When I first sat down to write my novel I had the same vision everyone has when they sit down at a computer or typewriter for the first time. I was going to write the most moving, most profound book anyone had ever read. They would pass it to their friends, with tears in their eyes, and whisper 'read this. Just... read this.'
Of course before that happened an agent would have discovered my blog (via Twitter) and would have contacted me, begging to know when the novel would be done. That agent would land me a killer deal with a major publishing house. The book would sell like hotcakes and Ryan Gosling and Matt Damon would fight for the right to play the leading male role.
Oh. And it would take me all of six months to write the book and another six to finish the edits.
Then I actually started writing and no agent came out of the woodwork (despite all of my casual Twitter stalking). 6 months into it I was barely halfway done telling the story and, every time I reread the book, my dreams of mega-stardom faded a bit more.
Three years after that first day, book finally polished and ready, I started sending queries to all of those agents who were supposed to discover me on their own and I'm so proud to say that not a single one of them had anything negative to say about the book or about me. Instead they all said "You write so well, and the book sounds awesome, but it's just not a good fit for us right now."
Not exactly helpful, but I was completely undeterred and would have kept right on sending query letters out if I hadn't had a terrifying conversation with a fellow writer early this Fall.
This writer, lovely, smart, educated, wrote a book and landed herself a star agent. The star agent got her a book deal with a Major Publishing House. In fact, the star agent got her a three book deal. It was every budding novelist's dream come true. She did one rewrite, and another, and another. It took almost three years, but finally the book was ready for the last steps that would take it to publication. Which is exactly when the star editor at the Major Publishing House left to go work somewhere else.
That lovely writer's book? Was killed. No other editor at the MPH will touch it. Her book will never be read.
Her story and my lack of progress helped convince me that I no longer wanted to pursue a traditional road to publication. I started researching all the self publishing options available to authors like me and decided that Amazon's CreateSpace was the way to go. Then, last week, a third road to publication, one I hadn't even considered, magically appeared.
And that's the one I'm going to take.
If all goes according to plan, my book, this book I've been working on for 4 very long years will be published by the Sand Hill Review Press, a small independent publishing house run by a woman I've known for few years, a wonderful writer who is pouring her heart and soul into getting great writers published on their own terms. (Who wouldn't want to work with someone who describes their book as "like chocolate?")
It's an amazing solution I should have been dreaming about instead of casting phantom movie leads. It's not a traditional path by any stretch of the imagination, but if indie music labels can change the way we listen to music, and indie movie studios can change the way movies are made, who's to say indie publishers won't change the way authors can share their creations with the world.
All that to say, stay tuned, leave a little space in your summer reading list, tell your book club, tell your friends, come July you could be packing a copy of Aloha Also Means Goodbye and into your beach bag, wondering which role I was going to have Matt Damon play and which I was reserving for Ryan Gosling.
(Pssst! Want to be kept in the loop during this progress? You can follow the ups and downs on my Facebook Author Page!)