Queries: Why I Only Sent Five

Being a self-published author is not easy and many authors question their sanity after they launch themselves into the crazy world of self-publishing. With there being so much work, time, and money involved in the self-publishing process many authors seek the traditional route, securing a literary agent and selling their work to a major publishing company. However, this may not be the best route for many authors.

When I first got the idea to write a novel, I envisioned myself being a big time author. I was going to be on all of the best seller lists and I was going to have a huge contract with a big time publishing company. After conducting my research, I quickly realized that this was not going to be an option for me. I had no interest in selling over the rights to my creative work, not knowing how it would be represented in the market place. Now, I know that many writers don’t care so much about this. They say “That’s the business; that is how you become successful”, but in the famous words of Erykah Badu, “I’m an artist and I’m sensitive about my sh*t.” Controlling my rights was a big deal. I also had no interest in sending out a mass number of queries. For the authors that have found success with traditional publishing, there are four times as many that haven’t. There have been writers that have spent years querying literary agents, sending hundreds of queries with no success and I find that disheartening. As an impatient individual this reality eliminated traditional publishing for me.

Then there was self-publishing; that model was more up my ally because I would be in control of the whole process and I would retain my rights. However, being independent meant that it would all be on me, specifically the financial responsibility. Sadly, at the time I didn’t know how I was going to do it. While I weighed my options, trying to determine what would be best for me and my book, I came across an article discussing the hybrid publishing model and I was intrigued. (Click here to learn more) Some have even found success with partnership publishing and working with a literary agent to get their work out in a cost effective way. I did some in depth research and determined that this would be the way to go. I spent hours studying successful query letters and researching literary agents to partner with.

To prepare my novel for submission I spent hours editing the first few chapters and making sure everything met the specifications that the agent required. Still, I knew that most writers that queried received rejection letters. It’s just the harsh reality. I decided that I was going to take control of my future, my novel, and my dreams for that novel, and do it on my own if this query thing didn’t work. After finding five agents, I sent the queries and five rejection letters slowly trickled in. That was it. I was done. I wasn’t going to waste time sending queries. I was going to make sure that my story was the best that it could be and I was going to put it out into the world and I was going to do it in a reasonable amount of time.

Although self-publishing worked for me, I will not recommend it for everyone because it may not be in line with your goals or your dreams. However, if you need to maintain control of your work and you don’t want to be waiting years for you work to be available to the masses self-publishing may be the way to go. I sent my queries in September of 2016, got my rejections and moved on. Many say, “You didn’t give your novel a chance. You didn’t query enough”, but I didn’t want to give it a chance, I wanted a sure thing. That sure thing is publication. I made sure that book was the best it could be and it was published on April 11, 2017. My novel may not be an instant success, but I don’t plan on stopping. I will keep marketing; I will keep writing. It’s not going to be easy, but I believe that it will be.

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