Sunday, February 23, 2014

To Publish or not to Publish

Many of you do not know me personally, and therefore, are not familiar with the many hats that I wear on a daily basis.  In order to help you understand the complexity of my life, let me first tell you a little bit about me, outside of just being an author.  While I am attempting at making a name for myself in the literary world, I am also an educator, counselor, coach, after school program cooking instructor,  and youth activist. Most of my work days are 10 hours or longer, and more times than not, I am forced to take work home.  Even though I stopped grading papers at home after shaking off my newbie teacher wings, I have my hands in almost everything that goes on at my campus....I'm the sponsor of our girl's club that helps to build character and resilience among impoverished adolescent girls, I write and direct our annual black history program, I am the go-to unofficial counselor for grade levels 6, 7, and 8, and there is always planning, plotting, or organizing that takes place after regular work hours.  I think I forgot to mention that I am also studying to take my LPC (Licensed Professional Counselor) exam in June, so that I can own my own practice at 30.

"Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage.  If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it.  Go out and get busy." -Dale Carnegie

And on top of all of this, I still believe in my dream enough to keep writing, keep grinding, and keep pushing to satisfy my loyal readers and hook new ones.  I've known for a while that I would only be able to play superwoman for so long, and I have forfeited sleep gladly.  However, there comes a point when you must refocus and re-stratergize to help reach the goals that you have set forth to achieve. 

Through self-publishing and launching my first novel, I have realized that there is much about the book industry that I do not know like, how many novels does it take to become a bestseller, what are the best ways to market a novel for an unknown author, who should I be networking with to launch my novel into the next selling bracket, etc.  I have made many mistakes and had to learn a lot of hard lessons along the way, but that has not detoured me from continuing to write and push sales.  However, I want more for my novel and more for my readers. 

The urban fiction market is becoming over saturated with poorly edited, rushed release novels making it hard for new authors to gain recognition and a fan base of readers.  Let's face it, the reality is that readers would rather spend their hard earned money on authors that have already proven themselves in the industry.  Don't forget that I am a reader too.  And since I don't #writetoeat, I #teachtoeat, unfortunately, I don't have the time or resources to spend selling books out of my trunk 12 hours a day until I've sold enough books to get put on the map.

It is my longing to be a successful author and my limited amount of time that are starting to sway my mind towards seeking a major publishing contract.  When I first set out to release Fashionably Deceptive, I was offered a contract, but I quickly declined after reading that I would basically have to sign my life away.  That reason, along with the advice of other authors that felt they had been duped into selling their soul, quickly had me all gun-hoe for self-publishing.  However, the reality is quite bleak.  I don't have the resources, the time, or the unlimited funds to continue pushing quality novels and still remain focused on accomplishing dreams more pressing than my book career, at this point.

So, this weekend I did the inevitable.  I decided to halt editing and graphic designs for A Fashionable Revelation (no death threats please) and seek publishing from a major company.  I can admit that I am afraid of the future, because I am leery of a publishing contract, but I am also leery of continuing to half-invest my time and energy in my writing.  My readers and my writing career deserve so much more.  Contracts are negotiable, and I have one of the best entertainment contract lawyers on hand, but how much am I willing to sacrifice in pursuit of my dream?  Am I willing to give away all the rights to my book with limited royalties to become a best selling author?  Will my sacrifices pay off in the end? 

God, I am putting it in your hands, however, I will not allow my time to be idle.  Over the next couple of  months while I wait for a response from publishing companies, I will still be promoting Fashionably Deceptive and building my brand.  People will have a more in depth look into my life: the woman, the youth activist, the aspiring fashionista, the educator, and the counselor in the making.  Stay tuned for this is only the beginning.....


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