I spent nearly all of 2019 researching literary agents, querying those agents, writing books that said agents might be interested in, writing queries, sending partial and full manuscripts, and crying and stressing.
I doubted myself.
I hated my writing.
I questioned my dreams and goals.
I felt like crap.
When people would ask why I wanted to go from self-publishing to traditional publishing, my answer was (and still is) because I want to seem my book at Target. Yup. Is that silly? Sure, but I’m owning it.
Why Target? This answer is two part … 1.) I write books for women like me and women like me love Target. 2.) I dream about walking down the aisles at Target with a latte in one hand, a child-free shopping cart being pushed with the other, and seeing MY BOOK on an end-cap begging to be found by new readers.
That last one is the true answer for why I tried the agent and traditional publishing route—I want to reach more readers. It would also be nice to not have to do everything myself. Then again, having 100% of the control is a hell of a drug.
So, why am I going indie again? This one is a little harder to answer.
The first reason has more to do with my mental health than anything. Querying agents and going from the high of getting a request to the low of a generic rejection is exhausting and painful. It’s a gut punch. I queried three books last year and became obsessed with my numbers and checking my email. Not healthy.
Control is the second reason. Some of the feedback I got with rejections made sense from a “what sells” perspective, but the stories that “sell” aren’t always the stories that need to be told. I don’t want to write solely for the sake of selling. Yes, being an author is a business but it is art first. Along those same lines, I like having control over cover art and timelines and edits. Do I always make the right choice? Probably not, but I learn something every time.
Timing is the last (big) reason. Y’all publishing is sloooooooow. Like, slower than Christmas. As in, I could write a perfect book tomorrow, land the dream agent, and earn a 6-figure advance and it would be at least 2-3 years before that book landed in readers hands. I do not have that kind of patience. The 1.5 minutes it takes my microwave popcorn to pop is too long. So, yeah, waiting 2 years to publish a book sounds excruciating.
Do I still want to see my book in Target? Yes, please (if you wanna reach out to your store or corporate and request my book, that would be cool). For me, though, it’s more important to get my books out into the world and reach readers. If the right opportunity came along, I’d definitely be open to traditional publishing, but right now, I’m happy where I am.