Somehow, in the midst of my preparations for NaNoWriMo, I got caught up in the eddy of a tangent to return to what remains undone on my old novel. When last we saw aforementioned novel, I had just finished my final edits and was hunting for a freelance proofreader to give it the professional eyeball. I had several inquiries as a result of that, but only one of those inquiries followed up to my own reply asking for a resume (which is telling). I fear any old schmuck can hang out a shingle as a freelance proofreader. But the proof is in the proofing, as they say.
That’s neither here nor there, though. A recent response to my inquiry just jogged me out of the NaNoWriMo-induced procrastination I had been happily engaged in regarding the old novel and got me thinking again that I need a publication strategy for this thing.
(1) Now, I have always written this thing for the traditional literary agent/publisher route. And the sole reason (besides mind-numbing fear of rejection) I have not plunged into researching that route is my novel is much longer than is usually considered acceptable from first-time authors. And that’s after working my tail off to cut 50,000 words off the damned thing. And considering every suggestion friends have made for turning it into more than one book.
At this point, the story is what it is–one entity, and long. And if my unwillingness/inability to cut it down further is a sign of ego, then you understand why I am tip-toeing past the traditional publication route. So I won’t hear, “But you must simply cut this down, bottom line.” If, after 17 years, I have not managed to bunch it into a neat 100,000 words or less, it ain’t gonna happen at this point. I’ve poured enough sweat and blood into this story. I’m done.
It must simply see daylight anyway it sees daylight now. This novel is not a precious baby I am clinging protectively to my breast; it is a twenty-something adult child I want out of my damned house one way or another without the kid getting ax-murdered in the process.
(2) I was quite excited when I first heard about self-publication, print-on-demand, and vanity publishing houses. But of course, the dire warnings against any and all of these came quickly on the heels of my furiously scribbled notes about my new Game Plan.
So what have you heard about any of these: LuLu, CreateSpace (Amazon), XLibris, Author House, etc?
From the “Writer beware” websites out there, you’d think these were all thieving pirates out to screw you over, but I can’t help but wonder how much of that is an honest attempt to protect writers and how much of it is influenced by traditional publishing houses trying to deal with new competition. Maybe it isn’t. I have absolutely no way of knowing.
Either way, I plan to micro-manage the whole thing. I have already started (a) searching for proofreaders myself, (b) getting in contact with local artists who could do my front cover for me, and (c) taking lots of seminars in online book marketing thinking again I could do much of this for myself if I set my mind to it. (e.g., building a website/online “platform”, using Facebook and Twitter and LJ/DW and any clout I might have as an online Personality to get people reading and buying my story so word of mouth can do its job and maybe someday a traditional agent will take my novel seriously as is.)
So I don’t have to trust these things completely to a vanity press/POD company.
Which leads to (3) real self-publishing, which means doing the whole damned thing myself. I think I could conceivably do much of it myself (hire proofreaders and artists, etc, work out a marketing strategy for at least the online mediums). But printing. That would still need to be researched.
To be honest, the whole thing makes me want to curl up in a ball and go back to the part that’s fun…writing.