Monday, May 9, 2011

Rejection Letters, Self-Publishing, Amanda Hocking, and Me

Rejection is the name of the game if you’re a writer. As a writer, I’ve geared myself up for that inevitable rejection letter or, for modern times, email. There’s the usual “We really enjoyed reading your work, but doesn’t fit our needs at this time.” Or, as one rejection letter noted: “It didn’t hit the mark.” Ouch!

But any writer who's passionate about her work will keep chugging along, sending out submissions in hopes that one day some editor will take a chance on her. It’s heartening to know that some of the more famous writers also went through that painful process before finally getting published.

I found this site which has a list of famous authors and the number of times they’ve been rejected before their first story or novel was published. It’s an interesting site and I encourage you to check it out. Writer's Who've Been Rejected.

It’s also eye-opening to see the number of well-known writers who’ve self-published. This includes everyone from Marcel Proust's Remembrance of Things Past and James Joyce's Ulysses to James Redfield's Celestine Prophecy. Ulysses I can understand since it was banned at one point. Most major publishing houses probably had cold feet publishing it. It just goes to show that some of the most important work in literature were self-published.

I’ve been reading a lot about indie publishing or self-publishing and with good reason. You see, I’ve recently launched a project with to fund a writing project I’m working on (yes, I know this is a bit of shameless self-promotion, but you do what you can). Kickstarter, which was itself launched two years ago to help artists find funding opportunities, has opened up a way for writers like myself who’d like to take their careers into their own hands.

I’ve no illusions about self-publishing. I’m aware of the reputation, how it opens the floodgates mostly for unskilled writers to get published, how self-published writers end up spending more time on marketing and publicity than on writing. That was the story of Amanda Hocking, a self-published writer who recently made a six-figure deal with St. Martin’s Press. Unlike Hocking, though, there is also the possibility that you’ll end up lost in the shuffle. Yes, I am very much aware of all that. But I figure, the same thing happens to writers in the major publishing business, so in the end what difference would it make?

I’ve chosen to take this route mostly as a way to prove to myself that I can do it, that I can finally get published. If nothing else comes out of this, then I’ll have the pride of knowing I accomplished this major undertaking. Nonetheless I'll still keep chugging along.

At any rate, check out the site at Kickstarter, watch the very primitive video I posted explaining the project, and if you’re so kind do make a pledge. There’s some pretty cool incentives too!

If you’re interested in reading some of my work, here’s an excerpt from a short story that will be part of the collection. 

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