So guess what I learned this week?
That I could attend and work at two comic book conventions (all for the lovely Celine Chapus of PurpleTopHat.com), write from 1700-4000 words a day, and realize my mind is already made up about The Sundered.
I’m going indie.
So what is The Sundered? It’s about a young, bitter man who chooses between saving humanity from extinction – or saving the species humanity enslaves. It’s a dark book, and one that tends to make beta readers scream. It’s also nearly unpublishable.
I should rephrase that carefully.
Here’s the feedback I have had consistently for the past two years: Oh, the characters are great. Oh, the world is fantastic. Oh, this plot is wonderful. Oh, we can’t publish it because it’s a unique idea and nobody is buying those right now thanks to the economy.
Clearly, I must suck (in spite of consistent positive responses). Obviously I had to fix it somehow. So I added profanity, then took it all away. I rewrote it for YA, then changed it back to adult. I edited and edited. Played with sexual tension. Removed sexual tension. Made supporting characters better. Took them out entirely.
The responses were mostly the same, only more intense, including demands for sequels. But still, no one wants to rep it because it’s a “unique” idea.
Well. All right, then.
I know it’s not the best book on the planet, but it’s readable. It’s fun, well-crafted, and a solid representation of my writing. A trustworthy friend told me it’s a good second-out-of-the-gate book, but not a debut novel.
It’s a dark book, and one that tends to make beta readers scream. It’s also nearly unpublishable.
I actually think it’s not something anyone is going to take a risk on at all, and… I’ve made my peace with that.
I have other ideas on the burner. They very well may be more publishable. Once they’re complete, I’ll find out. But as of now, my mind is made up: The Sundered is going to be self-published.
And then I’ m going to be at conventions alongside my dear artist friend Celine, hawking my literary wares. And the concept feels… good. Really good.
I am aware of the enormity of what I’m taking on. The marketing issues, the self-promotion. Cover design, materials, professional editing services, travel. Obviously, I am out of my mind. I’m already planning banners, character art, all kinds of things. I’m going to keep writing while doing all this. And it still feels right.
Hopefully all my concepts aren’t so “unique” that they’re “unmarketable.” And if they are that unique… well. At least I know a few people out there enjoy reading things that aren’t just what’s on the market.
In the meantime, I’ll keep fighting that tiny, terrified voice that wants me to give up. Crazy or not, this idea will lead to a trunk-load of awesome.