mental health, book reviews, medical, writer, writing tips, author, author interviews
If you have been following me long, you will know I wrote my novel, SURVIVING MIDAS, with intentions of getting it published. I went through the process of querying agents, taking part in #PitMad, and checking out countless manuscript wish lists. I am proud to say that my new novel will be release on August 24th, 2021. This is my story.
When I first wrote SURVIVING MIDAS, I thought ‘this is the greatest novel ever! People are going to love it!’ Actually, no. I didn’t think that. I thought it was crap, but it was the best crap I could produce. I had been down this publishing route before, spent more money than I’d like admit, and for nothing. My biggest fear is that it would happen again. So I did what I did not do last time: RESEARCH!
It’s amazing how many things you can learn if you just do a little research. I’m going to take you a bit on the journey that took me several years. If you are an experienced author, this probably won’t be new to you.
First off, I found out the press I went with last time was called a ‘vanity press’—a press that will print just about anything one sends them, but makes it sound like your novel was stupendous! Even if it’s littered with errors, plot holes and inconsistencies! I wrote another blog post on this if you are interested in this (not technically) scam. (click here for previous post). They prey on inexperience writers, getting them to pay for something they should be paid for. It’s a well-known racket too, but I was not plugged into a community of writers, so I had never heard of it. So the very next thing I did was get into a critique group.
I found my home on critiquecircle.com and have made several friends through that website. The site works on a point system where you receive points for critiquing someone else’s work so that you can post your own work. I put my first chapter up for review and immediately found out that it sucked. Like REALLY sucked. It was tough facing up to it, but I learned so much so quick! Then, as you critique other’s works, you begin to recognize mistakes and inconsistencies in your own work as well making you an excellent self-editor.
After getting my work critiqued (and swallowing my pride so I could make changes), I started the tedious and soul-crushing work of querying literary agents. I queried over 150 agents and I still do not have an agent. Here’s the deal: the barrier to entry is super high for writers. There are thousands of debut authors out there trying to gain the attention of a single literary agent. Publishing houses are looking for certain things, usually trending things. If your story is not on trend or so unique that a bookseller will have trouble setting it on the bookshelf, you will not get an agent.
My story is an older young adult novel dealing with drugs, trauma, abuse, and underworld crime bosses. It has a little romance, a few elements of literary fiction, and drama. It’s a lot. It doesn’t fit neatly into a box (and is far more unique than most things on the shelf today IMO). I’m marketing it as an older YA contemporary suspense. But you see my point: there’s not much on the market like it today.
So how did I get a publisher?
I participated in #PitMad on Twitter last November. You create a small blurb the length of a tweet and promote it all day in order to snag the attention of literary agents. Within fifteen minutes, City Limits Publishing liked my tweet, which is a request for querying. I did not receive another like from an agent the rest of the day.
I looked up City Limits Publishing. It is a small agency that opened in 2020. They publish a wide variety of books ranging from children’s to romance to mystery. I did not recognize any authors, and the literary agents I spoke too had not known of them. Keep in mind I have been scammed before, so my suspicions were on high alert. But they did not charge for publication and the royalties were higher than the general market.
I deliberated on this group for a long time. And finally, I gave them a chance.
And now my novel is coming out on August 24th!
So, what is the biggest fear I’m facing now with my publisher? Of course, the size of the press is concerning for the following reason: most of the marketing is going to fall on the author because of the small size of the platform; they might not be able to afford top of the line editors; the cover designs might be cheap. But go to City Limits Publishing and tell me what you think about their book covers. I think they’re gorgeous!
So what about marketing and editing?
City Limits is still a small press, so I’m going to have to do most of my marketing. Thankfully, the group has sent me a guide on developing social media presence, targeting audiences, designing websites, etc. and I’m actively doing all that. As it relates to editing, I don’t really know the quality of their editors because my piece did not require much editing! I mentioned my critique partners before. Thanks to their input, I had no plot holes and my scenes were written clearly. The story structure was intact, and received quite a bit of praise from the editing department about that!
Would I recommend all authors going indie? I honestly don’t know. It depends on what you want/can do. I could not afford to self-publish, so having someone pay for the creation of my book was important. I am doing most of the marketing, but in this day and age, who’s not? My book is not being put out by one of the Big 5 presses, but my percentage of royalties earned is much higher. My book will not be on the bookshelf in most of the big box stores, but will be available online for purchase at those outlets.
There are pros and cons to every method of publishing. This is still a risk, but so is all of life. But we make the most of it no matter what!
RW Hague is a registered nurse with over eight years of experience within the medical field. Using her medical expertise, she writes stories that are gritty and compelling.