Yesterday I spoke to one of my readers Natalie on the phone. I first met her online when she emailed me about The Howling Heart. She read the story when it was on FictionPress and enjoyed it so much that she told a literary agent about it. The agent just happened to be her older sister Linda. To make a long story short, Linda was my agent for a short while before she became very ill. Natalie told me she’s doing a little better now. I first spoke to Natalie on the phone after I ended my contract with Linda because I wanted her to know personally how grateful I was to her. I never thought someone would believe in my story so much that they wanted to help me get it published. To keep her efforts going, I decided to query some agencies and publishers to see if I could get it published myself.
When I spoke to Natalie yesterday, she was upset that I’m being so pessimistic about getting The Howling Heart published and that I said if I didn’t sell the manuscript, then it would stay on my hard drive. She asked why I wouldn’t consider self-publishing if it doesn’t get sold. Her argument was that if I self-published The Howling Heart, people would get to read it and I’d make some money from it. She said keeping it on my hard drive would not benefit me and I’d be hurting the story’s potential. She also said if people enjoy The Howling Heart, they may be inclined to read my first book. She didn’t understand if I self-published A Rose to the Fallen, why not do it for my second novel? I explained to her the valuable lessons I’ve learned from self-publishing. Between the public stigma surrounding it and the doors of opportunities that get shut in my face that aren’t shut for authors who publish through traditional publishers… to me, it’s not worth the money. I’m so against it now that I wouldn’t recommend self-publishing to anyone.
I do want people to read The Howling Heart. That’s why I’m trying to get it published. But I’m not repeating the same mistakes I’ve made in the past. I prefer to learn from mistakes, not repeat them. I know that you don’t always get what you want. If my second novel doesn’t get sold to a publisher, then maybe it’s not meant to be a book. I shared it for free for 17 months and I’m glad some people got to read it. It’s better than having no one read it. It’s a great feeling to know people enjoyed the story. I know some of those readers bought my first novel because they liked my second one. If this doesn’t work out, I’ll be fine with that because I’m thankful for the readers I already have.