Upon completion of “Magpie in August,” my debut novel, I began submitting to the literary agents I had researched (authors who want to go for traditional publishing should always research literary agents and houses before sending query letters). Omitting all of the uninteresting details, I received four “close, but no cigar” responses, thirteen flat out passes, and additionally, a dozen or so no responses (it is not uncommon that an agent passes on a manuscript via no response).
So, doing the math, I only submitted to about 30 literary agents. I’ve heard of writers submitting to hundreds over a period of two or three years. That’s balls to the wall tenacity, folks—some hard core patience. Patience is not a virtue of mine. After I’d crossed out every agent that made up my list, I began submitting to small presses. Out of eleven, I received one request for my full manuscript.
Don’t tap the keg yet. This small press ended up closing shop. Thank fuck I hadn’t signed a contract with them. Imagine the shit storm…
Admittedly, in the beginning I was a fucking snob who never entertained the thought of settling for indie author status. But then, I discovered some incredible talent here on WordPress—writers who self-publish—and I was blown the fuck away by their craft. For real, in total awe of these people. So, I looked into self-publishing (authors who want to self-publish should always research the avenues, of which there are many, since self-publishing is BOOMING for tons of reasons that I see as obvious).
Two months after “Magpie in August” was released through Amazon, one of the literary agents I’d had a boner for sent me an email. She apologized for the late response, which had come a goddamned year after I’d queried her, and said that although she was interested in “Magpie,” she couldn’t represent me because I’d already self-published—but please do query her with any future manuscripts. I didn’t know whether to laugh, or cry.
I chose to suck it up, and keep on writing. I self-published a book of poems and prose recently, and I’m proud as fuck of the collection. I’m currently finishing up my second novel, which I fully intend to publish all by myself. I’m proud to be an indie author. And I am super fucking fortunate to have a partner in Allane, who takes such care and pride in designing my book covers.
Someday, I may shoot for traditional publishing again. But for now, I am beyond happy to have cover designs created by the designer I want, and to have the ultimate say regarding content editing. I never was one to follow the rules handed down by others anyway.
Peace out, my friends