To listen to Patti’s interview on the show: http://bit.ly/Zc4lk7
One thing that every writer longs for is a chance to put their work out into the world. For too long, the only way to accomplish this was to try and get a literary agent (which can include groveling, begging, and bouts of fervent praying) and then – if one does manage to get an agent – moving on to step two. The big step: hoping a publisher will agree that the book should indeed be put out into the world. This can include groveling, begging, and making compromises that often scrape away at the essence of one’s work.
With the three completed novels on my computer, I never got to step two. The books were shopped around, got good feedback, but no takers. My past preceded me – Ronald Reagan’s daughter who had written extensively about various aspects of her family life. She’s written fiction? Well, we don’t know what to do with that.
One day I realized no publisher was ever going to say yes to my fiction, and I could get to the end of my life with all these unpublished novels on my computer. Trust me, no one dreams of being a posthumously published author.
I had been paying more and more attention to Amazon’s self-publishing branch, which consists of Kindle Direct Publishing and CreateSpace. I really took notice when Amanda Hocking made news for her success as a self-published author. I had doubts about my ability to navigate my way through the online world, as I would have to publicize my work myself, after I up-loaded my book to KDP (this sounded very daunting to me.) But the alternative was worse – never putting my work out there. I chose, as my first self-published book, my novel Till Human Voices Wake Us, about two sisters-in-law who unexpectedly fall in love after one of them loses her son in a swimming pool accident. I began writing it twelve years ago.
There are other sites that make self-publishing available. But personally, I thought if I’m going to do this, I should go to the top of the mountain. Let’s face it, Amazon is huge, so why look elsewhere? My first challenge was finding an illustrator to do the book cover. I had a very specific image in mind and I started hunting on-line for e-book illustrators. I found Donna Casey (Digital Donna) who did exactly what I envisioned – even better than I envisioned it.
I then took a deep breath and watched KDP’s on-line tutorial about uploading your book. Actually I watched it twice…I’m a slow learner. I can do this! I thought. And I did. When I hit the publish button, I felt like I had just stepped into a world of new possibilities. I was suddenly in control of my own literary career. I didn’t have to answer to anyone else. I would have to work terribly hard to promote my novel, but I was happy to plunge into a new adventure.
I have to say, Amazon has made what seemed like a daunting task easy. I’m looking ahead now to which novel I will put out next on KDP and CreateSpace. Someone said to me, “If your novel does well, a traditional publisher might want to buy it.”
My response: “Why would I want to go backward?”