Friday, January 1, 2010

Welcome to 2010 - My Plan

Welcome to my BLOG for 2010! This is a BLOG for discussing fiction, science fiction/fantasy, the writing and the publishing process.

In 2008 I began writing my first SFF novel and completed 3 chapters. In 2009 I finished it, 456 pages (if printed as a trade paperback) and 118,939 words. I'm very proud to have done so. In July 2009 I began looking for a literary agent. I soon realized that getting any to take a look required an excellent query letter. Like other authors, I'd rather write a 500 page novel than a 1 page query letter. But query I did, changing the letter every 6 agents to see what bait would attract a bite. Fishing was bad. Regardless of bait chosen, the fish lay sluggishly on the bottom of a cold pond, apparently well nourished.

While looking for an agent, I began connecting with social media and soon realized that many other wanna-bes were also finding it difficult to locate an agent or a publisher for their work; but I took no solace in being part of the crowd. When I located any notice of a publisher seeking new authors, their submission guidelines appeared daunting. The most attractive seemed always to require printed materials (it's about $50 to copy my manuscript) mailed in with SASE. So I initially preferred e-mail submissions but, after 45 rejections, I think e-mail screeners only read until they encounter the first word, sentence, clause, paragraph or concept they can construe as a reason for rejection. I finally realized that connecting with an agent who is not just looking for what I've got to sell, but also looking for my way of expressing it -- that is the actual search I am undertaking.

Entering 2010 with something to sell (while writing my follow-up), I think I must proceed simultaneously on the following fronts:
  • Continue trying to sell the Ebook version of my first book on Amazon Kindle and Smashwords.
  • Continue to locate and query prospective literary agents. I'm using to track my submissions.
  • Continue writing articles about my writing experience on where I am listed as an "expert author".
  • Continue to BLOG and TWEET looking for connections and information.
  • Begin to contact small presses looking for a direct publisher.
  • Begin to examine Print on Demand (POD) or short run printers to see if I can buy printed review copies of my book at a low enough cost to allow me to sell paperback versions of my novel either directly from my website or through outlets like Amazon.
I will be thrilled if I find success following any of these paths but advice is contradictory. Some in social media suggest that agents and traditional publishers will so resent an author going around them by self publishing (instead of waiting for them to bless the book) that they will refuse to publish anything by that author. Others suggest that before publishers will gamble on a book from a new author they actually want him/her to self publish to prove that their book has a market. Some promote ebooks, some say print first, ebook later.

2010 is the year in which I want to find out whose right.