Every writer has moments of doubt. I’ve read my favorite authors’ stories (when they’re posted) and know most have run into their own barriers to writing. So it doesn’t matter if you’re a best seller or just getting started-doubt comes with the territory.
I’ve been writing all my life, but I am now a little over 3 years into the publishing rat-race, and I’ll admit I was losing a little steam (or maybe heart). Part of that could be my pace. 10 books in 3 years is a decent chunk I’d say. But the pace doesn’t bother me – I LOVE to write. I love to interact with readers and other authors. I even love to edit and (mostly) market. What had me down was querying and money. Dang. I said money. We’ll get to that.
When I first got into this, I started out as self-published. I am hugely glad that I did for several reasons. I learned so much about publishing a book from top to bottom and got myself established. Self-publishing was also huge for my self-confidence. I gained readers and awards and positive feedback without having to wait through the arduous and confidence-destroying process of querying first.
Let’s be honest. Querying sucks. Agents and editors get truck-loads of queries every day. They have to wade through those and narrow down based on the market and their own personal preferences. Finding the “right” agent or editor for you (and you for them) is totally needle-in-the-haystack with a dash of fairy dust. It’s also s-l-o-w. Some rejections come quickly (I once got one the same day I sent it.). Some take months and months and months. If I had waited to query Blue Violet, it would only just now be coming out on the market. I *might* have written the second book. But most likely I would have stalled out while waiting and maybe even given up on writing. (Knowing my personality giving up is not hugely likely, but I can see how many others would.)
When I started writing contemporary romance, I decided to not self-publish, but to try the traditional route. I completed 2 books from 2 different potential series and then started querying them out. Many, many moons (and lots of waiting) later, I was honestly losing steam and deciding if I wanted to do contemporary at all (which I really do) or maybe self-publish (which I do enjoy, but is more costly for me).
My books are selling – which is great! I gain new readers daily, and you know how much I love my readers. That said, sales are coming in fits and spurts, which means no steady stream. Meanwhile, the marketing and other expenses have both steady (monthly giveaways, etc.) and bulk (releases) needs. In addition, I’m doing a lot to improve my writing (paying for workshops, group memberships etc.) And I’ve just added travel and conventions to the list of expenses (which are very expensive). Right now I’m breaking even (most of the time).
I’m hoping with the re-release of the Svatura series, having 6 books on the market will help. In 2016, I plan to release books 3 & 4 of the Shadowcat Nation series – that will bring it up to 8 books released. Hopefully my agent will find the contemporaries a home, but, as previously stated, that takes time. Obviously, I’m still writing, so more books are coming. I’m giving myself end of April 2016 before I start really pulling back on marketing expenses and the travel, going super lean with money decisions.
Train Back on the Tracks!
Now that I’ve shared my woes (*cough* pity party *cough*), let’s get to the “hooray” part. Recently I had a string of confidence-boosting moments. I had a workshop accepted for the RT Booklovers Convention in April. I achieved PAN (published author) status with RWA. And I signed my contemporary book Saving the Sheriff with an agent! And the-little-engine-who-could made it over the top of the hill. Just needed a boost.
Really it gave me the kick in the pants that I needed. I needed a reminder that I’m on the right path. Sometimes a gal just needs a little validation. But I also needed to remember how far I’ve come and the many successes along the way.
Querying and all the waiting that comes with it will be a part of life ad nauseam as long as I want to be traditionally published. That’s a personal choice I’ll live with. The money is harder, but I know where I’ll cut expenses if/when that time comes. It’s all about choices, right? But the most important for me is that I choose to continue to write. I still love it. So I’m not letting money or process slow me down.