Today I’m absolutely delighted to welcome Josephine Carr, who has been published in the past by several big name publishers, including Harper Collins and NAL/Penguin, but chose to publish her most recent novel under her own company of Three Kings Books, using the pseudonym of Anna King. She’s here today to tell her tale of embracing the indie way!
The Indie Way – Losing Weight, Louboutins, and Learning
by Anna King
There’s an old Yiddish proverb I feel is particularly appropriate to a writer’s life.
‘Man plans, God laughs.’
We would do well, as we begin the writer’s journey, to join God in his laughter. Writers have been saying it all over the place: self-publishing is tough. It’s hard to write a great novel without professional editorial feedback and copy-editing (trust me, that’s been a lesson I learned this week), and it’s crucial to develop top-notch design and formatting connections. This costs money, of course, but that’s just the beginning. Next up? Developing a platform with muscle and reach.
None of this is impossible (witness our host, Terri), but nor is it easy.
I came to the decision to self-publish after my New York literary agent received no offers during round one of submissions for the first in my new mystery series called The Rabbi’s Mother. She was prepared to move on, to the second round, but I said NO. Or was that really a YES? Suddenly, I knew the moment had come. I was going to make the leap into this new self-publishing/indie movement.
The learning curve has been steep, expensive, and often challenging. I feel like an out-of-shape woman of a certain age who’s decided to run the New York City Marathon. (Okay, yes, I am an out-of-shape woman of a certain age. Let’s drop the subject, shall we?)
I have many advantages in this newfound indie milieu, most noticeably that I don’t work another job to support myself, my kids are grown, and I have a certain level of confidence in my writing skills. But these advantages are off-set by considerable disadvantages, like the fact that I’m older and, therefore, easily flummoxed by techie issues and a failure to fully grasp the nuances of social media.
Over the last several weeks, after the novel came out as both paperback and ebook, I’ve bounced from elation to despair. When writers are up, our energy to connect with other like-minded people, on blogs, Twitter, and Facebook urges us to become a blur of busy messages and, often, excellent writing. Then, inevitably, we check our blog stats, or the numbers of copies sold on Amazon (when I reported to my boyfriend that I’d earned $8.00 in royalties after five days, he said, ‘Is the decimal point in the wrong place?’), we feel the tendrils of doubt worm their way into our hearts. That’s when we drink too much, overeat, and get migraines.
I don’t know the end of my story yet because I’ve scarcely begun, but I’m still prepared to celebrate the advent of self-publishing, while recognizing its unique set of challenges. Most importantly, I’ve come to understand that there are no short cuts, and I’m willing to admit I thought self-publishing was a short cut. As someone who’s spent thirty years being traditionally published, which meant endless querying and waiting to find an agent, to hear of an offer, to do many revisions for the acquiring editor, until publication day finally arrived, only to wait months to receive royalty payments, well, I figured this self-publishing gig would be a snap.
Hardest damn thing I’ve ever done. Frankly, my dears, I’d love to just write my next novel and walk away from all this promotion. I feel like I’m wearing a ball gown and Christian Louboutin heels, with a complicated brasserie and Spanx contraption, all the time. Still, I have to admit that there are plenty of happy side effects from the rigors of self-publishing and the requisite promotional aspect. Here are a few, in case you need convincing:
1) You’ll lose weight. The angst and sheer effort involved burns calories. I’m not making this up! Count on getting your figure back.
2) You won’t be as sensitive to the slights of friends and family because you’ll be dealing with far deeper critiques from book reviewers (cough, cough).
3) Your self-esteem will jump. Whenever we struggle and push ourselves in new, uncomfortable directions, we also grow. You’ll be genuinely and justifiably proud of yourself because you’ll have earned it.
4) You’ll find a writing community. The extraordinary support available to us because of Twitter, Facebook, and blogs is something I never would’ve imagined possible. For years, I wrote in a little, solitary place. Having the ability to link arms, together at last, is immeasurably powerful.
5) You’ll learn from everyone. I love the ability to discover new writers, and new ways of writing — so many more techniques and tips are shared now, and this creates a wonderful environment for my own development.
Admittedly, much of what I mention above are also possible when you follow a traditional publishing route, but I believe becoming your own publisher increases the odds that you’ll fully engage. You’ve got nothing but yourself to fall back on, and the result is a radical attempt to be an active member of the writing community.
The gifts I’ll receive by having made this choice are numerous, even if they may not turn out to be exactly as I predicted or hoped for. I’m convinced, however, that self-publishing is a viable and positive choice.
Do I hear an amen, with a little laughter mixed in?
About Anna King
Anna King, author of the first in a new mystery series, The Rabbi’s Mother, is the pseudonym of Josephine Carr, a writer formerly published by HarperCollins, NAL/Penguin, and Dial Books for Young Readers. She’s delighted to embrace independent publishing with her new company, Three Kings Books (also publishing Joseph King with novels CRACK and EVIL DOES IT, currently available for Amazon’s Kindle). Please visit her website and blog for more information. You’re welcome to contact her. She lives in Washington D.C. and a charming old farmhouse on the Eastern shore of Maryland. Her kids, both graduates of Yale and holding advanced degrees from Harvard, are out in the world, doing good.
About Adele: The Rabbi’s Mother
A miracle story —
Adele Rothstein has buried three husbands and she’s living the good life of a seventy-five year old femme fatale in New York City when God comes calling. Never mind that she doesn’t actually believe in God — Adele can’t ignore the mysterious black cloud engulfing a handsome boy named Sol in her son the rabbi’s synagogue on a Friday night. After making friends with Sol, tragedy strikes the boy’s mother, and the unlikely duo team up to search for a possible killer.
Of course, once a femme fatale, always a femme fatale. As they pursue the truth, Adele’s affections are torn between a handsome younger man and the older man who was once the love of her life. Sol, too, discovers that love can occur even in the most devastating situations. As Adele and Sol get closer to unravelling the truth, they become the target. Adele, The Rabbi’s Mother: Book One is available as Kindle and paperback.