This is a Risk I'm Willing to Take

-My First Try-

I actually tried querying The Un-Life of William Moore when I first finished it several years ago. I submitted my pitch to a dozen or so agents, and only got automated “Sorry, but no” emails in response (seriously, I think one even said “Dear [insert name]” on it and they didn’t bother to fill in the insert). And that was a time when anything with the word “vampire” seemed like it was getting sold. Remember “My Babysitter is a Vampire?” Shudder. I remember My Babysitter is a Vampire. It wasn’t exactly unexpected that I failed, but it was still disappointing. And at the time, my dreams of being a published author were a little dashed.

I tried looking into self-publishing, but the only things I were finding were “vanity” publishers and hefty investments into printing and distributing your own book, which at the time was out of the realm of possibility for me.

-A New Hope-

But my hopes were reignited a couple years ago when I discovered how easy it was to self-publish ebooks through Kindle Direct. Like most readers, I love the feel and smell and weight of real, live books, but I began trying to look at the long game. Ebooks could be a way to get my feet off the ground, get noticed, and work my way up to being able to print books. I made a plan to finish 5 short stories and submit them as a small anthology for free to get my word out, and then come up with something else to monetize later down the road.

But my hopes were dashed again when I realized that self-publishing was still harder than it seemed. Sure, I could write up a story and design my own average book cover and pray that I knew the English language as well as I thought I did and pretend that I didn’t just throw together a mess for the cover. But I knew to really have a chance, I’d have to invest in professional editing and book cover design. Which, again, at the time was out of bounds.

-Dream Within Sight-

But with Amazon Kindle Scout, my determination sky rocketed once more. (Life really is a roller coaster, as they say). A sign on advance was a chance to earn my investment in editing and cover design back and then some. It was an exercise to see how well I can market myself in order to get as many votes as I could (I’m always up for a learning experience). And with the added incentive of “personalized editorial feedback” for shortlisted manuscripts submitted in November and December, I just couldn’t not try.

So I took The Un-Life back off the metaphorical shelf and looked at it again. It was the only “finished” novel that I had. I thought I would be able to polish it up to meet the editorial feedback deadline. I did have to add around 10k words to meet Scout’s minimum, but I think it honestly helped the story a lot more than if I hadn’t. Doing it, I was able to remind myself what the story was that I wanted to tell and made some small changes to better suit my intentions.

-This is a Risk-

But I’m still terrified. This also might be the worst time in my life to try and get this publishing thing started, especially if I flop at it. I bought a major fixer upper this year as my first home, I’m starting up a loan to pay for the renovations, and property taxes hit me hard, let alone all the expense to get my book up to snuff between editing, cover design, and advertising. A month ago, I thought the advance would be a nice addition of income I could use to fix my house. Today, it feels more like a needed relief to keep my head above water.

Surprise! I’m human! Just like everyone else.

If I have to eat microwaved noodles and off brand cardboard to hunker down enough to get a book out there, then so be it. I’m tired of saying “someday.” Someday is going to be today. I am going to pursue my dream and face the consequences.

-Thank You-

I’m just so thankful that an opportunity such as ebooks even exists. I might never have been able to enter the publishing world under the traditional method of agents and publishing houses. They don’t want to take risks. But I know I have something worth risking and I will take it upon myself to risk it. I want to prove to anyone that decided my story wasn’t good enough for them that they had their chance to be a part of something amazing and missed out.

Thank you for choosing to be a part of something amazing with me.



-Dana Lockhart

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