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Well, yeah, I have changed religions, but that’s a different post. I meant metaphorically changing my religion.
Those who have been following my writerly dreams know that for the last four years I’ve been on a traditional publishing trajectory. I wanted that seal of approval from someone important (a Big 5 editor?); I wanted that production team to tell me what to do; I wanted a pro-quality product. Furthermore, people academia told me I had to get that pub credit or it wouldn’t count. (I teach seventh grade, people. Calm down.) People in the book world told me indie publishing wouldn’t work for my genre—young adults don’t buy books off the internet. (Um, yes, they do. Also, you can get your books into bookstores and libraries now—the indie pub world has come a long way, baby.) But also there was that voice in my head (no, not the murderous one; this is the self-loathing one) that said, “You don’t have the business acumen. You’re not math-y smart like Shelley Adina and the other authors who are making it work for them.”
Enter the aforementioned Shelley Adina, who wrote the Magnificent Devices series—a YA steampunk set of ten she self-published. It’s doing quite well, as a matter of fact. I consider myself a superfan. Evidently she knows where to put her books so people will buy them, whether they’re young adults or not.
Enter Erica Millard, who wrote this AMAZING young adult fantasy series currently in production (don’t even get me going about her concept—I love these books) and she was just like, “I’m going to publish this myself. I want to be in charge,” and she nodded politely when I tried to say how that just wasn’t wasn’t for me. And then I was super envious of her cover art. And she’s doing it with YA.
Enter RWA 2018—that’s Romance Writers of America, for those of you normal people who don’t communicate in publishing acronyms. Okay so, lots of people are trad published and very happy with it. Want to hear a publishing horror story though? Just go anywhere authors are gathered and booze is flowing. By the end of the conference I was certain I needed a contract attorney more than I needed an agent. I also need a trip to my therapist, but that’s another post.
While at RWA 2018 I went to the Going Indie with Young Adult session, during which Sarra Cannon, Amalie Howard, and Amy Patrick were like, “What do you mean you can’t be successful indie pubbing YA? THIS INCOME isn’t enough for you?” They were beating my annual income. Not that that’s my goal. I’m not trying to change careers—I like teaching. (I’m allowed to say that—it’s July; ask me again in February.) I’d like a lucrative side-gig though. Every teacher has a side-gig.
And there it is. A side gig that’s as lucrative as I’m willing to make it. I set my deadlines; I hire the production team (Labor trade, anyone? Will copyedit for cover art); I manage the marketing and make sure it gets done. And my covers won’t suck because if they do I’ll get to say, “Nuh uh.” And of course they’ll be in print, because print-on-demand is a thing, so have whatever format you want—I’ll just run it through Vellum and kabam. And whatever else is involved. Which I’ll be learning in the next calendar year.
My six-month objective: learn to self-publish.
My twelve-month objective: learn to market a self-published book.
Now I don’t have to do the-thing-of-misery anymore: querying agents. I know my query number is woefully inadequate (yeah, it’s eighteen) and some of you will opine that I didn’t even give it the old college try. (I don’t care.) I don’t even think trad publishing results are even what I’m looking for: I don’t want to be important; I just want my book in my hand. A few extra sales wouldn’t make me sad either.
I’m going to do what my main character, Kaz, would do—I’m going to DIY it.