Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Thoughts...tricky, tricky thoughts...

Obviously, I've taken a rather lengthy hiatus from blogging.  This is for a multitude of reasons, the primary one being that, as much as I love how plugged in the Internet and all its wonderful tools (Twitter, Facebook, etc) allow me to be, I reach a point where maintaining a presence with all of them starts to really feel like a chore.  I'll sit down with the intent to spend half an hour catching up on Twitter only to find myself emerging over an hour later, blinking in bewilderment like someone who's just walked out of a cave.

I also tend to suffer greatly from a particular form of writers' guilt in which I feel just plain terrible and wasteful if I engage in any sort of leisure activity when I think I should be writing.  Seriously, I am an unforgiving taskmaster, as if I expect myself to spend my every waking moment chained to my computer writing, writing, writing.  This is sort of unjust as I've actually done a LOT more writing in the past year than I had done for probably the three years preceding.  I have finally managed to get myself to a point where I no longer accept excuses like "I'm just not inspired today" to hold me back.  I sit and put words on the paper.  Sometimes it's easy and I write a thousand or more words before I even know it.  Other times, it involves a lot of backspacing, undoing, retyping, etc.  If there's one thing I've learned from NaNoWriMo, it's that getting the words down is the important part.  I can--and do!--go back later and write and rewrite obsessively, striving for perfection.

After I did not make the second round of cuts for ABNA, I had a lot of thinking to do.  Did I want to polish up the ol' manuscript and try to shop for an agent, with the hopes that one might pick it up and sell it to a publisher with the end result of my seeing it in print within the next few years?  Or did I want to go the self-publishing route?  I agonized over this for weeks.  I feel sorry for my poor husband because he had to listen to me go on and on about it.  My dream has long been to have my book published, to go to a bookstore and see it sitting on the shelves.  However, I know how long a process this can be, and that's if you're lucky enough to find someone willing to publish your manuscript.  While I think my manuscript has an audience, I am not exactly overflowing with the conviction that some publisher is dying to take a gamble on me.  Plus, you know, the whole thing is scary.

However, self-publishing is also scary because, let's face it, there's still a bias out there about it.  In all honesty, I don't really get this.  Sure, maybe not everything written is a work of sheer genius, but what difference does that make if it finds an audience?  Even if two people enjoy it, there are two people who found something in the marketplace they wouldn't otherwise have found.  They are being provided with a good that they value and, really, isn't that what writers strive for?  I mean, we all want to write works of timeless wonder but the bottom line is that what we really, fundamentally want is for people to read our words.  Otherwise, why bother writing them?  Why in a culture that so values indie films and indie bands, so we sneer at indie authors?  I think the popularity of e-readers is changing this dynamic, and I think that's a good thing for both authors and readers.  Readers will be provided with even more choices than ever and the barriers to entry that once held deserving writers back will no longer exist, offering them the possibility of making a living doing what they love--writing.  Remember, J.K. Rowling received numerous rejections before someone decided to take a chance on her.  What if they hadn't?  What if Harry Potter had never been published?  Isn't that mind-boggling to think of?

Which leads me to my own personal decision: I have decided to indie pub one and possibly multiple novels.  I want to start small, get a feel for how things work, and see how well I do.  Because I find the ABNA rules a bit unclear, I have decided to refrain from publishing Contributor until after ABNA has ended.  This will give me time to do another round of edits and work on getting a good cover ready.

In the meantime, I have decided to publish another of my manuscripts, The Eye of the Beholder.  This is a novel that I spent seven years writing--and over the past few days I've rewritten a couple of the chapters with the intent of writing more.  See what I mean about writing and rewriting?  At any rate, this is a manuscript that is near and dear to my heart.  It's a retelling of the beauty and the beast story, which has always been a particular favorite of mine.

However, because it's so different from Contributor, I have decided to publish it using a pen name, whereas I intend to use my real name when I publish Contributor.  I'm doing this purely for the sake of clarity, so my readers will know what sort of work they're getting if they decide to purchase one of my books.  Because I like to dabble in various genres, I'm planning on using multiple pen names, one for each genre in which I write.  Hopefully I'll do at least one of those genres justice.

Things are going well with the edits, and I anticipate having the book available for Kindle devices by early May.  Because I am starting small and because I am frankly very attracted to the opportunities offered by the Kindle Owners' Lending Library, my book will be exclusive to Kindle for at least the few months.  Depending on how well it does, I may then look to using something like Smashwords to make it available on multiple platforms.

Right now, I'm feeling very lucky.  I have an extremely supportive husband who is 100% behind me, as well as a great writing group and some supportive friends and family members who have given their time in order to read and critique my manuscripts.  I am excited about the possibilities for the future.  I can hardly wait to share my work with a broader audience.