Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The emotions that go along with self-publishing



When Donnell asked me to guest blog, she asked if I could "talk about the joys, the sorrows, the pitfalls, and finally the absolute thrill of taking the initiative to seize an opportunity within a changing industry."

How could I say no to that? First, I love her phrasing. (You can tell she's a writer.) Tomorrow it will be four weeks since my debut party at my joint blog, Magical Musings www.magicalmusings.com/.

Sorrow: So far I don't have any sorrow in this choice. I don't see how I will have sorrow down the road either. Not on this road.

What gave me sorrow was the old road I was traveling. I've been published in short fiction (print magazines in the '90s), nonfiction, and even greeting cards. I've won contests and I've finaled in a major contest. I've had four agents. I've had close brushes with selling, and it was becoming apparent to me that "the Call" from a major NY publishing house wasn't going to happen.

What frustrated me was that it wasn't the quality of my work, but the fact that NY editors are looking for certain types of books. My books don't fit their parameters. (Although I do have a couple of books with editors. I nearly forgot.)

Joy: Let me count the ways. The same day I announced on the GIAM site that I was going indie, I received an email from a newer member who I didn't know well, and she offered to do my cover. For free. I thanked her and said yes. I didn't ask to see her work. It felt like I'd be questioning a gift. And just look at the fabulous cover! For more information on this fabulous author, check out Laura Morrigan www.lauramorrigan.com.

Two different people asked to format my books for me for Smashwords and Amazon. More joy.

I wanted to put out the best book I could, and six writers read it for me. My joy bubbled over.

I told my CPs, one of whom was Michelle Diener, www.michellediener.com/ that I needed a new website. My old designer had quit the business. I wanted one that was in WordPress so I could update it myself. I got referrals for designers and had contacted one when Michelle emailed me and said she'd design it for me. Amazing joy!

And then Amy Atwell www.amyatwell.com was about to teach a networking class on GIAM. She suggested writing a debut party event invite on the GIAM Facebook to show how it should be done. Swoon. Fabulous Joy!

She got me off to a wonderful start. The first two weeks, I sold a small rush of books, and then there came a lull. But I never thought Cattitude would be a instant bestseller. I'm in this for the long run. I'm revising my next book, and I've been told that's the best thing I can do. Once that's done, I'll work on promo.

I can't forget Zoe Winters www.zoewinters.org, who saw the advantages of self-publishing more than two years before I did, and was doing well with just three novellas. She freely shared her knowledge with me. Fantabulous joy!

Pitfalls: I know the promo will be an ongoing thing, and I'd much rather write than promote. But most print writers I know are doing a lot of their own promotion. And the great thing about self-publishing is that no one is going to take Cattitude off the shelves in a month or two and replace it with another book. I have time to build my career and let word of mouth sell my book.

A couple times these past weeks, there have been announcements that agents/editors were taking pitches on blogs. Do you remember the scene in "When Harry Met Sally" when Sally (Meg Ryan) calls her best friend, Marie (Carrie Fisher), confused and distressed because she'd slept with Harry, and he couldn't wait to leave? Meanwhile, Harry is telling his side to his best friend, Jess (Bruno Kirby) who's Marie's fianće and is in the bed next to her? When they hang up, Marie tuns to Jess and says:


"Tell me I'll never have to be out there again."

He replies, "You'll never have to be out there again."



That's how I feel, a huge relief. I'll never have to be out there again. Not because I've found a husband, er, an agent or an editor. But because I've taken control of my own publishing career. I don't need that agent or that editor. Sure, I'll make mistakes--the pitfalls that Donnell mentioned--but I've also heard horror stories from friends who are published in print.

I won't repeat them, but if you want to know more about that end, go to Dean Wesley Smith's www.deanwesleysmith.com/ or J.A. Konrath's www.jakonrath.com/ blogs.

I'm empowered by my decision. Not all of it is a joy, but having wonderful friends and a way to take control of my own destiny... No question. It's absolute, amazing, fantastic, fantabulous joy.

Edie Ramer
Proud Indie Author of CATTITUDE
http://edieramer.com

42 comments:

Donnell said...

Edie, I gotta tell you, I love your enthusiasm, and the fact that you're doing what's right for you. I'm reading CATTITUDE right now and the only thing stopping me from reading it from cover to cover is my job and my visitor from out of town! And Laura did a fabulous cover!

Congratulations! And thanks for letting us in on what emotions you're experiencing.

June said...

Edie, I'm thrilled with the road you've chosen to travel. You're an inspiration to all of us who are still struggling. You deserve every bit of your joys. And, you have some awesome friends!! Love the cover Laura did for you. It says it all.

June

Lori Brighton said...

congrats to you Edie!
You're so right, ny publishers don't leave printed books out long at all. If you don't sell well within that first month, you're screwed. It's ridiculous. But anyway, I'm loving Cattitude and can't wait to read your next book!

magolla said...

I had a huge smile on my face when I read this, Edie. I'm so happy for you and glad that I had a chance to read CATTITUDE! Keep us posted about your journey.

Edie Ramer said...

Donnell, while writing this post I was able to relive the joy, so thank you so much for that. And for your wonderful formatting with all the links! It's always a pleasure guest blogging, and you made it extra special.

Edie Ramer said...

June, you've been an inspiration to me, too. All the women in GIAM are role models.

Edie Ramer said...

Lori, at least you're proactive now. And I love your indie book! I'll put up a review for The Ghost Hunter today.

Edie Ramer said...

Margaret, you always make me smile, and so does your writing. I know with your talent and determination, good things will happen for you. And sometimes we have to make our own good things happen.

Susan Schreyer said...

Congratulations on your decision, Edie! It's an empowering choice! I read Cattitude and loved it. Wonderful, charming and sympathetic characters and a delightful story. Your cover is great, too! Captures the spirit (pardon the pun!) of the book perfectly. Best of luck in the future. I'm looking forward to your next book!

Edie Ramer said...

Susan, thanks! I'm eager to read your horse mystery when it's out.

Melanie Atkins said...

I'm so excited for you, Edie. You're doing what's best for your career, and you're doing it right. WTG!!!

Edie Ramer said...

Melanie, I'm doing it right because I've had such wonderful friends who are making this a great experience. I count you as one of them.

angelynscrimesofpassion said...

Congratulations Edie. I'm looking forward to reading 'Cattitude'.

Angelyn

Edie Ramer said...

Angelyn, thanks!

Angi Morgan said...

As always you rocked this post.

Q: Are you finding the endless promo a drain on your creative energy?

~~Angi

Kathleen Irene Paterka said...

Edie, this is such a great post! You have such a terrific positive attitude (talk CATTITUDE!) and serve as an inspiration to us all. I love how you shared your sorrows (none!), joys (many!), pitfalls (you're learning) and thrills (wheee!!!). Looking forward to reading CATTITUDE on a Kindle very very soon!

Edie Ramer said...

Angi, after the first couple weeks, I started limiting my promo to a couple blogs a week. I think the best way to sell this book is to finish the next book and get it out there.

Edie Ramer said...

Kathy, thanks! I love my Kindle. lol

Donnell said...

LOVED, your response to Angi, Edie. Talk about smart marketing. You're a consummate pro.

"Angi, after the first couple weeks, I started limiting my promo to a couple blogs a week. I think the best way to sell this book is to finish the next book and get it out there."

Edie Ramer said...

Donnell, if I were print pubbed, I wouldn't have the luxury to do a slower promotion. That is one of the good things about being e-pubbed.

Gillian Layne said...

What a wonderful perspective. Thanks so much for sharing your experiences with us. I really believe this road will factor heavily into the future of publishing. Good luck with your book--it's on my "need to grab" list! :)

Edie Ramer said...

Gillian, I think the same thing about the future of publishing, too. And I had so much help, by so many amazing people, that it was a magical experience.

Amy Atwell said...

Edie--what a fantabulous and joyous post! Yes, I feel you shaking off the shackles of "other people's expectations" and diving into the publishing pool. And I'm cheering for you! You certainly showed how writers can band together to help bring an indie author to market with a well-crafted and professional product. It takes a village.

I'm very up after reading your post!

Edie Ramer said...

Amy, I'm so glad I'm part of your village. And I'm happy that you're "up" after reading it. :)

ArkansasCyndi said...

wonderful upbeat attitude. That counts for so much.

I have Cattitude and reading it between the house cleaning, and company. very cute. Very readable and enjoyable

I have so much respect for you taking this leap.

Lainey said...

Love the movie quote, Edie. Brings it all home and I can SO relate.

Cattitude rocks! You rock. And when I'm all set to follow in your footsteps, I hope the experience is every bit as gratifying. Thanks for sharing.

Morganne said...

Edie,
I'm right there with you. With this path there is so much to celebrate. Taking control and putting yourself out there may not be easy, but it is definitely worth the trip. I read something in Writer's Forum about "beating your fear of success". I thought, "What?" Put me in coach I have no stinkin' fear of success. If one has a well written, solid product that for whatever reason hasn't been scooped up by NY why not put it out there and see what happens. Waiting and hoping for things to change never jump-started anyone's career before, why should it in this ever-changing industry. From one long-hauler to another, YOU GO GIRL!

Edie Ramer said...

Cyndi, I'm eager for your book to come out in print. Having so many choices now is wonderful for writers.

Edie Ramer said...

Lainey, let me know when you take that leap. I know you already have a lot of people who are wishing you well. I think it will be great for you, too.

Edie Ramer said...

Morganne, love being a long-hauler with you. I'm not afraid of success either. Bring it on!

Karin* said...

Go, Edie!

Karin* Tabke aka Harlow!

Edie Ramer said...

Karin, I'm going as fast as I can!

Leslie Ann said...

Edie,
YAY for you. I'm so with you on this.

Hey all...I'm posting a new WSJ post tomorrow about E-Books. It has all the links to the past articles I've posted on.

I'm jumping on the bandwagon...it's a new publishing world out there.

GRAB IT.

~LA of Five Scribes

Edie Ramer said...

Leslie Ann, good for you! There's a lot of us who are realizing that the gate keepers can't stop us from publishing.

Barbara White Daille said...

Edie - what a fantabulous post! (And a wonderful question, Donnell.)

Thanks for sharing and, once again, I have to say thanks for being the trailblazer showing so many the way.

You are awesome!

Barbara
www.barbarawhitedaille.com

Edie Ramer said...

Barbara, I feel as if I'm on the second wave of ebook writers and the first one already blazed the way for us. Most of them are really helpful with advice.

Donnell said...

Edie, thanks so much for being here today. I don't think I need to wish you good luck. You're making your own. Go, girl friend! And thanks everybody for stopping by.

Edie Ramer said...

Donnell, thank you again for inviting me and inspiring one of my favorite blogs that I've written. I had a lovely time! You know what questions to ask. :)

Misty said...

Hi Edie and Donnell!

Edie, you're an inspiration to all of us and I'm so happy for you. All writers have to look out for themselves and explore every avenue available. Where once there was only one real way to be a successful author, now there are many, and you're on your way to being another success story!

Misty
Heart-stopping danger...undercover intrigue.
www.readmistyevans.com

Edie Ramer said...

Misty, YOU are an inspiration to many of us, too. You're doing it all. E-books with e-pubs, NY print books with a top agent, and some self-pub, too. Now that's the goal of many writers, take advantage of all the avenues that are available.

Audra Harders said...

Edie, I'm so late to the party, but am enjoying the fun no less.

Congratulations on your publishing success! It is a brand new world these days. It takes courage to step outside the box and be a leader.

You go, girl!!

Much success to you!!!

Edie Ramer said...

Audra, I feel like I'm the second wave and I'm following the first wave. It just felt like the right thing to do.