Friday, June 22, 2012

Finding Your Path

There have been lots of talk on the interwebz about traditional vs indie publishing lately - which one is more "professional", which is the "right" path, and whether or not that is even the right conversation to be having. Rather than add to the already crowded conversation, I thought I would share my personal view on my own path.

I am published with a small press for both nonfiction and fiction (two different houses). Two of my nonfiction book deals were secured with an agent. My fiction deals have all been secured by me with a brand new publishing house. It is true that I tried the agent, big publishing house route first with LACRIMOSA. And again with TRANSCEND. I was unsuccessful with that route. When faced with shelving both novels, I decided to give a small press a try. I had learned from my nonfiction experiences, which have been very successful, I could effectively market my work, so why not try with fiction. And I am thrilled with how things have worked out.

But, it has not been without a lot of heartache. My sales are not as strong as I would like. And I have not been as successful as I had hoped with marketing my books - certainly not as successful as I have been with my nonfiction. Of course, the nonfiction is very niche specific - a niche I am very familiar with. My fiction, um...no. It is a much larger market and as such, harder to achieve recognition. At least for me. I am not like the indie authors selling thousands of copies a week. That is not my path.

About a month ago, I was really frustrated with my path, wondering if I had made the right choice for me. I talked with my friends - those with agents and large publishing houses, those with small presses and my indie friends. I listened to the pros and cons, their triumphs and frustrations, their journeys.

Through that process I discovered a few truths about me and my stories: I do not write "typical" stories - they are dark, emotional rides that some - maybe even many - will not like. I love having a say in what I write, when I release it, my cover art, everything. I love having a partnership with my editors and cover artists. And I love having a partner in general.

And, most important of all - I discovered that I am on the perfect path for me.

You know what else I figured out? I am happiest when I am connecting with readers on some level - through my social networking platform, in person at events, via email. I am also happiest when I get to mentor other up-and-coming writers, especially teens. So, I plan to do more of both. If the sales increase through my efforts, fabulous (I would eventually love to retire from my current profession and be a full time writer, speaker, coach). If not, I won't be crushed. Connecting with readers, watching and hearing their reactions to my stories, that is what sustains me in this crazy business. Being honored with their hunger for more of my writing, that is my inspiration.

I've found my path. And it's the one I'm on right now. Does this mean I would never become agented, go for the deal with the big house. Not at all. I am a firm believer in keeping every option open at all times. For right now, this is the right path. For tomorrow - who knows? I guess I will find out when I get there!



On a lighter note, don't forget to sign up for the Masquerade Blogfest next week. And yes, be sure to stop by EVERY DAY starting on Monday - I am revealing many secrets about me and my stories, hosting a fab giveaway for my books, and....
revealing the cover to TRANSCEND (which is epic, trust me - the best CP designs has done yet!)

Have a fab weekend and see you then!

4 comments:

  1. Christine, this post could not have come at a more perfect time for me. I just might email you and get your thoughts on what has been going on with my YA book. Lots of decisions to make real soon, and I'm looking for as much sound advice and personal experience as I can get.

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  2. You've hit on the key, no matter our destination, we must be happy with the path we take to get there. Your books are wonderfully dark, so true. And I think it's only a matter of time before the world catches on to how brilliant they are. :)

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  3. Speaking as someone still on the other side, the paths to publication are so varied among different writers. And the level of success is just as varied. I'd have to say this post demonstrates why there are so many conversations about traditional publishing vs indie publishing vs small press publishing. So many want to know that perfect formula to produce the results we desire. Yet, whichever path taken, the end results could differ. One person going traditional could have the same results as an indie published. So many things can have an impact, including timing. But I'm glad you've determined that the path you've taken is the right one for you. The best part is that life is a mysterious thing. A new op may come your way. Who knows? But I've enjoyed your writing and have been moved by it :-)

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  4. Love this. It really is a maze out there for authors these days. Finding the path that works for each of us is a challenge. Sounds like your steps are taking you down an awesome road. And I totally agree about keeping options open. Always! Wishing you all the best!

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Thanks for your input!