Thirty days can go by fast.
I had been sitting on my novel for over six months not really knowing what I wanted to do with it … self publish? submit it to literary agents? publishers? the city dump? (pretty sure it would have been accepted there). You’d think the difficult thing about a novel would be the actual writing, but knowing what to do with it once it had been written was equally taxing.
Now I don’t have a lot of answers when it comes to what’s the right choice. I’ve spoken with a few traditionally published authors who still look down on self-publishing as the dirty step-child of the industry. In their minds publishing a novel is an elitist experience and to some degree, I understand where they’re coming from. I wouldn’t want someone who decided to be a doctor operating on me without going through the necessary training and education that would guarantee a positive outcome yet anyone can pick up a pen and paper or open a word processor and begin clunking out ideas. There’s nothing you need hanging on the wall to state you are a writer — you just have to write.
That’s both encouraging and a little daunting because at some point we all have to ask ourselves, are our ideas really worth reading? Worth someone dedicating the amount of time it takes to read a literary work?
I’ve also had the privilege of speaking with many authors who have taken the self-publishing route. These are authors who I respect, whose work I enjoy, authors who could probably have a traditional publishing contract if they so desired. And what I’ve learned is that they too have paid their dues.
There are no shortcuts to becoming an author or establishing a dedicated readership. There’s just dedication to an insane cause coupled with a lot of talent, craftsmanship and time.
Knowing this, having paid a portion of my dues (with still much more to come, I’m sure), I decided to put my work out there and submitted my novel to Kindle Scout. It’s been a tremendous experience. I’ve discovered readers who are excited about my novel, who have written me with positive feedback, anxious to read the rest. I’ve discovered friends who have been such a support in helping to promote my work by sharing it with individuals I would never have been able to reach on my own. As a first-time author, I don’t have a readily available fan base to latch onto my work; I just have my work, my words to hopefully prove that I’m ready.
I was surprised to find my novel in Kindle Scout’s “hot and trending” books for the first two and a half weeks of my campaign. I wish I could say I had a surefire way to get there but the truth is I don’t. My book slipped from that list for a few days and then thankfully made it back on. Readers sharing my work has been my saving grace, not my few posts on Facebook or Twitter, that’s for sure. Whether I end up winning the publishing contract or not, I am so grateful to each of you.
What has been interesting during this month long campaign is that it’s made me realize how much I do want to get my work out there. Call me insane but I love the very act of writing. The discovery, the soul-searching, the creating and erasing and revising. I love characters coming to life and teaching me who they are and why they are doing things I never intended them to do. I love learning about myself as I write and living hundreds of lifestyles so contrary to my own. It’s worth the sacrifice of time, finding minutes to scrape together in a day in order to hit my word count and keep my stories moving forward.
When I started this journey with Kindle Scout I thought I’d learn about publishing and hopefully how to attract an audience. What I’ve really learned is that I’m addicted to writing and I’ll continue until an audience shows up. I still have so much to learn in how to do this publishing thing successfully but I’m content in not needing all the answers at this moment in time.
In a few days or a few weeks, I’ll learn whether I’ve been accepted into the Kindle Press family. It’s a family I’d love to join, but even if I’m not invited to the ball I’m grateful for all I have learned and the will to keep moving forward, one word and one day at a time.
In the meantime I invite you to not give up on Amazon’s new program. Continue to come back to kindlescout.amazon.com and support new authors and new books that are showing up there every day. There are really some great finds and if you pick a winner, you’re picking up their book for free. More than getting however, you’re also giving, in supporting a writer to reach their dreams. So dream on, click, nominate, read, write and keep dreaming. It’s the only way to have it one day come true.