An author’s career is never a linear progression. It will often twist and turn and even take detours on occasion. It’s like driving through the American Appalachian mountains from Ohio to New York that way.

Similarly, my own writing career has not been linear in its progression. Back in college, as some of you may remember, I had trouble breaking into the traditional publishing scene. I couldn’t find an agent, and I was getting frustrated. Some friends of mine online had found some success self-publishing, so I went that route. And that’s kind of been my route since 2012 or so.

The problem is, self-publishing hasn’t gone the way I expected. I did it in the first place so that I could reach readers faster. And four books later, while I have reached readers, I haven’t reached as many readers as I would like. And while writers write to get stories out of our heads and onto the pages, and as a labor of love, writers publish because they want to share their stories with as many people as possible.

Now, one could argue that I just have to give it time, and the cosmos will make things work out. But if I’ve learned one thing in this business (and I’ve learned many things over the many years of writing), it’s that you have to try new things. And if one thing doesn’t work out, then to keep going at it just isn’t an option. In fact, that’s one definition of insanity. So, I have to try doing something different.

And I think that now is a really great time for me to try the traditional route again. Over four years, several college courses, reading works by a variety of excellent authors (and a few bad ones), and tons and tons of practice, I’m a much better novelist than I was. I think it could go well for me.

At the moment I’ve sent a few query letters out for Reborn City, which is my strongest work, and which I think, in the wake of the American presidential election, might go over well with agents. It’s a story set in a world very similar to what ours seems to be coming to, but with a bit more hope mixed in. If that doesn’t go well, I’ve got a million ideas, plenty of time to write, and a paying job to tide me over until I hit something that works.

Hey, if I can survive a nearly year-long job search and land a great job with an excellent organization, I can surely do this, maybe even over several years.

And if I’m lucky enough to get a contract with an agent and a publishing company, I might still self-publish from time to time. There are plenty of authors who do that. They’re called hybrid authors, and they usually self-publish when a story they wrote and really liked isn’t really what the publisher tends to go for. Heck, I think His Royal Scariness, Stephen King does this from time to time. Or maybe just the once.

In the meantime, I hope you continue to support me as a person and as a writer. And if you want to read one of my books, I’d be so happy if you did. It would certainly make my day.

Wish me luck, my Followers of Fear, as I set out on this latest fork in the road that is my writing career.

NaNoWriMo update: As of this weekend, I’m over ten-thousand words on Full Circle. And my God, it’s coming along great. True, it’s the usual quality of first drafts,  but I think FC really shows how much I’ve progressed as a writer from Reborn City. I can’t wait to see what people think of it when they read it.

 

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Comments
  1. Good luck with the traditional route. I’ll be apply to agents just as soon as my MS is up to scratch, maybe 2020 at this rate 😉.

  2. Best of luck with the traditional route! I read this when you first posted it but I was at work, so I couldn’t really comment. I would love to hear some updates on how it is going!

  3. In my opinion, the strength in your Reborn City novel is the genetic manipulation aspect. I think that is a popular theme in movies and books, so it could very well capture the attention of an agent or publisher. (Of course, I come at this with a bias since I love those kinds of books and movies. It takes something common, like the gangs, and gives it a special flavor.) I actually finished Video Rage a couple weeks ago and loved the way it ended. I wasn’t expecting to since I had been warned of a bit of a cliffhanger, but in this case, it really worked.

    Are you planning for the series to be three books, or will there be more coming?

    Oh, and to address the post’s topic, I think you should pursue traditional publishing. There is nothing wrong with wanting to make money and reaching a wide audience. Yes, we love to write, but we should be paid for our work. And you can definitely self-publish and traditionally publish. I do that. I like being a hybrid because I feel it helps widen my potential audience. With how many books are out there, it’s necessary to do everything you can to try to be successful. I hope you are able to find a good publisher! Your work is good enough to be with one.

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