Taking the Plunge

When I started writing my novel my dream was to see it in print, a dream that is shared by probably every writer. The idea of e-publishing did not occur to me then, I only saw the traditional route of getting an agent interested in my work and then them getting a publisher interested and, finally, my book going to print.

 It has been a couple of years since then and I have to say that my pursuit of this dream has been fraught with much more frustration than I had expected. I appear to have failed in interesting a literary agent. Forget JK Rowling’s famous ’12 rejections’, I’ve reached 20! And yet I still have faith in my work.

 Of course there have been moments of doubt, times when I have questioned whether or not I have turned out something that is both credible and enjoyable; maybe it really is not that good after all? In answer to this self-doubt I load up a copy of my manuscript on my laptop and sit and read it through, not a proof-reading session, just a sit down and read for enjoyment episode. And I keep finding that I do enjoy reading it!

 If I enjoy reading it why wouldn’t anyone else?

 A story about 1066 might not prove as big a literary hit as one about a boy wizard but that really is not the point; the reason for writing is the hope that someone you do not know might pick up your book and enjoy it! Of course making lots of money would be nice but writing just to make lots of money is not my point of inspiration; I want to tell a story and I want others to enjoy it.

 As following the traditional path to getting a book published has proven so fruitless I have changed tack and looked at e-publishing and I like what I see. I have looked at it closely and I find the level of control that an author can exercise in the e-publishing market is much greater than that enjoyed by all but the most successful of traditionally published writers. There are pitfalls of course, those exist in almost every human undertaking, and there are no guarantees of success, but there is a clearer route to the day when your work enters the literary world.

 It is very inviting but I have not been seduced, that is, I have not rushed head long into e-publishing. I did indeed take a long hard look at e-publishing and then went away and planned my new approach. I reviewed my manuscript to make sure that the format would suit e-publishing for one. Researching the various platforms and what they offer was another area that occupied me. This basically falls into two camps, Kindle and all other e-readers. Which one you choose, if you are interested in e-publishing that is, is of course a very subjective choice, but it is worth reading all the FAQ’s that you can find on the subject; boring sometimes but very necessary.

 So, in September I will cross my literary Rubicon and submit my manuscript for e-publishing. As the date approaches I find myself feeling both excitement and apprehension; that magic buzz! I have put a lot of work into this project, not just the writing and editing and submissions to uninterested literary agents but also the building of a social media network to help spread an awareness of my book. There may be more control in e-publishing but there is also more work required to make a go of it but then if you love what you have created and really believe in it then the long hours should not be a bind, they should be part of the creative process!

 How will I judge if I have been successful? Easy, if one person I do not know buys my book and has the kindness to drop me a line saying that they enjoyed reading it that will be enough, anything else will be a huge bonus!


About petercwhitaker

I am an author and lover of life!
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9 Responses to Taking the Plunge

  1. tmewalsh says:

    A lot of people would say that 20 rejections is nothing, that you’ve not tried enough agents. I was told this once and it hit home in a good way. If traditional publishing is your dream, don’t give up. Keep trying. It’s frustrating, I know, but if you really believe in your work, then what have you got to lose? Good luck with the e-publishing though. Maybe you can self-publish but also keep sending out your MS to agents as well? There have been quite a few authors who have caught an agents eye after a self-pub book has made an impact among readers 🙂


  2. A H Gray says:

    I was just about to say the same thing as tmewalsh. There have been a few authors who have published as ebooks, which have been bought by book hungry readers on kindle, kobo, iBooks etc and that interest often catches the eye of agents if that is the way you want to go. Keep on fighting for your book and like you said yourself, even if only a few people read it, that would be great. After all a few readers online is more than no readers while it is sitting on your hard drive.
    I hope you do publish one way or another, as I’m really looking forward to reading your stories. From your posts and on google+ you definately know how to write, so keep going 🙂


  3. Many thanks to both of you for your comments.

    I agree with what you say. I am not turning my back on the traditional route to publishing altogether, just diverting most of my energies into e-publishing. If a literary agent or a publisher contacted me with a view to a deal I am not going to be small-minded about it; I’ll be excited.
    The thing that has swayed me, however, is the question how long should I wait? I think that I have waited long enough and many of my family and friends are getting fed up of asking when they can read the book!

    I also have plans for several more beyond the 3 in the trilogy but they won’t all be historical fiction; I’m just interested in too many subjects to get tied down to one genre. But that’s talk about the future.

    Again, thanks for the comments, it is great to get a response so two was twice as good!


  4. Kathy says:

    My daughter has an agent from a well-known agency. When the agent couldn’t place my daughter’s memoir after a couple of years, she gave back the rights so the book could be independently published. My daughter chose that route for exactly the same reason you are looking at e-publishing. She wanted this specific book to reach a target audience. It has. No huge sales, but loads of great responses. The agent will continue to shop my daughter’s novel. So, I hope you find the perfect path for your story.


    • That’sa positive story Kathy, thank you for sharing it with me, it is encouraging. I am not having a go at traditional publishing, just bored with waiting! I hope your daughter’s book does get picked up soon too!


  5. Katie Cross says:

    Hey Peter!

    So what’s your book about? Do you need beta readers? If you do, I’d love to hear about the book. We could do some promotions on my website if it works out too. I’m impressed with your moxie. I like a writer that thumbs his nose at convention and believes in himself. Let’s chat more. 🙂



    • My first book is all about 1066, which is both a pretty big thing in English history and often overlooked at the sametime. I have other books planned that are not historical fiction btu all my efforts at the moment are going into this one first.

      Let me know if you are interested in reading a historical fiction novel about the fall of the Saxon culture and I will wing you a beta-copy?!



  6. Good luck in your e-publishing adventures! One thing to remember is that you can write more than one book, and success in your e-publishing venture might well be something you can mention to agents and publishers when you go to pitch your second book.


    • Thanks for the advice Kella, you are quite right of course. Although with this project I have decided to go down the e-publishing path I am not turning my back on the traditional publishing industry, I’m happy now for them to catch up with me!


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