The Next Step

I finished my novel a few months ago. Since then I’ve had a few folks read it and the feedback I’ve gotten has encouraged me to go forward with trying to publish it.

As a first step, I sent a query to a New York literary agent, as one would buy a lottery ticket. He politely declined the representation.

So now what? I could pursue other agents, but getting a literary agent is a long shot and the process could take years. I don’t have the patience for that and I’m doubtful that my book would be attractive to an agent in any event. So that leaves two options: small/indie publishers and self-publishing.

As much as I’d like to have a copy editor and a professional cover design, I’m inclined not to pursue a traditional publishing house. My guess is that the book is going to have limited appeal, and I don’t want to spend the time trying to find a publisher that would be interested in it. And there’s always the risk that the house goes under and takes the book with it.

So by the process of elimination, I’m looking into self-publishing. The good news is that self-publishing has never been easier. There are lots of options out there, but the dominant player is (unsurprisingly) Amazon. CreateSpace is their self-publishing platform and the reviews from those who use it are pretty uniformly positive. Cherie used it to publish her cookbook a couple of years ago and was very pleased with the process and the end result. And it costs the author nothing to create and publish a book on CreateSpace.

As far as I can tell the principal negative with Amazon’s service is that most bookstores won’t carry their books. Considering the threat Amazon poses to bookstores, that’s understandable of course. While I don’t have any reasonable expectations of seeing my book on the shelves at Barnes and Noble, there are some indie bookstores in the area and I’d be delighted to see my book in them. Is that enough of a disadvantage to make another more expensive self-publishing platform preferable? I don’t know, but at this point I’m inclined to say no.

What sayeth you dear readers? I’d love to hear from anyone with thoughts on this. Nothing I’ve written here is written in stone. I’m open to any reasonable suggestions for how best to proceed. I’ve grown attached to the characters in my story. I want to do the best for them that I can.

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