So this reminder popped up on my phone this morning.
I bought the Pulp Fiction Sountrack on viynl over the weekend, so i'm in the mood for Tarantino-ing this story.
Let's jump back to three months ago; I've just sent off the manuscript for my first book, a horror novella, to all the agents I felt I would have a slither of a chance with.
The problem with being busy with getting a manuscript ready to send off is that once it's sent, you're kind of stuck drumming your fingers and listening to tumbleweeds float by until said agents may or not get back to you.
So rather than continuing to be productive and work on my next story, I sat there with my inbox open, hitting refresh a lot. I don't think you can see the F5 key anymore.
So when I finally realised how crazy this habit was making me (seriously, I had dreams about my emails), I decided to set a reminder that didn't go off for another 3 months. 3 Months is generally the maximum waiting time agents say they will get back to you in. If you don't hear anything after that, then...well, better luck next time, eh?
The additional problem to this waiting time is my biggest weakness. in this case, my impatience.
I really didn't want to go down the self-publishing route initially. And this is because of my favourite summary of self-publishing:
Having a professional in the traditional publishing industry approve your work kinda gives writers that sense and feeling of their work being worthy. And so it should. The stats are something ridiculous like if you send 21 agents or publishers your manuscript, only one of those will maybe get back to you. Not approve or take on your book even, that's just a reply! So chances are if you do get your work approved, it's probably gonna be a damn good book.
That's not to say there aren't publishers who publish bad books, there are plenty of bad books regardless of who publishes them. And every writers fear is that their book will be one of them.
But if you are sensible about it, you can make your book the best version of your book as it can be.
Get a hella'lotta' Beta readers. Just send it out to as many as possible. Preferably to people who's opinion you respect, not want. From this, you can chop and change your manuscript based off their feedback. Grammar, spelling, dialogue that just doesn't make sense, continuity errors, etc.
Also, something that doesn't get talked about enough, get used to talking about your book. I remember writing of my stories in a cafe and the waitress who brought my coffee over asked me what I was writing. Brits' tend to get the hint when you palm them off with 'oh, nothing really.' But Russians don't buy that BS.
"What do you mean 'it's nothing'? I can see you writing!"
"How can you not know what your writing about?"
She kept interrogating me until I ended up going a rosy shade of red and giggling like an embarrassed school girl. But I needed it. Regardless of whether your self-publishing or going traditional, you need to be able to sell your work. This is the one thing that puts me off publishing because my selling skills go as far as "it's okay. It won't change your life or anything, but it's a bit of fun."
If you don't believe in your own work, who the hell will?
Anyway, I'm derailing. Let's Tarantino it back to present day. I'd like to think that when you're reading this I'm in a cafe somewhere eating one tasty burger. But chances are i'm in an office with a tear glistening off my cheek from the sunshine outside that we're all locked away from. Echo Valley is currently being formatted for print and i'm staring at an invisible blurb for the back design cover as well as loathing Author Bios.
And the answer is yes, some did get back to me. Very polite, kind replies. But not the replies I wanted. If you're a writer fussing over whether to self publish or go traditional, this isn't the blog for you. There are tons of blogs out there on the pros and cons. This blog is to tell you to make your story the best it can be, then by any means necessary get it out there into the big wide world. If you want to know if your work is good enough, throw it into the deep end and let the world decide.