March 21, 2011
I am dark fantasy author C.C.Cole of the “Gastar” series, and I published my first book “Act of Redemption” in 2009. My novel journey began following the death of my sister from a domestic violence incident. For recovery and closure, I used fictional writing as a creative outlet, along with the strong support of my family and friends; I’ve been able to move past a very dark time of my life.
So, like so many other author wannabes, I read about three of the “How to Get Successfully Published” books, giving tips on how to make agents happy, how to make editors happy, and by following the instructions, make me happy as a successfully published author. After about six query letters to various agents I found said to be accepting “dark fantasy” genre writing all with addresses at “The Villiages” I promptly received the SASE (self-addressed stamped envelope, in case some of you haven’t tried) with a polite single-lined letter that stated they had no interest in my story.
Being the obsessive compulsive and impatient person that I am, I checked into the self-publishing industry. These companies tend to distinguish themselves from “vanity publishing” and really, I’m not certain of the differences but have been happy with the outcome. I’ve used two different self-publishing companies for both books published, and each has their strengths. The biggest problem at first with self-publishing is the outright cost of the whole process. I’m not a professional writer, so I needed an editor, went for paperback prints and later on ebook/kindle versions. Later I had a book trailer made for my first book, and had it done up front for my second book. I’m not sure how trailers work out long term, but I enjoy book trailers of most all genres.
Marketing is probably the most difficult part of self-publishing because an individual does not have the wide access to buyers like a publishing company. Social networking does help with promotion, but there’s always that “don’t promote too much, or you’ll be spam” issue that leaves a newbie confused about what people want. The many articles about social network use give good advice, but take time to place their recommendations into action.
Advice to the new author: write. I read some article by an obnoxious Hollywood screenwriter (don’t recall who it was, honest!) who made a profound statement: “If I can talk you out of being a writer, then you’re not a writer.” He was right. Not even his arrogance could talk me out of writing.
So, new writers, go forth, write, and make it work for you. If traditional publishing works, that’s great! If self-publishing is right for you, then go with it. Some writers’ groups/bookstores resist the ‘taint’ of self-published writers, but I say they are not part of your audience so mark them out of your life as you come across them. Writers don’t need to apologize for doing what they love.