I’ve walked a long journey with my novel Shackles. This journey includes being accepted for publication in South Africa by one of the three major Christian publishing houses – only to be told a year later that the market had changed and fiction publishing in SA was no longer viable. At the beginning of this year, one of the other SA Christian publishers said they will publish it if it is still available – when the market changes… The third doesn’t do fiction. So my options in SA are all out.
Enter… a friend of a friend in America. Let’s call him Mike. Mike loved my work and offered to publish it via Booksurge on my behalf. He had dreams of establishing his own publishing house and was just busy putting his own book (non-fiction) through the process. At first I justified it to myself as not being self-publishing – after all, Mike was publishing my book, not me. He even had a name for his publishing house. But the more I looked at it, the more I just knew that it still boiled down to self-publishing.
Being on Twitter has opened up a world of agents, published writers, yet-to-be-published writers, publishing houses… I’ve had such a new perspective on the whole industry. I’ve come away with two certainties:
- Self-publishing is good for those who have a platform. (I don’t.)
- Self-publishing your own book paints it black in the eyes of agents and traditional publishers and will adversely affect future publication prospects.
So… this week I made the decision and told Mike no thanks. I’m so grateful for his interest in my book, his high opinion of Shackles has boosted my confidence in my work. But with the long term goal of being published traditionally firmly in my sights, I’m simply not prepared to go that route. Even if I have to wait. And wait some more. And some more.
Question: Have I made the biggest mistake of my life? Or not?