Publishing Outside the Box

Although I haven’t posted recently (a freelance deadline I just hit today!), I have been thinking long and hard about my decision to self-publish. About a month ago, I mentioned to a friend I was frustrated by the query process. She murmured her sympathy and in an effort to test the waters, I confessed I was considering self-publishing my novel. She was quiet for a moment before saying “Oh.” I’m quite sure I didn’t misinterpret her reaction when I say she was clearly disappointed. Although it wasn’t the response I was hoping for, I understood her reaction. She had read a draft of my psychological mystery, A GUILTY MIND. She knew two agents had requested the full manuscript and had not yet rejected it. She was pulling for me to find the right agent and publisher. I could see in her face she thought I was “giving up”. The truth is – she wasn’t entirely wrong but nor was she right. 

While I appreciate that two agents are reading my manuscript, I’ve been down this road before. Previously, one agent liked the full manuscript enough to phone me and request some revisions. Naively, I rushed through it and sent it back immediately. In retrospect, I should have taken my time and really thought about what he was looking for in the revised draft. Silly me. After all, it wasn’t like he was just sitting around in his office waiting for my new and improved manuscript to be plopped on his desk. Either way, he wasn’t satisfied with the changes and ultimately decided not to represent me. He did, however, call again and offer encouragement. Unfortunately, while he stressed he thought the book was well-written with solid pacing, he didn’t think he could sell it. Groan. I’ve had a couple of similar experiences with other agents although he was the most personal and professional.

Cut to today. One agent has had my manuscript in hand for more than seven months and the other for nearly four. I’m grateful they’re interested but I would be lying if I said I was holding my breath. I’m no longer that naive. I know that most debut authors have a difficult time finding agents and even if they do, they have an even more difficult time finding a publishing house. I’ve seen the comments from agents that publishers are taking fewer risks. I know the odds. In the meantime, weeks, months, and years go by. And let’s be real, none of us is getting any younger!

While I may not be as young as I used to be (old is such a relative term), that is hardly the only factor in my decision. The most important reason I have decided to self-publish is I believe in my book. I believe in it because I’ve had positive feedback from several professionals (not just from my wonderful family members and friends). My decision is also based on a sense of realism. I believe that the opportunities for unpublished authors in the traditional world of publishing are harder to come by. I also believe that self-publishing or indie publishing – whatever you want to call it – is the new world for the mid-list debut author.  Realism also means that by deciding to self-publish, I accept that any support network a publishing company might provide will not exist. No in-house editor. No in-house cover artist. No distributor. No marketing department. No one to hold your hand. Does this make it harder? I know there are some who will disagree (they like being in TOTAL control) but I say – Yes, it’s harder.

I’ve recently hired a professional editor. I’ve contacted an artist and we are beginning work on the cover next week. I’m spending hours doing research to ensure when my book is published, it will be as professionally put together as if it had come from Random House. 

The bottom line is, I’m no longer telling friends I’m thinking about self-publishing. I’m announcing that A GUILTY MIND will be self-published. Fortunately, the last friend I told gave me just the right response. She smiled and said, “You go, girl!”

Published by K.L. Murphy

Author of Her Sister's Death and The Detective Cancini Mysteries

4 thoughts on “Publishing Outside the Box

  1. I recently read an interesting article which I don’t have the link for but will try to summarize for you. Here goes. A few years ago new authors were told they need to have a successful blog before publishers would look at them, now it is a self-published novel.

    Sounds like you are on the right track. Hiring a professional editor is a very important step I think a lot of self-published authors skip. Nothing is worse than reading a story full of typos and mistakes.

    Good luck, keep us informed of the launch date.

    1. Janet,

      Thanks so much for the comment. I absolutely do think all writers should use a professional editor at some point in the process – whatever type of publishing they pursue. Again, thanks for all your support and I will keep you posted.

  2. Hey Kellie,
    “A Guilty Mind” does sound really interesting. In fact, the reason I’m following your blog is because I want to know when the release date is, so I can buy it. Anything to do with psychology is my favorite type of fiction.

    I think it’s cool that you are going the self-publishing route; there’s nothing wrong with it as long as you approach it the right way. Which it sounds like you are by hiring an editor, etc.

    Right now, I’m still making revisions on my story (before I request beta-readers), but I keep going back and forth if I want to query to agents, etc. or just self-publish. I’m pretty impatient (something I have to work on), so I know the long waiting process of waiting for the acceptance or rejection will get on my nerves–especially if they know in a few days they’ll reject it, but wait forever to let you know. I’m still debating if I want to try the big-name publishers or just query to small publishers. In fact, maybe even just e-publishers.

    Who knows? I still have a while to go–I’m one of those people who continues to think of every pro and con before doing something. However, I do know if I go the self-publishing route, it’ll be through CreateSpace and Amazon, and I already have my publishing house name created. Whatever route I choose, I want to do it the right way. Good thing I went to school for business administration (major was Accounting) LOL.

    Good luck with your publishing efforts! When your book comes out, I’ll do a book review on my blog as a part of my reading challenge.

    Keep smiling,

    1. Yawatta,

      I really appreciate your comments and your support. Like anything though, once you’ve made the decision, you wish you were already there with the finished product in your hands. I’m also really glad you like the sound of A GUILTY MIND. I’m looking forward to you reading it!!


Leave a Reply