Well, my novel is officially out, and available for purchase, in both print form and in Kindle format. And now, as I leaf through my author’s proof copy of the book, and the e-book preview, I am wracked with doubt.
Before I had decided to publish on my own, I had spent over a year sending out queries, taking note of what criticisms were offered, continuing to edit and polish where I could. And yet, despite all the time and effort I spent on my novel, it was being rejected at every turn. About half a dozen times, I got agencies interested enough to request the entire manuscript for review. But, Alas! each time, my manuscript was rejected. After collecting roughly a hundred rejections, I decided to publish on my own.
As I think I may have related elsewhere, I was loath to do so, because my feeling was (and to a certain extent, still may be) that if my book was worth publishing, it would be picked up by a reputable agent, and I would be published in “The Usual Way.” But, I was ultimately encouraged by friends to publish so that I could begin earning money to pay back what I had spent on professional editors and script critiques. Furthermore, another friend of mine, who has self-published his own work, and makes a bit of supplemental income for himself thereby, advised me that the reading public would ultimately tell me whether or not they thought my work worth reading. And I was also encouraged by several pro-indy publishing sites online that publishers today, as movie studios, prefer to not to gamble. They would rather bank on known authors and proven genres; and this meant that independent publishing was a good thing, in that it would get great authors’ work into the public arena.
Of course, a lot of shit has also been published, but independently, and traditionally. So even those encouraging reasons mean nothing, really. “Eyes on texts, laddie! Eyes on texts,” to misquote a more famous axiom about the theater.
And so, as I was re-reading my work, I found at least two typos. And I began to question my reasons for putting in quite the amount of back story that I did. And the order in which I placed certain chapters. And I started thinking that I had not been descriptive enough here, but far too florid there. I began to think, “Maybe I could trim these threads here,” even though I had spent six months cutting and editing with a hatchet. I began questioning many of my choices, as well– Why did I select that version of the myth and not this one? Why did I use the obscure early legends here, but for this bit, used a much later Latin addition to the story?
In short, I am having grave self-doubt now, when it’s too late. I can only hope at this point that my book is entertaining enough to read, despite its ponderous length (I did try to make it shorter, but I apparently have too much Russian in me to accomplish such a thing.)
What I can say is that reading my book is probably far less traumatic than eating traditional Japanese lobster crackers. It’s probably far less painful to read my book than it would be to drop a bowling ball on your tongue.
Maybe had I thrown in a bit of explicit sex and called it “Fifty Shades of Green,” I could’ve sold millions of copies.
Lesbians! Amazons! Theodicy! Sweet hot Nymph on Gorgon LOVE!
Please buy my book, eh?
I had the same experience and was reluctant to go down the Indie path. If I was to do it again, I’d still go Indie but I am still seeking representation for a different series I am writing. I was biting my nails-literally-when each book was published and even now still anxious. And as you mentioned, there is a lot of rubbish published, both Indie and traditional, so much for the gatekeepers in the latter sense. One thing I have learned during this huge learning curve, keep persevering, you just never know what may happen.
Perhaps I’ll continue to seek an agent, then. Maybe I can polish all the little errors and such that I’m seeing now for a “second edition.”
(*sigh* And after all the money I spent on a professional editor!)
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I hear your pain. I can sympathise, having had a similar experience!!