Author Guest Post
How Self-Publishing Affects A Writer's Growth Curve
Ira Glass (from NPR’s This American Life) did an interesting video about people who attempt “creative work.” He talks about the doubts we experience and boils it down to basically three things:
1. We attempt creative work because we have taste
2. Initially, there will be a “gap” between our work and the work our taste would guide us towards
3. We have fight through, work hard, practice, refine, and practice some more, to close that gap
It’s a great video, with a wonderful message. One that many aspiring authors are told:
Or, as Beckett put it, “Fail better.”
As a self-published author, it also inspires me to question: Should I be self-publishing?
Like many self-published and indie authors, self-publishing was not my first choice. Unlike previously successful authors who turned to indie publishing because of better margins or greater creative control, or just because they were people who knew they had a platform and thus didn’t need the services of a traditional publishing house, I started my official writing life by submitting to agents.
48 agents to be exact.
As I was submitting query letters I was also making every mistake you’re warned against (I didn’t take polishing my query letter as seriously as I could have, I had a completed manuscript that I was still actively editing, and so on). Yet the truth of the matter is, my ultimate rejection from the formal publishing world might have had everything to do with the novel itself. It’s possible that even if I had written a pitch-perfect query, the book just wasn’t what they wanted. It’s not in a popular genre. It didn’t fit with their… taste.
At that point, I decided to self-publish. I’m a control freak. I’ve tried quitting writing several times already. This time, I was committed. It was publish-or-bust, and if traditional houses weren’t willing to help, then I would do it myself.
Most days, it’s a decision I stand by, despite the ups and downs inherent in self-publishing.
Still, there are times when I can’t help but wonder whether I should have just put Unwell on the shelf. If I should have dedicated all of my time to writing, practicing and closing that gap between where I am, and where I want to be.
Five months ago, I wouldn’t have been able to tell you how to find a cover artist, or what a .mobi file is. Four months ago (despite the fact that I run a book review blog), I couldn’t have articulated what a blog tour is. Finding a cover artist, formatting, all of these are things that I previously knew nothing about; it took time and patience to learn all of it (and still, there is so much more to master).
Ultimately, every moment I spent learning about marketing, tweaking cover designs or even trying to figure out this mad, mad social media world, was time away from writing. Time I could have been using to close the gap between where I am, and where I’d like to be.
All of which makes me wonder: How has self-publishing affected my own growth curve?
It’s not, ultimately, a very answerable question, but I think it’s one that bears consideration.
About The Author
Unwell by Marie Chow
Publisher: Independent Self Publishing
Publication Date: January 7, 2014
Format: Paperback - 306 pages
Kindle - 2323 KB
Genre: Women's Fiction
BUY THE BOOK: Unwell
Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the author in exchange for my honest review and participation in a virtual book tour event hosted by Chick Lit Plus Blog Tours.
With a poignant lack of emotion, the young mother shares her life story. As the child of Asian parents who moved to America early in her life, the mother shares how her life disintegrated after her parents’ divorce. From upper middle class suburban to sharing her mean aunt’s house to a one bedroom apartment in a shabby neighborhood, this mother endures the indignity that comes with the change of status. From her father’s absence to her mother becoming a married man’s mistress, her story reads like a tragic Victorian novel set in the 21st century, but that’s where the similarity ends—she is definitely not a shy country miss and she certainly did not take the easy way out.
This amazing story chronicles the life of a woman who fought for everything she got, faced her demons and made the hard choices. Her fortitude and candor are disarming, her avant-garde views strangely endearing. You’ve never read a book like this and probably never will again. Get your copy today and take the literary journey of a lifetime. Through this glimpse into the life of a woman of integrity, sacrifice and love, you’ll feel her pain, live her failures and cheer for the meager joys that come her way. But the one thing you’ll never do… is forget her. Or her story.
My Book Review:
Unwell is the poignant story of a young Chinese American woman who journals her life story to her unborn child, who she has chosen not to know. Told in the first person narrative, the reluctant mother-to-be chronicles her difficult life story in a haunting, raw, and honest style that takes the reader on an emotional journey.
To say that this was an easy story to read would be wrong, as this gritty tale unfolds it definitely pulls at the heart strings and stirs the soul, and causes one to ponder what would you do if you were in this young woman's shoes. The reader is easily drawn into the woman's story as her life struggles determine the hard choices and tough decisions. The reader is kept wondering what the woman's final decision would be when her child is born, questioning along the way how one could choose not to be a mother, yet comprehending that you can't judge a person unless you walk in their shoes.
Unwell is a sobering and thought provoking story that will resonate with you long after the last word has been read.
RATING: 4 STARS
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