I Wrote a Novel (or Two), Now What?

I’ve read that only about 3% of novels are ever finished. (Keep in mind, 99% of statistics are false. 🙂)

So here I sit with two manuscripts, asking myself… “There. I’m done. I said I’d finish… But now what? It’s a shame to just let it sit in a pile or on a file on my hard drive.”

I began doing my research and holy crap is the publishing industry confusing. Where does one even start? Ten years ago, I would have had a quick and easy answer to that. Find an agent and get a publisher, of course. Now, that whole philosophy is changing.

The first decision I need to make is between the two main types of publishing, traditional publishing versus self-publishing. After this decision, there are many choices within each publishing umbrella. Agent vs. direct to the publisher, large press vs. small press, Amazon vs. Smashwords, $3.99 vs. FREE.

Urgh! I’ve never been good with choices!

I could write a blog laying out these choices, but I thought it would be better to just link some of the good ones here:

Pros and Cons of Traditional vs Indie Publishing: http://www.thecreativepenn.com/self-publishing-vs-traditional/ (There’s a little propaganda here, but it lays it out nicely.)

And for lighter reading: http://annerallen.com/ive-written-book-now-what-22-steps-to/

So where does that leave me? I had to get down to my PURPOSE for writing. Besides enjoying it, I want to write stories that will bring many people entertainment… So, how do I get my writing into as many hands as possible?

At first, I figured I’d self-publish and GIVE my novels away for FREE. The more and more I researched that, the more it concerned me. First, I still am not certain that people would find and take the stories seriously, even if they were FREE. Secondly, would I be insulting the whole writing community by doing this? (And thirdly, how would I justify spending $1000-$2000 dollars on a novel cover, book editor, formatting, etc. of self-publishing with no return?)

So, I moved off that thought… (Though, if anyone asked me for my story, I’d be happy to send them a free copy.😊 I can’t say no.)

Next, I moved on to self-publishing, but struggle how to get readers. That’s my goal, right? To have people actually find my story and read it? I love the control one has in the publishing process, but if I wrote a story to have nobody find it? That would be heart wrenching.

I feel that breaking into the traditional publishing market is like finding a needle in a haystack… Or maybe a field of haystacks, but I read that the experience of trying, is probably a learning experience every author should have… Small press publishing may be easier, but I feel readership is probably similar to self-publishing.

So… I have two books and know I’ll have more in the future. Since I can’t make up my mind, I’m going to query agents for LOVE, LIES, & CLONES and self-publish BLOOD & HOLY WATER. The best of both worlds, right? I’m excited for the experience of trying both methods and comparing the two.(Both of which, I’ll update in this blog.) I’m shooting for only 10 rejections before I turn to self-publishing.  I know that’s not enough, but I’m not sold on traditional publishing anyway. When all is said and done, I’ll probably end up self-publishing both books.

What are your thoughts on the publishing industry?



  1. I’ve been asking myself the same questions, as I just finished polishing up my manuscript. What do I do now?

    After reading a few articles about it, I decided that I’d like to seek traditional publishing for this particular story. I’m sending out my first queries this week.

    Why did you decide to query LOVE, LIES, & CLONES and self-publish BLOOD & HOLY WATER and not vice versa? Just curious 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Great question! First off, I think BLOOD & HOLY WATER is a better story, but I really didn’t think I’d have a chance finding a publisher on a vampire story, plus it’s a little short — 70K or so. I believe I’d need to beef it up to 80K to be a reasonable word count. Who knows though, I have the 2017 Writer’s Market book on pre-order, if I run across someone asking for vampire stories, I may give it a shot anyway.

      Good luck with your queries! You survived writing a query letter? I’m working on that now too, and it’s a daunting task in itself! Almost harder than the novel.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That sounds like great reasoning 🙂 And have you checked out manuscriptwishlist.com? Some agents go on there and share what they’re looking for – it’s kind of fun to browse.

        And yeah, the query letter was hard to write – I thought writing a synopsis was the worst, though.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. In case you want to have even more information: I have a post on my tumblr about indie publishing http://the960writers.tumblr.com/post/145142501234/self-publishing-indie-publishing and a general tag http://the960writers.tumblr.com/tagged/indie+publishing with this kind of stuff.

    A friend of mine (https://lornageorge.com/) has started out in self publishing and found it so frustrating and tedious that it stopped being fun. She has now queried small publishers and it looks good. That might also be an option for you.

    I wish you good luck!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I think, ultimately, if the work is good and out there it will be read…. ONCE you get lead the horse (readers) to it. That said, HOW you get it out there is an epic quest in its own right and deserves some consideration. I lucked into a small press publishing contract on my first try but in general I’ve found that that personal relationship has helped me grow as a writer and given me time to learn the industry. After my contract for works in this world, I am not sure but I hope if we opt to diverge paths that I’ve learned enough for my compass to always lead me to true north and the righteous path. What that path is? Well, there’s an industry in selling those answers too,….. just not my industry! I just murder fictional characters and let others save their souls!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I finished my first novel and several revisions of it.

    I started querying it with no success. I think it’s a bad query letter, and I am planning on a workshop to see if I can get some help with learning how to do that.

    This is going to be harsh, so please understand that this is my experience. I usually read a book or two a week, and I have stopped reading self-published authors altogether. Why?

    Because the worst books I’ve ever read were self-published. Characters I hoped fail because they were so awful. Missing or terrible plot structure. Novels riddled with so many spelling, punctuation, and grammatical errors I couldn’t immerse myself in the work, and I am not a grammar Nazi.

    There are certainly some excellent works out there, but I’ve been burned too often to keep looking.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good luck with your query! I hope you learn a lot in the workshop. I’ve read somewhere that an agent only spends 8 seconds on your query letter… So it’s super important.

      No worries about being harsh. I used to feel the same way about self-published works. (And many people still feel the same way you do – probably a majority of people.) Now, I read more self-published than traditional… I’m just really careful to pick stories with over a 4 star rating AND plenty of reviews… The key to self-publishing is you can’t go cheap. You need to hire a professional editor, because without one, you make the entire self-published industry look bad. So self-publishing will definitely lower my potential audience.

      Thanks for the thoughtful comment!

      Liked by 2 people

  5. congrats on finishing! I just finished one for the first time! (I have 2 or 3 that are waiting to be finished) I agree publishing is confusing, and most people I know are self-publishing, and I think that makes it much harder to sell/market.


    1. Thanks! And congrats to you to for actually finishing a novel! It’s terrible to just have one sitting in a drawer. Yeah, self-publishing seems to be taking over the book market and they are hard to sell. We’ll see what I actually end up doing. Keep me updated on what you’re doing with yours.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m sure you already have your books published, but I’ll share my thoughts anyways. I also have several manuscripts sitting on my shelves waiting to be published. I tried self-publishing but had the problem that nobody saw it and wanted to buy it. I sent several queries to agents but I always got rejected. Part of me has lost hope, but there is still a small flicker that is telling me not to give up. What has your experience been so far?
    I started a blog to share my writing’s because none of them are professionally published so far. Feel free to check it out https://katiemdeanblog.wordpress.com/


    1. Yeah, I just published my one novel this month. (The other one I’m working on, but it’s a vampire novel and I don’t think there is a place for it in traditional publishing.)

      From what I’m seeing with my one novel being self-published (keep in mind, it went live on Kindle only a week ago) is that it is extremely difficult to drive readers to your book. It’s lost in a sea of millions of others.

      I’ve been reading other Indie author’s feedback/input and they say it takes multiple books in the same series before you get noticed. Maybe even four books in one series? I’ve seen them give the first book away for free (and paying to advertise it for free) just to hook readers.

      For me, with one stand alone story, it’s hard to compete with the “free” books. So, I take this as motivation to keep writing. Motivation to get 4 books in a series and see what happens.

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

      Liked by 1 person

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