Before I begin my rambling, I’ve become aware that I’ve been writing this novel for about a year and a half now. I’m not sure when the serious work began, but I’m astounded that even though I did over ten years of research it has taken so long to get where I am. I’m roughly 80% ready to either submit to an agent or to self-publish. And while the word count ebbs and flows, it’s hovering around 80,000 words. (Ooops, forgot to mention, it’s now 16 chapters about 5k per chapter.)
So, I’m attending a Sci-Fi Webinar this weekend. I’ve attended three of the seminars and listened to two of the bonus sessions so far. I’m enjoying the experience but find myself being consumed by a basic conundrum. That is, to go the traditional publishing route with an agent or to self-publish. This wasn’t what I came to the seminar to discover, but there’s an undertone of focus on publishing in most of the sessions. I’m struck with different points of view on this, but the idea that seems to be swaying me down the self-publishing path is Patience.
Let me back up. I began studying creative writing in high school. And if my life hadn’t taken some twists and turns I might have done a lot more writing. But I was seduced into a career in technology and found that I could propel myself forward by writing. It wasn’t creative writing but when I wrote I was able to express myself, and I developed my first writing voice. But I always had my eye on fiction and over the years I’ve took various classes. In fact, I have four short stories in various forms of readiness laying around. I’ve never cleaned them up enough to present to a magazine or agent though. I’ve had a sense of the level of development required before daring a submission. So, in a sense I’ve been very patient about my work. It has occurred to me that it might not be patience but rather a lack of ambition or maybe I just lacked the self-confidence.
Btw, I don’t consider my blogging to be Writing. For me, blogging has been mostly rambling, then pushing a ‘Publish’ button. The posts I did for irez.me are better quality though. I worked on most of those posts trying to make them worthy of Van’s salon. So, there’s that too.
But the point of this post is Patience. And this weekend my attention is being drawn back to the whole agent, editor, publishing system. Published authors have spoken about being “patient” with the process. One author suggests that once you submit a query letter you should be prepared to wait for several months. And that just seems nuts to me. I’m really troubled by a system that can’t move more quickly. My guess is they are in a constant state of what I call Better Dealing, meaning that they are juggling their prospects and deals. The publishing industry has achieved success with their formula. And there’s no doubt that if you get an good agent, you have a good chance of getting a good editor. You’ll also get marketing and PR support, not to mention that fact that you get paid. Heh.
Anyway, I’m not ready to submit to an agent or self-publish, but these things are on my mind. Maybe all the years of fire-and-forget blog posting has made me a wild thing. Maybe I lack the discipline or the even desire to please. In short, I’m getting something out of this seminar I hadn’t expected.
I have learned one other very encouraging thing, I’m lucky. Directly and indirectly, authors have suggested that if you have a couple of friend reading your material, especially one with an interest in sci-fi and another with editing skills, then you are very lucky. One author who leaned toward the traditional publishing route said that if you have those types of friends, there’s no need to pay for a freelance editor. Yet another author who leaned a little toward self-publishing, suggested that hiring a good sci-fi editor is a good plan. So, I’m lucky but if I can find a good editor, I’ll definitely consider coughing up some money. Finding a good sci-fi editor isn’t that easy though.