Selfie Publish

As I take a break from anally editing my novel, I think back to how a year ago I thought I was about done working on it. And I foolishly thought it would take me another two months to edit it. Ha! Little did I know I was abo to do two revisions over the next nine months.

I can see why editors charge a lot for their work—and that is the very reason why I did my own editing. I’d have to sell a lot of books to make back the money I would have spent on an editor. And truthfully, I still have my doubts that a decent freelance editor could care about my work as much as I do. I’m not saying they don’t care, but I doubt that even the most meticulous would obsess over each sentence and paragraph the way I have.

Still, I would definitely love to sign with an agent who could sell my book to a publisher. Then I’d get to work with their editors. It’s an ideal situation, where everyone has some skin in the game, and expectations for a sellable book are set very high. How nice it would be to work with a vetted editor and proofreader? It’ll happen one day, for my future books. But I know that doing all of this now—the writing, critiquing, editing, and proofreading—is super important if you want to be a strong writer. You have to care that much about the whole process. And even though writing is challenging, trying to get an agent or a publisher has turned out to be a lot harder.

It was when I first started to query agents that I realized my book was going to be a hard sell. A fiction about finance? Pass. Heck, I’d pass on it if I were an agent. I didn’t pitch it as “finance fiction,” but I’m sure no matter how well I worded my queries, it seemed to promise gimmicky, preachy anecdotes strung together in a cheesy story. My story, I promise, is nothing like that. I figured out how to work in the money theme without it feeling contrived, and, really, that wasn’t hard. People talk, think, and obsess about money all the time. I often find it incredible that money doesn’t get mentioned at all in so many stories, as if the characters just already have enough of it that it doesn’t affect their motivations or the plot in any way. Money—whether we have lots or little—affects practically every decision we make, even on a subliminal level—all the way down to how great or shitty we sleep, so come on. Okay, back to agents. I queried a total of ten; there are more agents than that in Canada, but these were the most suitable ones currently accepting queries. I realized that when I didn’t hear back from any (outside of three rejections for one partial submission, two fulls), I’d have to do this by myself.

I’m now in the final stages of editing, and I’m starting to think beyond the book itself. It’s been a lot of work doing things like getting this website started, designing and formatting the paperback, revamping my social media platforms, and looking at self-publishing options. At times it feels exhausting and insurmountable, and all I want to do is withdraw and focus on my stocks and my cats and nothing else. Self-publishing and marketing your own book can seem like a gig not worth all the trouble, but the truth is, it is. I know my first book has helped a lot of people. That gives me faith that this novel, a more popular form of writing, will help a lot more.

Author: Donna Fernandez

Author of contemporary fiction.