The great thing about life is you can change course when it feels necessary. Oh, maybe not the big things – like you hate where you live, but you don’t have the money saved to move out West, but other things that you do have control over any given day.
“I can accept failure. Everyone fails at something.
But I can’t accept not trying.” ~Michael Jordan
A year ago, I was excitedly coming to the end of final edits on my novel, Oldsters. The story was inspired by the generation of my father, and my plan was to submit to agents in hopes of going the traditional publishing path. I started sending queries in early April, 2016. To date, I have sent over 60 queries with no offers. I get good feedback on the writing, and the impression I’m left with is the agent is not sure how they would sell it…and since agents simply turn around and query publishers, I understand their reluctance.
My inkling is that the age of the characters doesn’t resonate with much of the agent population. And that’s okay, because that’s the crux of the story – how too many people in our society seem to think nothing interesting can happen to someone over the age of 50 – let alone, my oldsters – people in their 70s and beyond! I would need someone who is willing to see beyond the genre fiction that floods the market and willing to take a chance on something more upmarket or tilted toward book clubs.
Of course I could change each of my characters into a fresh-faced 20-year-old, change the story a bit and pitch it to the CW – NOT!
I’ve often wondered about the great writers from the past and what they would have thought of all the options we now have for independent publishing. I started out so determined to go down only one path, but now I think, so after all that work, you’re just going to let the manuscript sit in some drawer and continue working on your second book? That seems crazy. Maybe if I wasn’t sure of the writing, or the story. Maybe if I didn’t believe in my characters. Maybe then.
But I do believe. It’s a good story, and the characters are genuine and gritty and wonderful. They deserve to see the light of day. And so I think of writer’s from the past who started their own press to get their words out there, and others who probably wished they would have.
The point of this post is changing course. When I started querying agents, I told myself I would give it a year and then think about self-publishing if necessary. I had spent three years researching, writing and editing the book – I should try at least a year to secure an agent.
Now, I think I’ve done due diligence, even thought I’m a few months short of a year. I don’t take any rejections personally – I actually found it a great experience. And now I can change course, take it into my own hands and give it as much or as little attention as I see fit. My files were just accepted today at CreateSpace. I’m lucky to have a background in graphic arts as well as writing, so I created my own cover and will be getting a proof in the mail shortly.
I’m so excited to start 2017 by taking this step. I already have the beginnings of a marketing plan, and just am happy to be closing the chapter on the publishing portion. I’m not trying to get rich here, I simply wanted to write this story and publish the book…The Year of Gwendolyn Presley Flowers sits at the tail end of Act 1, and these two new characters are tugging at my hand to follow them.
Be brave with your writing, and when the course you start out on doesn’t work out as you planned, take a look around for one that will!