Publishing plans

PSince I spoke about options in my last post, I thought I’d take the opportunity to talk a little about publishing, and my plans for it. It’s all still very much in the formative stage because I’m knee deep in my last year of study at the moment and find it hard to balance the two of them, but at least planning helps keep me focused on the future and provides ample opportunity to daydream about the months and years to come!

And I cannot wait to be done with study so that I can launch into my writing career.

At present, I’m working on editing mostly, and am submitting my novel Sun-Touched to publishers, sans agent. I wanted to try this first because these days there are quite a few publishers that have open submissions periods throughout the year, and it felt like a good book to take advantage of those opportunities with. I’ve considered trying to find an agent with it, but at this point I’ve got assignments looming and I think I’ll put that stress on the back-burner. I don’t want to add more stress to my life, and from past experience, querying agents can be all consuming. We’ll leave that til I’ve got less going on 😉

So why am I looking at a publisher for Sun-Touched? Well, first up, it’s science fiction, and I’m not yet convinced that science fiction sells all that well when self published (please, if you have some information that differs from this, I’d love to hear it!). Secondly, I’ve had awesome feedback about it – all my readers have loved it, and this has given me confidence that it could sell well. Thirdly, honestly, I would have to say because it’s what I’ve wanted all along and I guess I see it as kind of a challenge – not so much as that they are ‘gate keepers’ or anything, but a personal challenge, a ‘can I do this?’ kind of thing. I want to know if I can, and in order to find that out, I have to try. If I can’t find a publisher keen to take it, I will definitely self-publish it, because I believe in the novel.

Aside from this I have a series of works, novellas and novels, based on the west coast of New Zealand, that I’m planning on self publishing beginning at the end of the year. I’ve written 3 novellas already, and the first novel is a work in progress. There are about 7 stories lined up for the main story-line, as well as ideas for other stories set in the same world (one of the novellas already written is outside of that main storyline and will hopefully be released at Christmas!). I’m hoping to get most of the editing and work done on the novellas throughout this year alongside my study, as well as the full first draft of the novel. Covers are already in progress with my wonderful designer friend, Leigh, and I’m feeling really positive about where everything is at.

I know a lot of people would be chomping at the bit to get published, rather than having these things sitting around, but not me. Self publishing  has been on my mind for quite some time now, and I always knew that if I was going to do it, I wanted to do it right. For me (and just me, we’re all different) this means having multiple works lined up. I didn’t want to release one thing because it was ready and then have to scramble for something to follow up with. It makes the most sense for me to write a series, and roll them out on a reasonably regular schedule, which is why I’ve been stockpiling the series to date.

And why am I planning to self publish these? Well, first up, they are paranormal romance/urban fantasy, and this seems to be a genre that does pretty well when self published. Secondly, I’ve had awesome feedback about the series and I think it could do well. Thirdly, much like my reason for trying a publisher with Sun-Touched, I want to see if I can do it. Self publishing provides a whole new set of challenges, and I’m really keen to try my hand at them. I love the idea of having control over these books, and that any success I have will be down to the effort I’ve put into it.

So, when it comes down to it, I guess you can say that my decisions regarding how I want to publish come down to challenging myself, having an awesome product, and looking for the best way to publish each type of work. I don’t think there is a one size fits all for publishing, nor do I believe that you have to stick with one path – do whatever works for you, find your happiness, make your own definition of success and go for that.

Sorry that you’re getting a few posts today – I ended up succumbing to the vomiting bug as well, which knocked me off track again, but this time I had actually had a plan for what I wanted to write about, so I decided to go ahead and write the posts! 

Uncategorized, writing

Options, options, options

Back when I first started thinking about publishing there weren’t all that many options. You wrote a novel, polished the crap out of it and then queried agents. If you were really lucky, you found one, and then they’d submit it to editors/publishers and maybe you’d get lucky and get a contract. It was a long shot, especially for someone living all the way over here in New Zealand, far from the offices of literary agents.

At least even back then you could query SOME by email. If that hadn’t been the case I wouldn’t have sent my first MS off far too early, but that’s a mistake I think many writers have to make.

It was a pretty disheartening time in some ways. I try to be as realistic as possible, and even then there was a lot of information about your chances at getting through the entire process and landing a book deal, but I never let the odds stop me from writing and hoping that one day it would be me.

Of course, now the publishing landscape has changed to the point where there are many more options than I ever knew there could be. Not all the things I learned back then stand true now, and being published doesn’t seem such a far distant goal when at any point you can make the decision to do so yourself and bypass the agents and publishers.

Which isn’t to say that you should do it at the first opportunity, or at all necessarily, I think it’s still important to do the learning, put in the time and effort to become a good writer before you publish. And to look at all the options and weigh them up before making decisions. There is a lot of research involved in this, and it can be a bit overwhelming at times, but ask your friends, find some reputable blogs, look critically at information, and then follow your gut – most importantly though, be honest with yourself.

I’ve seen writers make all kinds of choices – traditional publishing, self publishing, big publisher, small, with an agent, without, a combination of these things, and other things entirely (print, digital, audio… so many options!) – and the ones who are happiest are the ones who’ve looked at the publishing industry, and then looked inside themselves and really been honest about what they want before pursuing their dreams of being published. About what they want and what they are prepared to do to get it.

If it’s your dream to publish with one of the big publishers, then keep working towards it. If it’s your dream to have full control over your works and stay true to your vision of the story, then self publish. If you really want to have a publisher, but want a smaller, more personal experience, go for a small press. If you want everything, all of it, then hey, do the hybrid thing – but don’t change YOUR dreams because someone else tells you they are silly. There are options for everyone these days, so follow your dreams and pick the options that will help you get there.



Mid week

Firstly, I would like to say a massive thank you to everyone who posted a comment yesterday – it was so great hearing such a range of opinions and has given me a lot to think about. I can see some common themes emerging, one of which is to look for places where I can get the biggest distribution.

Coming from a small country where there are very few literary agents, I have to adjust my thought process a little when looking at the big world. I’ve read a few agent blogs and know the basics, but I need to get it into my head that rather that seeking publishers (like I would if looking inside NZ), I’ll be querying agents and it’s their job to find someone who wants my novel.

Sounds so simple when put like that, though I’m well aware that scoring an agent is far from being an easy process! It’s going to be interesting times ahead, but I am feeling really positive and looking forward to the challenges, whatever they turn out to be.

I’m getting to know more and more people who are self publishing, and I think they are brave and creative. It is definitely an option, but I want to try and find an agent/publisher first. Not sure I have the skills to effectively self publish, though it’s something I will look at further down the track.

The last read through is going fairly well, though slower than I had hoped. It may be two weeks now to get through the novel as I find that I can only do a chapter at a time or I start losing focus and that’s never a good thing! It’s been an interesting process, I find that sometimes I speak something that’s not quite what is on the page, at which point I can stop and decide which version is better and make changes accordingly. It’s also giving me a chance to improve the flow and language along the way. All good things.

So, because I can’t spend all day reading aloud, I’m going to also work on some other things as well – researching agents/publishers, formulating a query letter, making chapter summaries as I go through so that I definitely have everything in order for the synposis etc. All good stuff 🙂

I’m really happy today, lol though I’m not sure why. I am running with it though, life is beautiful and the world is an amazing place 🙂

Hope you are all having a great day too!

Oh, and a final note – not long until NZ Speculative Fiction Blogging Week, is there anything in particular you would like to see? I’m open to suggestions and hoping to prepare a post for each day during the week.