I’m infinitely grateful I’ve chosen to be an indie author. The path that led me here was frustrating and downright disparaging at times. But I’m thoroughly glad at where I arrived. I like control. I like knowing things are being done to my specs. And as an indie I can do that. A traditionally published author, as I’ve heard from numerous sources, doesn’t have these freedoms. Usually the publisher dictates the content of the book, gives a couple of options for a final cover, and handles all of production. So I’m glad to here, but my past self DID NOT like the idea of indie publishing. That girl, she wanted the biggest and best agent representing The Lucidites Series. Let me take you back.
*Flash back music
I’d just completed the first draft of the first book in the series, Awoken. And I knew as I was writing the book who I was going to send it to first: Jodi Reamer. She’s one the biggest literary agents out there and represents Stephanie Meyer, John Green and Ally Condie, just to name a few. She’s a big deal. And we had history together. She asked for and read one of my previous manuscripts (from a book that I had adapted from a blog). And she liked it…but didn’t love it. She eventually passed on the manuscript, but asked if I’d send her future work.
Yes, I will.
So I’m writing Awoken, daydreaming about how much Jodi is going to love it. The book was so solid in my mind I didn’t even proof it when it was done. Yep, that’s right. No proofing. The only thing I did when the book was done was send a query to the biggest agent in the business.
And I waited.
And then she finally responded! Well her assistant did. And he said, “Jodi’s intrigued. Please send full manuscript.”
Well I screamed. Woke up my infant. Did the happy dance and hit “send.”
I had no idea how much work that book needed. I didn’t know what I didn’t know. I didn’t know that books need multiple rounds of revisions, beta readers, editors. That books need to be left alone and then picked up with a fresh editorial mind. But my reality check was in the mail, so to speak.
Did Jodi tell me to take a hike? Nope. Did she write back and pass on this book but invite me to send others. Nope. She did what most agents who come in contact with amateur writers do. She ignored me. Never responded. And that’s okay, because her silence finally sunk into my dense brain and I went and figured out what I didn’t know I didn’t know. And I learned it. I took my books on a revision retreat, where I woke them up every morning, made them run laps until they were as toned and strong as they could be. In the afternoon we meditated together, became connected. And in the evening I had them meet with bright minds who offered feedback on how my books could improve themselves (my beta readers).
Well I hope you enjoyed that analogy. The truth of it is that I was ignorant. Then I became educated. And then I whipped my books into shape. And when I was done with that journey I realized I’d come so far that I didn’t want Jodi or any other agent’s help. I had proven that I had the fortitude and awesome support system to do this myself. And so I became what I never expected: an indie author.
So let’s raise our glasses to failure. Let’s toast to all our screw ups, because without them we may not become a better version of ourselves.