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Getting traditionally published has been a lifelong dream, and because of my age, my particular writer's training, and my reading/writing preferences, I was still entrenched in the old-school mindset about self-publishing being the last resort of writers who weren't skilled enough to make it through the gatekeepers.

**waiting for the laughter to die down**

In early 2010, knowing that Amazon had opened up KDP but still blissfully unaware that a revolution was taking place around me, I completed my first novel and began querying agents. A few months later, I had representation by a reputable agent. She loved my book! She took me to lunch in her Jaguar! She told me she was looking for a breakout author! She had a great contact in LA for film rights, where her husband was an entertainment attorney! Wow, I thought my fame and fortune were just a formality at that point. ;D

She shopped the hell out of it. I got some editorial feedback from The Bigs that made my heart go pitter-pat. We went into acquisitions meetings. Twice. No one bought the book.

Meanwhile I'm busy, busy, busy, getting an MFA, working, writing a second novel. I'm having all my preconceived ideas about legacy publishing massively set in stone by talented writing faculty who are considered the creme-de-la-creme in those circles (but who only publish their own novels every 3-5+ years, get a tiny handful of reader reviews, and absolutely MUST teach in order to pay the bills).

The world continues to move on, and a year ago, my agent includes me in the news that she's launched a small e-publishing venture intended to keep her clients' backlist in print, and perhaps publish new books they believe in. Long story kinda shorter: Last week she sent me a contract.

Wow again.

It says, in essence: "We will put your work for sale in the same place where you could put it yourself, we'll deduct $200 from your first sales to cover admin costs, then pay you a whopping 55%. Twice a year. Oh, and you'll have to do all marketing and promotion yourself. Oh, and even though we haven't read your re-written ms., please carve almost 20% off so that your square peg fits into our round hole. "

**waiting for my OWN laughter to die down**

I immediately threw everything into preparing to self publish my novel. I now have a GORGEOUS professional cover design, am thoroughly edited, and will be launching on March 15. And, just now, I sent an email telling my agent that I will be publishing Chasing Down the Moon myself. THAT is a slightly scary and absolutely thrilling turn of events.

Thanks for listening!
 

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Your journey echoes one a very good friend of mine is taking. Serenaded by top agent, but passed on by publishers.

Everything you need is here, just ask away.

Congratulations, and welcome to the tribe :)

 

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cbaku said:
I immediately threw everything into preparing to self publish my novel. I now have a GORGEOUS profession cover design, am thoroughly edited, and will be launching on March 15. And, just now, I sent an email telling my agent that I will be publishing Chasing Down the Moon myself. THAT is a slightly scary and absolutely thrilling turn of events.
Congrats! I don't think you'll regret it.

(I'd heard about the agent who was doing that, and I'd wondered what her clients thought of it.)
 

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Welcome to the tribe! Congratulations on your decision. I know it must have been hard and scary to take a different turn from a lifelong dream and everything you've been taught. But doesn't it feel great to be taking matters into your own hands!

(I queried an agent once, when I finished my first novel about 25 years ago, and immediately realized that writing for gatekeepers' approval and letting other people have control of my career was not for me. Thank goodness that KDP/self-publishing as it now exists finally came along!)
 

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Oh Carla! I'm running over to Humboldt County wherever that is right now in my head to give you a hug~ a giant one!

We started in a similar time, I was figuring out this whole publishing racket in 2009-2010. I followed major agents online, read how to submit, studied the query shark blog for pitfalls, then I FINALLY found out how much authors make with a trad pubbed contract and you know that scratchy record sound that stops the party? That was my reality. Being a touch younger than most of the authors around me at that time, who were all starting to self-publish after Hocking and Locke made national news, my inner kid of the 80s "I can do ANYTHING if I set my mind to it" carried me through many things other authors were stopped by.

Things like, I couldn't for the life of me back then format an ebook. So I learned how. And I found Jutoh and didn't stop until I could do it myself. Etc. etc.

If you need ANY help, let me know. I am 100% DIY on just about everything, from my website, to covers, to publishing etc. And congratulations on your release!!! :) And remember Rome was never built in a day, so just as you find things you need to do/get done put them on lists and prioritize. I didn't get my author website for my career reboot where I wanted it until January. Before that, I just had a "good enough" wordpress blog that was functional and simple, but nothing exciting.
 

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Hugsss and jelly beans.
 

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What a great story! I know there are authors who have great success with traditional publishing, and that's great for them. But I'm so glad there are options out there, and very glad you were able to wade through the possibilities and do what is best for you. Wishing you tons of success! And yes, you've 100% come to the right place.
 

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Claire Frank said:
What a great story! I know there are authors who have great success with traditional publishing, and that's great for them. But I'm so glad there are options out there, and very glad you were able to wade through the possibilities and do what is best for you. Wishing you tons of success! And yes, you've 100% come to the right place.
Exactly this. There isn't just one right way, but it's nice to see someone find the way that is right for them. So, to the OP, congrats!
 

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Elizabeth Ann West said:
I followed major agents online, read how to submit, studied the query shark blog for pitfalls, then I FINALLY found out how much authors make with a trad pubbed contract and you know that scratchy record sound that stops the party? That was my reality.
THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT HAPPENED TO ME LOL.
 
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BIG congratulations for your grit.

By the way, I've never heard of an agent deducting expenses from first royalties.
Only heard of agents paying their own expenses from their 15 to 20%
 

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Wishing you tons of good luck and book sales going forward. I think you are smart, brave, and talented. I'll probably buy your book--if it's not filled with weapons and dead bodies.  :)

You go, writer warrior.
 

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Congrats! Welcome to the new world where writers can actually make good money. :)  Sadly, I can't include myself in that statement. LOL

I have heard of agents who try to take a portion (if you have a signed agency contract with them) on the book they originally shopped around though, so be aware of these pitfalls. A couple of blogs that are helpful to read are The Passive Voice and Kathryn Rusch. They both are great resources to learn about the self-pubbing world. Best to you!
 
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