As someone who was fairly vocal in 2010 about never, ever self-publishing, I can appreciate the irony of going Indie. The publisher that acquired my debut novel last July chose to withdraw their offer in November. Yes, this happens. For the first time, I began to seriously consider self-publishing for the following reasons.
I thank God I couldn’t afford to self-publish back when I first thought my manuscript was ready. Since that time, I’ve continued to read, learn, write and revise. The hard work yielded enough contest finals, full manuscript requests, and valuable agent and editor feedback that I’m confident this novel is ready for the market. The barrier to traditional publication then became my chosen time period rather than the quality of my writing.
2. I am unwilling to wait any longer for readers.
I understand traditional houses are doing everything they can to survive. I liken them to the top floor of a high-rise building where the biggest pool of readers awaits. For the past two years, surrounded by pre-published and between-contracts friends, we’ve done the work and waited for our turn on the elevator up. Agents and editors loved my voice and platform. They just didn’t like this time period so much. I waited, hoping that might change. I took my place in line for the elevator and waited. I cheered on friends and critique partners who write the more popular genres and settings as they earned their elevator ride. Every so often, some of us waiting would slip off into the stairwell that is self-publishing. I’ve decided to go with them.
Self-publishing is a lot of work, which is why the stairs analogy is accurate. But I’m not going to spend any more time waiting for an elevator for my brand of stories that may never come.
3. I can afford to do it right.
Author Donn Taylor, who has published all three ways—large traditional houses, small press, and self-published—said at my local writers group that self-publishing is right for you if you have something you want to say and can afford to say it. That stuck with me. When I considered the costs of another year of conferences and contests, I realized I would spend that money anyway. So I chose instead to reallocate my author budget to professional book cover design, a freelance editor who has worked for the traditional publishers, a professional formatter to prepare the manuscript for paperback and e-book distribution, and a strong marketing plan.
4. I remembered my dream.
“Marcus Aurelius had a dream that was Rome, Proximo, and this is not it. This is NOT IT!”
If you recognized that line from the movie Gladiator and hear Russell Crowe shouting it, I’m smiling with you. When I first began writing Chasing the Lion, I had a dream of being a published author. Royalties from sales would send me to Rome where I would be photographed in the Colosseum holding my debut novel along with letters from readers sharing how Jonathan’s story touched them. When my contract fell through, I took a hard look at my writer life. Weary of influencing, blogging, mentoring, and feeling like a sellout hammering away on a contemporary romance to just “get published”, I had my Maximus moment. The prestige and guidance of an agent, having a well-known publisher’s name on the spine of my books, are both things I’d like to achieve one day. But those goals sneaked in along the way. They were never part of my dream.
So I’m taking to the stairs, taking back the dream, and finally, finally getting to share Jonathan and his story with readers. I continue to be grateful to share this author journey with each of you. It’s been a long road, but one without regrets.
Author, avid reader, and shameless hero addict, Nancy Kimball loves books, history, Ancient Rome and all things gladiator. She is the former president of her local ACFW chapter, Writers On the Storm, and her industry accolades include a two-time American Christian Fiction Writers Genesis finalist (Chasing the Lion – 2012 / Unseen Love – 2013), and a Romance Writers of America Lonestar finalist in the Inspirational Category (Adrift No More – 2013). In 2012, her best friend and critique partner bestowed Nancy with the nickname "Phoenix" after hearing her personal testimony. Nancy loved the name and adopted the Phoenix symbol to embody her life verse, Ezekiel 36:33-36. Her story, more info about her author journey and novels are available at her official website. She enjoys connecting with readers on her Facebook Page or the Fiction Hero Features blog.