Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The Secret I've Been Keeping

I have a secret. Well, maybe the first part is not so secret. But I’ve had this desire to be a published novelist. I’ve written two novels that have been shopped up and down the streets of this city by my ever-faithful agent. Each of them has received their fair share of rejections.

I’ve learned this is not uncommon. John Grisham reportedly received 28 before A Time To Kill was published. Kathryn Stockett topped that with 60 before The Help was given a green light. So rejection by the big publishing houses does not necessarily mean what you got ain’t good. These days it has more to do with the business model, one that is based on what I like to call, the what is going to make the most money the quickest, let’s not worry about quality model.  It’s a corporate disease that is not limited to publishing. That is not to say quality is not being printed. In between the life story of Snookie from the Jersey Shore and Sarah Palin’s 432 pages on how being able to see Russia from her bathroom window qualifies her as an expert on foreign policy, there has been some good stuff given the seal of approval in the world of traditional publishing. It’s just harder to find.

But here’s the next part of this secret. As much as I openly abhor the inner workings of today’s corporate environment I confess I have coveted that acceptance into the club letter.  I admit all those editors, publishers and agents had me convinced that until I got my call from one of the Big Five saying I had an offer and an advance I was not print worthy.

Crazy, huh? But true.

Then back in January I splurged and signed myself up for a one-day seminar with Seth Godin on the future of the publishing industry. Seth, ever brilliant, made a point that I couldn’t shake. He drew the analogy that waiting for the book industry to deem me publishing worthy was like sitting on the bench waiting to get picked for the team in school. So I started to wonder, why was I waiting? This was me. The girl who refused to stand in line in her old clubbing days because she was not going to wait for someone else to get done having their good time so she could start having hers.

I remembered why I left the corporate environment. Their philosophies no longer matched up with mine.Yet I still wanted their approval rating. What was that about?  I live in a world where technology has gifted me the ability to do this myself. And I wasn’t taking advantage of it! I embraced on line banking quicker than this!

Then one morning while in the shower, where so many of my really good decisions are made, I decided I was going to self-publish my first novel.

There, I said it.

I admit it makes me a bit nauseous. But I have decided it is time to get up off the bench.

I haven’t been talking about it too much because I also decided I no longer liked the title I had.  So I spent a little more time wallowing in resistance to the do it yourself option and agonized over what the new title would be.  Now that I have it, I’ve given myself license to say it out loud. The Secrets They Kept

In between I hired a professional editor.  If I was going to do this it was not going to be with scotch tape and band-aids.  I’ve taken the results of her work to heed and have been implementing some changes. Today I hired a graphic designer to do the cover. Next is the uncharted territory of  e-book formatting, which quite frankly is more challenging and terrifying for me than writing the novel was.

So, my secret is out. I am about to join forces with all those other rebels who are changing the publishing industry.  You see I am one of those that believe people aren’t reading less. They are reading differently.  And I believe with the advent of e-readers they will be reading even more than before. Traditional publishing will not go away just as AM Radio didn’t disappear when Television entered the picture. But the game will be different. There will be more content, not less and the key will be to find the really good stuff among the mediocre.  I’m hoping my novel falls into the category of sought after quality.

This is not to say that should a nice advance from one of the old brick and mortars come my way I would not be open to considering it. But one thing is for sure. I am no longer waiting to be picked.

The Secrets They Kept will be available for sale on Amazon.com and other on-line book retailers in both e-book and print in September. Stay tuned for more details, and please, feel free to help spread the word!

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