Traditional or Self Publishing…What I Chose

Courtesy of Pixabay

Courtesy: Pixabay

After a long time researching and contemplating between traditional publishing (finding an agent to represent me; sending queries, synopses, the first 10 or 20 pages to an agent, etc.) and self-publishing, I’ve decided to self-publish my middle grade fantasy novel, Secret of the Golden Heart, and I’m totally excited! Self-publishing comes with the freedom that you don’t have with traditional publishing. You’re in total control and that’s why I think self-publishing has become more popular and has grown tremendously in the past eight years.

I began this blog several years ago to route my journey of writing and publishing my first book as well as follow my main character on his journey. Going with the traditional route, you’re kind of limited to how much you can talk about your story in the public arena before publication. That’s why I’ve been hesitant to talk about my book or some of my characters because I never knew how much information I could give away.

It’s been a long journey, lots of ups and downs, discouragements and roadblocks that I’ve had to work through. Not to mention the pesky questions that made a nice, cozy bed for themselves in the corners of your mind: What are you doing? Do you really think you can pull this off? You’ll never finish this book so why not just give up, save yourself the grief, and go on with your merry life? And, I admit, I fell for it sometimes.

So, I put *threw* my writing life into a plastic bin–hundreds of notes and information–and sadly said, “I’m done. Writing fiction is too hard.” I shoved the bin beneath a desk and stared at it for about half an hour. I could finally see the top of my computer desk, note-free, clean and sparkly. Wasn’t that better? I sat . . . staring at the bin . . . thinking about the past several years and hours of hard work I’d put into the book.

I began my new-found freedom as a non-writer . . .

At least for a day or two. I inched myself back to my office and “piddled” while at the same time thinking, I’m not getting any younger. Time is a-wasting. *Blah, blah, blah.*

Well, forgive the cliché, but you can’t keep a good horse down. I thought about my future without writing. When you’re more unhappy not writing than you are by the discouragements that comes with writing, then it’s almost impossible to quit.

So . . . I didn’t . . . I couldn’t . . . quit.

Courtesy: Pixabay

Courtesy: Pixabay

I decided to take my journey to the next level and self-publish. There’s a lot to learn, I had to hire a professional editor, but I’m half way there, and I hope to pass along what I’ve learned so I can help make the process smoother for others who are thinking about self-publishing. Unfortunately, self-publishing means there is some cost, whereas, when you sign with an agent they take care of that. But being accepted by an agent means being a good fit on their list and whether they want to take a chance on a newbie author. This is time-consuming when searching for an agent. It can take up to two years to get your book published and this is after an agency has accepted you as their client. It’s hard for first-time authors, but surely not impossible. But agents aren’t so quick to take a chance on a new author. With this being said, it is a personal choice, and I know there are a lot of good agents out there waiting for a good story.

I’m relieved that I decided to self-publish. I’m looking forward to it. I’m meeting a lot of awesome people who’ve been there and done that and are willing to help. Now I can spend time doing what I really like to do: WRITE! I am hoping to have the book out soon and planning on it being a series of three.

What is the Secret of the Golden Heart?

What is the Secret of the Golden Heart?

 

Stay tuned to journey out of this world when twelve-year-old Kristian McNeal’s life turns upside down, and he’s swept from danger and taken to a place he never knew existed . . . until now. After arriving at his destination, he discovers that he has been chosen; now he’s bound to fulfill his mother’s destiny after stealing her golden heart heirloom for selfish motives. Now, it’s a race against time to find the key that unlocks the secret of the golden heart and save the dying planet of his heritage. Will he choose to follow that still, small voice, or go down an unknown path?

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What’s More Important . . . Plot or Character Development?

I’ve read many books on fiction writing while trying to develop my writing skills, and I’ve visited and subscribed to some great websites of author’s who have posted great advice. I’ve learned a lot. Each author has his/her own way of developing their stories, but I’ve learned that developing your characters first is easier than jumping right in to your story like I did. But, hey, I didn’t know.

However, character development was my weakest link. I had to take the time to know my character’s personalities. Once I learned who they were, how they’d act and react, my story became a little easier to write.

Characters are the story because they’re human. They have a past, they eat, they breathe, they evolve. They must go through physical and emotional setbacks and changes, ups and downs. But these things give them, and your story, life. Characters grow through trials and hardships just as we do, and they must also learn from their mistakes, and from the mistakes of the other characters. Good or bad, we root for characters, not plot.

It seemed I was spinning my wheels until I took the time to get to know my characters. I was so caught up in the plot and the setting that my characters suffered. They were one-dimensional stick figures, but when I turned them into three-dimensional characters, they and the story began to come to life.

If you’re a beginning writer of fiction, get to know your characters. If you don’t, your story will suffer. Picture your characters in your mind’s eye. How do they act and react?  Do they stomp their feet when they’re  angry? Do they sulk? Pout? How do they act when they’re happy? Angry? Worried? Betrayed?

Character development is harder for some than others. I believe that it is one of the biggest reasons stories get rejected. A great website on character development is Angela Ackerman’s and Becca Puglisi’s,  Writers Helping Writers, formerly The Bookshelf Muse. They’ve done an awesome job on their site, and they’ve written three books on the subject of character development, which are great reference and brainstorming  tools. Angela and Becca also have various sections on their site on descriptions  like settings, weather, colors, textures, shapes, symbolism, and much more. Check them out.

If there is anyone who would like to comment on this topic and help other writers, it would be appreciated.

Thank you and have a wonderful day!

“. . . for with God all things are possible.” ~ Mark 10:27