Tuesday, June 19, 2012

If you ever doubt self-published books...

At times, I doubt myself.  Particularly because no agents would take on my book.  I feel as though a traditional publisher would help me get the publicity I need to sell books and get my name out there.  I just wrote about it the other day, in fact (http://saskiaeakyil.blogspot.de/2012/06/give-up-no-not-yet.html). 

And then I read this blog post (thanks, Krisiny!!!) and realized that, as an unknown first-time author, having a traditional publisher and agent might not have helped me at all.  I just need to keep plugging away at guest blogging and other forms of publicity, because someone might read my book because of it.  And if they do, they might like it.  And if they like it, they might tell a person or two about it.  And if they do... that's how it really works for unknown writers.  A lot of hard work and word of mouth.

Amazon was so thrilled with the post, which is by a previously traditionally published author who disses traditional publishers and praises Amazon/Createspace/KDP, that they made it  a front-page story.  Which will totally help Jessica Park sell books, further convincing her that self publishing is better than traditional publishing for her.  One of her best points as far as I'm concerned is that certain character ages fall into a black hole of literature - there is no "category" for 13-year-olds (too old for middle grade, too young for YA), no category for 18-25 year-olds...it's ludicrous.  And it is absolutely the fault of the large publishing houses who market books as they do.  I actually wanted to write a book about a 13-year-old, but was reminded that there's no category for that.

I'm still not 100% convinced that self-publishing is actually better... Ms. Park did have publisher backing for years, which surely gave her a feeling of legitimacy and she surely benefited from that publisher's connections - it is incredibly hard to get self-published books reviewed.  I will still try to get an agent for my next book.  I will still enter it into contests.  But if, in the end, I decide to self publish again, I won't feel too bad about it.

Thank you, Jessica Park, for helping self-published authors gain some legitimacy!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

who are you???

This blogger read my book, at least she says so on her blog... http://nextbestbook.blogspot.de/2012/05/its-monday-what-have-you-been-reading.html#comment-form

Who is she?
How did she hear about my book?
What did she think about it?

Mysteries I hope I will one day solve......

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Give Up? No... not yet

I finally have the idea for my next novel quite solidly outlined.  As I start to write, the rejection letters for other things I've queried have come in.  I hear a lot of "you are an excellent writer, but I didn't fall in love with the characters," or "your writing is solid, but the story is not for me".  Either this stuff is generic rejection stuff (in some cases, it doesn't seem to be based on other stuff in the letters), or I'm JUST NOT GOOD ENOUGH.  And I think to myself, will this next novel be "good enough" for an agent to bite?  And then for a publisher to bite?  Or will it also be close but not quite there.  One agent has asked to see my next novel, which is encouraging.  But it's a lot of work to write a book, and I wonder if I should be spending my time this way or if there are more constructive things I could be doing.

The answer?  OF COURSE there are more constructive things I could be doing, but my problem is that I write because I can't help myself.  And if I give up, I'll never, ever know if I could do this, write a book good enough and sale-able enough that someone would want to publish it.

And this stream-of-consciousness blog post answers the question of what success means to a writer:  getting published by a publisher.  Not because they are the final word, but because they have a gazillion contacts that I do not have.  Newspapers and radio stations and magazines aren't interested in my book because I published it myself, which unofficially means that it is not good enough for them.

But there are rays of light in these dark thoughts.  A lot of people have read my book, loved it, and written positive reviews.  A lot of people have recommended it to their friends.  And at the end of the day, I feel confident that I did, in fact, write a really good book.  A book I would have wanted to read when I was 16.  I'm recording the audio book now (SLOW process, as slow as writing!), and I am truly enjoying it because - surprise - it's a fun story, with some very funny, sweet, poignant moments.

So it's not really true that I define my talent through the eyes of agents and publishers.  The truth is that I just want to get my story out there, and it's a frustratingly difficult thing to do all on my own.

So I guess I'll just keep on writing, at least for now.  My deadline is the end of December because I want to enter my new book in the 2013 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Contest.  So here goes...

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Review: Midwest Book Reviews

I kinda get now why there has been some criticism of Midwest Book Reviews.  If you look at the reviews, they're almost all positive, and some of them are so short that the "reviewer" might have just read the press release.

They've now reviewed my book twice.  The first review was so flawed (reviewer had not even read the press release correctly) that I complained and requested a new one.  Many months later, here it is:

In "Secrets of a Summer Village", 17 year old Rachel Guo finds herself spending part of a once-in-a-lifetime summer with a Turkish family in a village situated on the western coast of Turkey. This will also be the village where she will begin by not knowing her own mind, and conclude with an unexpected romance and her own coming of age as a young woman. Author Saska Akyil has a natural talent for bringing her characters to life and providing the reader with a true 'mind's eye' experience in a pleasant read which will prove a perfect summer pastime! "Secrets of a Summer Village" is highly recommended for personal reading lists and community library contemporary fiction and young adult fiction collections.

Was it worth all that hassle?  Not really.  I mean, it appears that the reviewer did read at least part of the book this time, and the review is positive and says I have a natural talent... which of course I agree with (hahaha), but I think... I hope they wouldn't have said this without actually reading it.  If you read through their reviews, I think I notice a trend that they don't comment on the writing style at all sometimes - and those might be reviews that were written without any book-reading going on.

I'm going to have those last two sentences put onto Amazon, though.  Maybe someone will read it and like it. Hmmm.