Choose-Your-Own-Adventure

Do you remember those books? I liked them, but each adventure was too short. I didn’t care whether it had a happy ending or a sad  one, I just wanted to stretch the tale out longer.

Right now, in my writing world, I’ve stumbled across one of those choices:

  • If you decide to try for traditional publishing routes, go to page 93.
  • If you decide to try something new and different, go to page 213.

This time, I do care how the story comes out, and I don’t really want it to take too long. I don’t think I can handle extended anxiety. Both options have pros and cons.  In the end, my choice comes down to my goals and motivations for writing this book and seeking to get it published at all.

I’m going to be honest, I’m sort of squicked by self-publishing. I know that I need the validation of having editors and publishers say that my book is worth reading, that they are willing to stand behind it and help me put it out into the world. Self-publishing feels like I’d be paying people to be on my team, and if I pay them enough they will tell me how good my book is.

I have a lot of marketing ideas about my book, but going it alone is daunting.  I can figure out how to drum up readers and reviews, but not how to get it on to shelves in bookstores.  One of my dearest silly dreams about writing is to be able to walk into a bookstore, and hold my paperback in my hand.  To look at some random stranger and say “That’s me. I wrote that.”  So, again, my coin lands on the side for the  traditional route.

There are stories about people going non-traditional routes, e-books only, self-published only and so on, and there are some who are making a lot of money that way.  I’m going to be honest. If I were in this for the cash, this would be a vastly different book. I have a day job. I’m not quitting it. This is more about my voice being heard than about royalty checks.

I don’t buy houses without a realtor, job search without a recruiter, and I don’t think I want to approach publishers without an agent.  My dream is to have an agent and a publisher who are willing to tackle anything I might write, from the darkest post-apocalypse to the sunniest romantic fantasy.

The only lure of the self-published route is also the only thing that scares me spitless about the traditional route: rejection. I’ve already gotten a few rejections, and they weren’t too painful or disappointing. But I have a feeling that’s going to accumulate.  I have to get rejected by agents, then by publishers, then by readers and critics. There is the balance that I also eventually might be accepted by each of those groups.

I’m afraid to let people read my book. What will pros think? What will my parents think? What will my future in-laws, coworkers, and old high school chums think?

But I didn’t write it for all of them.  I wrote it because it was clamoring inside my head and bursting to get out. Whoever it is written for will inevitably read it, but that’s really none of my business. My job is to write it, to be as honest as I can within the text, and then to put it out for others to discover.

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