I’ve been thinking about the pros and cons of self-publishing for a long time. When it comes to traditional publishers, I’ve worked with some of the best. They’ve done more for my books than I could ever do on my own. They’ve edited, they’ve promoted, they’ve distributed. Sure, there’ve been glitches (and times when I wondered what kind of rabbit hole I’d fallen into) but show me an endeavor without glitches and I’ll show you a fairy tale.
So the idea of publishing a book on my own didn’t hold much appeal. I love the writing and the editorial process, but the business and promotional side of things? Not so much. And I knew if I ventured down the self-publishing highway, I’d have to wear those hats occasionally. Since I’m already wearing a few too many hats, it was an easy choice to say no.
But I had this book. Note the word ‘but.’ That but is a big but. It’s the equivalent of a teenager saying ‘but it was just that one time’ or a confirmed bachelorette saying ‘but I met this guy.’ It’s a but that leads to change.
I first wrote WHAT LAINEY SEES years ago. It received very positive attention from a number of editors. One wanted to buy it and held onto the manuscript for a year only to be overruled by her publisher. In the end, there were two main reasons he said no.
First, WHAT LAINEY SEES is a hybrid. It’s the kind of novel marketing departments don’t know what to do with. It’s a romance with suspense and paranormal elements. It’s both contemporary and historical. It’s not time travel, which is an established category, it’s more of a time slip novel, where two distinctly different story lines play out at the same time. Time slip is a quirky, barely-there genre. Publishers prefer a sure thing over quirky, particularly from a mid-list author.
An even bigger hurdle had to do with Native Americans. As the story unfolds, Lainey Hughes starts remembering life as a Native American woman living in the Pacific Northwest. She believes the memories from that life could stop a terrible tragedy from occurring today. But the one man who can help her is a man who doesn’t believe in her visions – the Native American lover who died in her arms centuries earlier. Native Americans, I was told repeatedly, don’t sell. One editor even went so far as to suggest I lose the Natives and use another culture, another time period (I think she suggested Scotland; Diana Gabaldon was big at the time).
I couldn’t – and didn’t – do that. The Native American element was intrinsic to the novel. So I put the novel aside for a number of years. But like a sliver that won’t go away, WHAT LAINEY SEES remained with me. I wanted it published. I wanted people to read it. So I took the manuscript back out, rewrote and updated where I needed to, and weighed my options. Since I didn’t have the patience to listen to more editorial feedback about how I needed to replace the Native Americans with Vikings . . . or make the time slip less time slip and more time travel, I decided to publish it myself.
From the cover design process, to working with an editor followed by a formatter, it’s been quite a process. It’s given me even greater respect for traditional publishers. It’s opened my eyes to a world that’s not going away – direct, author-controlled publishing. And it’s made me grateful for the many friends and colleagues who traveled the road before me and were so willing to share their stories and expertise as I bumbled along.
Is self-publishing the future for me? It’s one probable future, but traditional publishing remains my future too. I’m a hybrid . . . like WHAT LAINEY SEES. It’s up on Amazon. If you have a minute, check it out: http://www.amazon.com/What-Lainey-Sees-Laura-Tobias-ebook/dp/B00UZK92M2/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1427395698&sr=1-1&keywords=what+lainey+sees