Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Writing in the Time of Covid

Forgive me for word-playing on the title of one of my favorite books, Love in the Time of Cholera, but Gabriel García Márquez won’t mind.

I’ve finished my book titled we are but WARRIORS (No initial caps), even created the cover (posted) and formatted the paperback. Clap, clap. My problem is I’m not sure what I want to do with it. I’ve self-published nine mystery/thriller/suspense novels. All at one time or another have been an Amazon bestseller, one was a Kindle Scout winner. I haven’t published a new book in almost two years. I’ve worked on my current novel off and on for a few years, mainly because there are political aspects that I felt might change, so I picked it up and put it down, over and over again. Now it’s finished.
Do I want to go my usual route, try for an agent, or send it to a publisher that doesn’t require an agent? Would I be wasting my time with the two latter possibilities? If I choose one of the latter two, why? Is it for the validation a self-published book doesn’t get and a traditionally published book does? Is that even true anymore? If accepted, do I want to wait for the time it would take to see it traditionally published―maybe a year or more―when I could publish it myself? Would the fact that I’m solely self-published work against me in the eyes of a publisher or an agent? Is the book good enough? I’m really at a crossroad.

This is a stressful time. We are in the midst of a pandemic with no end in sight, hundreds of thousands have died, and then there’s what's sure to be a contentious election on November 3rd. A definitive result could take days if not weeks before the winner is declared, then we expect discord because of the unprecedented political dynamic. I know I'm not alone. These things have weighed on people across the nation, world, and political spectrum as we curb our anger, fears, and plans for the future. I'm not usually wishy-washy, not prone to depression, so I'm experiencing emotions I'm not accustomed to. My answer has been to stop watching the news and reading more. Those things don't solve the problem but they sure help.

Now, back to the book. Decisions, decisions.


Polly Iyer is the author of nine novels: standalones Hooked, InSight, Murder Déjà Vu, Threads, and Indiscretion, and four books in the Diana Racine Psychic Suspense series, Mind Games, Goddess of the Moon, Backlash and The Scent of Murder. A Massachusetts native, she makes her home in the beautiful Piedmont region of South Carolina. You can visit her website for more on Polly and connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.

24 comments :

  1. It's funny you should be pondering this question right now, Polly, at the very moment I am working my way through an old but epic series of blog posts by Kristine Kathryn Rusch, which you might also find useful in making your decision.
    Start here --> Contract dealbreakers
    and then, if you want to, you can follow the trail here to work your way through the series, though some other posts of note are:

    My agent will negotiate

    Agent agreements

    What it feels like to have an agent

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Elle. I will definitely read through these blogs. I've had an agent way back when, but she couldn't sell any of my books. What to do, what to do.

      Delete
  2. I'm in the same place with my new novel, Polly, except I've only been traditionally published in the past. This year I've focused on getting out of print books available again with the original covers, but now I know more about the self-pubbing process and am not as intimidated as I was before. Decisions, decisions!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I assume you have your rights back from the original publisher? Or is it just the ebooks you have control of? Curious.

      Delete
  3. Such a dilemma and I wish you luck in deciding.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Personally, I would always prefer an agent. There are a lot of aspects of publishing that I like to leave to someone else. I have self-published one series, after I took it back from a small press, but I'd rather not do that again. Since you HAVE done it successfully, though, there's no reason you shouldn't do it again.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kaye, this is the perfect response. Part of my dilemma is to go in any other direction would take so much time, and I'm not sure I want to do that.

      Delete
    2. The perfect response! I did something good today. I can sit back now and...oh, yeah, I'm writing that novel. Thanks!!

      Delete
  5. I have a book I love that has its roots in 1997. My mystery publisher would not be interested. I am thinking I will publish it myself because I don’t want to wait any longer. I was influenced by the Marie Force Facebook group. Sorry I do not recall name right now. On the other hand,I have a historical YA and would have no idea how to self-publish that. I think I just rambled to no point.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Self-publishing is the same for all genres, whether mystery or YA. The designations are clear during the publishing process, at least with Amazon. Good luck to both of us.

      Delete
  6. Polly,
    Congratulations on finishing this book. I think you need to decide in what genre or subgenre it belongs if you decide to go with an agent. I think a traditional publisher would be best re promotion..

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Marilyn. It is definitely a political thriller. There are romantic elements, but as usual, I write in cross-genre, but thriller definitely.

      Delete
  7. Congratulations on finishing the book, Polly! Keep us posted as you go through the decision-making process. I with you all the best with this book.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Pat. I'm pretty sure I've made up my mind, but I'll give it another week or so. I appreciate your support.

      Delete
  8. Good work in completing the ms, Polly. Such a decision to now make. I've been following the ups and downs of the publishing industry and at the recent Digital Book World conference learned that there's such a backlog at trad publishers right now because so many print runs were delayed since last spring. Somewhere else, I read that one reason for the print delays is that much of our paper comes from China. Will that lead to many books never getting published? What about books that were printed and are languishing in brick-and-mortar stores? I read that they're getting trashed to make room for newer books, as the shelf life of most books is incredibly narrow. It seems that your decision might rest on those many variables and some more research is on your horizon. I won't say what you should do, but if I had a ms ready, I'd self-publish and try to get it in an audio format as well. That market is increasing. Good luck with your decision.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You make some very important points, Claire. I'm pretty sure that's the route I'll take. My Audios have done very well lately, so you've given me what I need to make my decision. Thank you.

      Delete
    2. You're welcome. By the way, another respondent noted the Business Musing blog and I found that site fascinating. It's just the information I need to make informed decisions.

      Delete
  9. My take is that traditional publishing has never been harder. But lots of readers are devouring books. So self-publishing should guarantee that your book gets out to your fans while so many are still surviving this quarantine. I have a friend that waited ten years before her book was placed. She is doing all the talks and appearances and panels (remotely of course) and really enjoying it. It has led to a three book deal with the next one due in 2021. So it depends on whether you want to wait for chance or take charge. You already know how to self-publish.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for your input, Diana. You make good points. I've pretty much made up my mind what I plan to do. Stay tune.

      Delete
  10. Self-publishing often makes sense when times are changing as much and as fast as they are now. What is current today might not be relevant when a traditional publisher releases your book. These are indeed trying times, so kudos to you for finishing your project. Whatever you decide, please keep us in the loop.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Linda. Yes, the situations in my book change daily, which is what kept me from finishing it earlier. I feel confident I figured out how to keep it current.

      Delete
  11. I had the same dilemma with the last book I released, Desperate Season. I spent an entire year trying to get an agent, although I didn't work every day at that. It's been a long time since I've been able to work every day of the week, but I did make numerous attempts. Finally gave up when one agent told me it's almost impossible to sell a book in the middle of a series. Sigh... So I self published it, and will probably do the same with the next book in the series when I get it finished.

    Congrats on getting your book finished and I wish you well on making the tough decision.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Maryann. I will probably go your route. Life is too short.

      Delete

The Blood-Red Pencil is a blog focusing on editing and writing advice. If a glitch is preventing you from commenting, visit our Facebook page and drop your wise words there: Blood-Red Pencil on Facebook