The choices around publishing these days are probably some of the toughest choices a writer has to make. We’re all familiar with the first big choice between going the traditional publishing route or deciding to self-publish. However, even after that choice is made, many other choices follow.
One of the biggest roadblocks to writers deciding to self-publish is the sheer amount of information and options that are out there in regards to self-publishing nowadays. There are many different companies that make a lot of promises to help writers self-publish, and there are also many different ways do everything entirely on your own. This is usually where writers get stuck. It’s like trying to pick one good movie out of the bazillion options available on Netflix. At some point, your brain goes into overload and shuts down, and then you just want to forget the whole thing.
In 2015, I was still an unpublished writer. I had been querying for years with no success. I had sent out queries on three different novels and had queried so many agents I lost count of them all. I had rewritten my first chapters, my opening scenes, my first sentences, over and over and over again. Nothing worked and I was getting nowhere.
By that point I had been querying for years, six years to be exact, and so I had created a system to give myself emotional down time and also keep from losing my damn mind. I sent out a batch of queries every six to eight weeks, received back the rejections (or gave up hope of any answer), and then gave myself “recovery time,” while I recuperated from feeling depressed, discouraged, and despairing.
I went through many cycles on the emotional rollercoaster that we call the querying process. There was the stage where I was sure that if I could just learn more about “my craft” I would get a bite. I also went through the stage where I was convinced I just wasn’t looking in the right places. Then there was the stage where I tried to shove my novels into a genre—any genre—that looked like it might hold some promise. Finally, there was my least-favorite stage—the stage where I couldn’t help but feel I just sucked, and so did my writing.
It’s hard to talk about what it means to be a writer to other people who are not writers.
Because most of the time, they really, really don’t get it.
When you tell someone who is not a writer that you’re writing a book they usually ask one of these types of questions: