If you missed Part 1–self-publishing: profitable or pointless? check it out here.
And on a completely unrelated (but super important) note: Happy 33rd Birthday to my husband Gabe (aka GodsMac)! I love you!
Okay, now that we’ve got the mush out of the way, how about we jump back in to the self-publishing debate? Watch it. Sure, I’m ready to jump. Whatcha got for me today?
First things first, did you know Michael Hyatt retweeted your blog post yesterday? Oh, did he? I hadn’t noticed. That’s nice.
Oh, brother. So, let’s talk about agents. Do wanna-be writers really need one? I mean, they take 15% of your hard-earned profits. If you self-publish, you can bypass them altogether. Sounds good to me. Okay, again, much has already been written on the topic. Agent Rachelle, Writer Jody, and Publishing CEO Michael (and tons of others) have all written really good posts about this, so I’m just going to share my personal experience.
Long story short, I got my first two book deals without an agent (read my unorthodox story here). Hooked up with an agent for my next two. And signed on with The Most Fabulous Agent in the History of the World a couple months ago (and lest you think this is flattery, I’ve already wooed her and won, so there). Here’s what TMFAITHOTW (aka Rachelle) does for me: She takes what I’ve written and reads it through her Super Agent Filter. She knows immediately if my project stands a chance. She suggests ideas for improving my writing. She says things like, “This is too boring” or “This won’t work” or “Maybe try this…” She knows publishers. She knows the market. She knows good writing. And she doesn’t hand out empty compliments.
When I think of what my project WAS and what it IS NOW (and is still becoming) because of Rachelle’s wisdom and advice, I could weep.
Okay, okay, okay. But you just said you got your first two book deals without an agent. So…? Let’s do this book by book. Book #1–honestly, I handed the completed manuscript in to my editor, and he said it was amazingly clean and he made very, very little changes. Book #2–same deal, except for one thing. My editor (a different one) suggested that I needed to “soften my approach.” I was trying to get women to (make) love (to) their husbands, but I was being a little bit of a bully about it in places. Book #3–again, as is. Book #4–My agent made a couple minor changes in my proposal. Then my editor suggested some amazing ideas (I hadn’t written the book yet when I submitted the proposal) and the book turned into something fabulous.
Still not seeing the point of an agent… That was then. This is now. I’m ready to step things up to the next level. Publishing houses are going under. The ones who are thriving (or at least surviving) are cutting the number of books they publish each year. It’s harder than ever to get a book deal. And so on and so forth (and such as and such as).
Which brings me to another point…
Hey, I’m the one making the points here. Whose blog is this anyway? Anyway, Rachelle encourages me to do my absolute best. Honestly, most of the time I’m tempted to just write “good enough.” Like this blog for example. I’ll go back and proofread, but I don’t spend a lot of time revising and rewriting (hardly any time actually) and it shows. But a blog post doesn’t necessarily have to be your absolute best writing. A book should be.
I think most writing can be improved and improved and improved some more. Sure, eventually you have to call it a night and send the thing to the printer, but I think many times, we’re just too lazy/impatient to keep polishing our stuff until it shines. We want immediate gratification–seeing our name on a book before we put in the months (and probably years) of hard work. And as one commenter said yesterday, if you publish mediocre work, you’ve damaged your reputation. People won’t want to read your work again, even if it’s good.
So, you’re saying that everyone who chooses to self-publish is a lazy gun-jumper? I love how you put words in my fingers. N-O. That is not what I’m saying. I already talked about how I self-published a book (and I may do another one someday). And I mentioned my friend Tammy. And there’s also my friend Cheryl. Some things I want to write may never be picked up by a traditional publisher, but that doesn’t mean I don’ t know a lot of people who would be interested in reading them.
I think you’ve got to examine your motives. Do you have something to share that may benefit people now instead of waiting 10 years until it’s perfect and you find an agent to represent you? Or are you just impatient? If you’re a believer, it’s something to pray about faithfully until you feel God leading you in one direction or another.
This book publishing thing is not for the faint of heart.
Well, I could stay here all day, but this post is twice as long as a Thanksgiving Eve post should be. And it is your husband’s birthday, and you’ve barely mentioned him. He’s the one who suggested I write this post. He’s a little more networked and savvy than I’ll ever be.
Happy Thanksgiving from both of us! Me and Gabe? Or me and you?
I am you, you moron. Just ignore that man behind the curtain.