places as possible—I even tried doing an internet radio program, complete with a purchased marketing package which ended up costing me several hundred dollars—I was dismayed when I failed to sell more than a dozen or so copies. I was in the red and ready to give up my dream of a writing career once again. My belief I needed someone with influence to support and help promote my work was proving to be as important as ever, but as elusive as ever.

A year after Snow Escape was released I was still vehemently against self-pubbing. I had honestly thought having an Indie publisher's name on my first published book would've given me the credibility I needed to get somewhere with my work. When it didn't, I was depressed. What more could I do? I had no desire to write another ms, and the ms I had written about the cancer experience was rejected by the handful of agents I queried to—I was told it was too personal of a story, therefore, unmarketable. I was at a standstill about what to do for a very short time.

It was during the end of the summer of 2012 when I decided to revise my tragic romance/family saga. I believed A Sojourn in Hell deserved to be made into a much deeper and thought-provoking read. It took me months to enhance the story. When it was finished, I began the tedious task of querying to agents. Since I always keep track of who I've written, I can say with certainty I queried almost 150 agents from around the country. I lost track of how many said it was "An intriguing idea, but not for them."  

At this point, the rejection had numbed me to the point I knew I needed to make a change. I had also started reading a number of self-published books that made me realize most of the authors were just like me. They possessed story-telling ability, but no one wanted to take a chance on them, so they decided to believe enough in themselves to do it themselves.

I was intimidated beyond belief, but I knew if others could do it so could I. The fact my experience with the Indie publisher proved to be an unsatisfying one was also fresh on my mind. There was no way I was going to give A Sojourn in Hell to someone else to publish. The control freak in me won out, so I took the plunge. It was a difficult decision, but not difficult enough that I'll ever sign over sixty percent of my profits ever again.

I published A Sojourn in Hell the second week of June 2013. It's been out for a little over a month now. This time around I've primarily promoted on Twitter. With the support of a large number of my followers, word is slowly getting out about my tragic romance/family saga. I've received two five-star reviews on Amazon, which I'm thrilled about, but unfortunately many people don't seem interested in reading it. Because I like to call it like I see it, I realize this book will probably not be the one to bring me success.

I held off on self-pubbing Sojourn for a long time because I know it's a good, well-written story, and I felt I wouldn't have enough support to do it justice. I wanted so badly to find an agent who believed in it strongly enough to try and sell it to a big publisher, but I couldn't keep facing the rejection. I couldn't sit on a story that will get readers thinking—that might even get them to improve their own lives and relationships—so I eventually gave in and put it out there.

It's not a happy story. Although I believe the ending is appropriate, and not all together unhappy, I view this story as a realistic one. Not everyone leads a satisfying life. Not everyone possesses the strength to change his or her life for the better. If reading this story helps individuals realize their own dissatisfaction, then I've done my job. If this story inspires others to change their lives for the better, then the people I based this story on didn't live their own lives in vain.  

I'm proud of myself for all the hard work I put into making this story what it's become. I'm proud I didn't decide to file it away in my computer and continue to query agents who have no desire in helping me get something substantial published. It's their loss. They can continue to look for "drivel," so they can help peddle that to the masses.

I'm proud to say I'm part of the Indie Revolution. I'm a writer taking control of my work, and I'm tired of being told what I write is considered "unmarketable." I might not make enough money from my writing to pay my bills, but I have the satisfaction of knowing I'm strong enough to risk judgment and criticism from those who read what I've put out into the world. I don't look for praise. I look to enlighten others and help them escape, even for a little while, their lives by immersing themselves into a tale I've written. If you'd like to experience either of my books, I've included the links below.

 
A Sojourn in Hell- Amazon, Amazon UK Barnes & Noble
Snow Escape- Amazon, Amazon UK & Barnes & Noble

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