Saturday, November 2, 2013

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Getting Published – Moira Katson @moirakatson

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Getting Published

I didn’t set out to be an indie author. Or, scratch that, a self-published author; let’s call a spade a spade.  I read numerous articles about how to get published (manuscript > editing > synopsis > querying agents > agent does something magical > profit?), and so I dutifully wrote and edited and got beta readers and edited some more, and then I queried agents. I queried a lot of agents. I queried so many agents that I no longer had time to write.
I did not get very many rejections, just one or two. Mostly, I got silence. My friends and family, including my beta readers, were eager to know about my search for an agent. As I explained the process and my frustrations, every single one of them asked the same follow-up question: Why don’t you self-publish?
I tried to explain How It Worked. I talked about the industry attitude towards self-publishing: that those authors were hacks who wouldn’t follow the rules, and self-published work was crap. In response, they sent me articled about Hugh Howey, Darcie Chan, and Amanda Hocking. I talked about editing, markets, and quality, but I was beginning to doubt. I had started to find articles from newer authors who were having nightmares with cover art, being left adrift to market themself, making ridiculously low royalties on their work. I read about publishers passing on their own bestsellers. And no matter how much I explained, my friends continued to see nothing wrong with self-publishing.
So I decided to see if my friends and parents were right. After all, they were my loved ones—would they tell me if my books, my actual stories, were really awful? There was a way to find out: release my books, and see if readers enjoyed them. At the time, I hoped (of course) that readers would love the books, and that I would be able to go back to publishers with a proven track record.
I simply did not have any idea how much joy would come from self-publishing. I found my own cover artist, and I struggled through the process of formatting the books for uploading. I learned about linked TOCs and how to file copyrights, and I poured my energy into creating a website. I felt proud of myself every day for being able to create something, build something. The best thing of all, however, came after the books were published: I was able to connect with readers entirely on my own terms, and I found, quite by accident, the best group of fans I can imagine.
And now? I’ve learned some things. I know that I wish my books were in hardcover as well as paperback. I’ve learned that nothing replaces an editor. I have found that every single moment of frustration and despair is worth it when someone says the magical words: “I loved this book.” I have no idea if I will ever end up traditionally published, fulfilling the dream I had at the start of this—but whether I do or not, it will be worth it. To quote Anne Lamott, “Publishing isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. But writing is.”

“You, Catwin, no longer exist. You no longer have a fate of your own, a will of your own, or indeed a soul of your own. You will go where Miriel goes, you will watch instead of being watched, you will hear instead of being heard.”
Catwin has always been good at being unseen…that is, until one fateful mistake brings her to the attention of the Duke of Voltur: the commander of the bloodiest battle in living memory, a man of legendary ruthlessness who is determined to be the power behind the throne. To this end, he has chosen Catwin to be a Shadow—spy, shield, and blade—to his niece Miriel as she works to catch the eye of the King.
But the Duke’s carefully laid plans are only a piece of the intrigue swirling within the royal court. Shadows gather: legacies of the centuries-long rivalries for power, old betrayals, the endless plots of the courtiers, and the murmur of rebellion in the southern provinces.
Greater forces than Catwin can imagine are massed against her, determined to eliminate Miriel and impose a new order of their own. If Catwin and Miriel are to survive, they must learn quickly who to trust, and when to turn their skills against the very people who have trained them…
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Genre - Fantasy
Rating – PG-13
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