Publish or Perish

Copyright Dianne Lehmann

Not being a professor of any type, that admonition really doesn’t apply to me. But there are times when I feel that if I don’t publish, I will surely perish. Ask me why I want other people to read what I have written and I can’t really answer. At times, it seems odd to me that I should want this given that I am so shy. I have found that giving my manuscript to a beta reader makes me more nervous than you might imagine. I suppose it doesn’t help that they know me and I know them. Maybe with a stranger it would be easier.

All that aside, I don’t know how anyone ever gets published. Yes, I know, even J. K. Rowling was turned down something like nine times before she found an agent. I’ve probably been turned down more times than that.

I understand, I do. The literary agent business is very competitive. An agent doesn’t want to waste her time on something that she thinks is not likely to sell. So you ask yourself, what sells?

What sells is a well-known author’s name. Look at book covers. What is it that takes up the most space in the largest letters? Is it the title of the book? Most often it’s the author’s name. Even if you are relatively uniformed, you can probably make a good guess about an author’s popularity by the size of their name on the cover and the placement of it.

Also, I read a rant from an author to the effect that her agent told her to change the title so that the word “girl” appeared in it because books with those titles were really hot. Then sometime later, that same agent said to ditch the word “girl” in the title because there was a glut of them on the market. That has to be frustrating.

So not only are agents looking for a known name, they are looking for specific sorts of titles and works that fall into a currently popular category. Since I write what I want to write and not what someone tells me I should write, I shouldn’t be surprised that I haven’t been able to acquire an agent. I don’t see that changing in the future either. And the title of my first novel is, frankly, a little silly. I did that on purpose. Life and writing should never be taken too seriously. That’s my opinion and I’m sticking to it.

So how a new author gets a start is a mystery to me. Unless, it is by self-publishing.

The decision to go that route has been a tortuous one. It’s taken many months of research into the pros and cons, people’s opinions, considerations of possible income and the like. After all that and deciding that self-publishing is the way I will have to go, I am still uncertain.

I think, well maybe I should send out at least one more query letter. Then I think well I could still query this other agent too. But I don’t really want to start down that road again. It can be demoralizing as well as frustrating.

Then, I consider the time and determination it took to get this blog up and running and all the things I had to learn and figure out and I wonder if I can actually figure out how to self-publish my book. I’m no longer young and did not grow up in this quickly changing technical world. This stuff does not come easily to me.

But, I’ve made what I think is one good decision about it and that is to go with Kindle Direct Publishing. I’ve made a good start at it. I’ve created a cover and made some decisions. I still need a really kick-ass book description, though. I have hope that when I’ve formatted it, that it will only require one upload. Nothing’s a given, though.

I’ve written a great novel. I’d really like for people to read it and enjoy it. So I guess I will just have to self-publish, perish the thought.

Published by Dianne Lehmann

I'm a writer. But I'm also a wife and a mom to a couple of fur babies. You could call me a cook (but never a chef, I'm not that good) and provisioner as well. Laundress? Yeah. Probably. I design jewelry and I crochet. But mostly I love to write. I love words and how they sound. I love their meanings and origins. I love stringing them together. And of course, I love to read. Thinking about it just now, I realize that what I love most is life and the people around me with a special place set aside for my wonderful husband, our adorable dog and our inscrutable cat. It's the world and the people in it that fuels my writing. So thanks to you all for being the amazing beings that you are.

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