Monday, October 28, 2013

Facing Fears

Okay, so this is always hard, isn't it? Facing down that rabid dog or whatever. But though I am terrified of most dogs, rabid or not, that's not really what I'm talking about. Not a physical fear, but an emotional one.

That's not quite right either. More of a creative one.

See, my agent and I parted ways last month. She is a lovely person and a great agent. I have no hard feelings toward her and our split was amicable.

And here I am. Facing a wide-open world of publishing for the first time in years. Well, that's not really true either, because I already have books out. The only way to truly have a wide-open publishing world is to choose a pen name and start over.

I don't think I'll do that, and now I'm exploring all the options. See, I have five full manuscripts that are finished. Like, finished. Like, I could send them to editors and agents and not be embarrassed.

I'm querying a couple of them, actually. Querying is just as painful and demoralizing as I remember from 2009. Rejections are hard--especially when the feedback is at odds from agent to agent.

I have submitted a couple of my manuscripts to small and midsize publishers that take unsolicited submissions.

I have purchased Indie-publishing guides, and I've emailed with friends, and I've discussed options with my husband.

I really do have a ton of choices. The real problem is facing the fear of choosing one over the other. It seems that every publishing model has it's pros and cons.

And of course, I want it all. *wink* But mostly, it's the fear of trying something I've never tried before that's got a grip on me right now. I almost think it would be easier if someone just told me what to do! Anyone? Ha!

Have you faced a fear? How did you overcome it?

30 comments:

Tasha Seegmiller said...

I'm so so so so happy that you posted this today. I'm querying - haven't sent out tons yet and even though I know that every no is something someone else has gone through, every no also makes me wonder if the courage I felt when I sent them was false. ARGH.

You know lots about the industry. A lot lots. I would say take the time to look at each project and weigh where it would best belong. It seems there are certain genres of books that do better self pubbed than others might. Of course, I could be completely wrong.

Also, I'll probably be sending you some money and my query in the next bit. I'd love feedback from the coolest query goddess I've ever met :)

Patti said...

Sorry to hear about the parting of ways, but it sounds like now the world is wide open to you, which can be scarey as, well you know. I'm not good at making choices. It's been hard for me to even pick agents to query, hence the lack of querying. Good luck in finding which grass will be your greenest.

Robin said...

Querying is always a challenge. I hope you can find your "right" move forward!

Oh man, I know what you mean about wanting someone to just tell you what to do, already. The fear of making the right decision, following the right path, etc. is so hard. I'm right there with you as I wonder about my publishing path.

Cathy said...

All I can guess from reading between the lines is that you're in the "fourth book syndrome." Your previous sales weren't high enough, thus your publisher and agent dropped you.

Congratulate yourself that you published three books. Most authors, if they (traditionally) publish even one, never publish another.

If you love teaching enough, realize that you will make far more money in your lifetime being a teacher, and will probably positively influence far more people. So you might want to pour your energies into that, instead of a career that is dead in the water.

Especially as the market is super-saturated, and some of the talent that is being published is simply amazing.

But if you are determined to let none of that stop you, find a path and charge ahead with the same determination that brought you to where you are now.

I have been reading your blog since forever, and I applaud your honesty, your hard work on behalf of yourself AND others, and your determination to succeed. I wish you the best, and I hope this isn't the end of the line for you.

I hope you'll get past the fourth book syndrome.

Pippa said...

I'm in the exact same place, Elana, though with nothing published and only one MS ready to go - but I get how HARD it is to decide what to do next.

In the meantime I've got this note stuck to my desk, "If you listen to your fears, you will die never knowing what a great person you might have been." Now to decide whether to keep it there or doodle fire breathing dragons over it ... ;)

Miranda Hardy said...

It's never easy to make crucial decisions on something so important to you. Whatever you choose, you have a loyal following, fan base, and wonderful friends that will cheer you along.

Sara B. Larson said...

That is such a brave, hard decision to make--and one I also had to make and deal with almost two years ago. Even though it was scary and one of the hardest things I've ever done (and the path to get another agent after it wasn't easy either), I'm SO glad I did. Following that gut instinct, or inspiration, or whatever you want to call it, will never lead you astray in the end. *hugs* And if you want someone to talk to who's been there, I'm here for you!!

L.T. Elliot said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
L.T. Elliot said...

My advice? Don't ever give up on you. Yes, you have a billion options ahead. Terrifying options. Fun options. Wild and adventurous options. Just don't ever give yourself the option of giving up. You're just too good for that.

Sending you my love and faith. And the option of lunch dates too. ;)

Laura Marcella said...

You do have a lot of options! I feel more fear when I feel like I have very few options, or that there is only one obvious choice available and I don't like it. So I think it's great there are many paths for you to take. If one doesn't work out, don't despair because there are other avenues to try until you find one that fits just right. Good luck, Elana!

Happy reading and writing! from Laura Marcella @ Wavy Lines

Chantele Sedgwick said...

Oh, Elana! I'm so sorry! I've been in that exact same place with the agent thing. :( It's not fun at all. You're so positive about things though and you're an amazing writer. Everything will work out. Go with your gut and what you really want out of your career. Whatever you decide, I wish you all the luck in the world. :)

Natalie Aguirre said...

So sorry you parted ways with your agent. That must have been hard. It's exciting that there's so many options out there, but also very overwhelming. Just remember that whatever you decide that it's not written in stone that you can't pick a different option in the future. There's no right or wrong so I'm sure you'll do okay.

For me right now, I'm going through so much else--a job change after a layoff next year and helping my daughter will college decisions--that I'm putting off pursing much writing wise until I have more time and could be excited about it.

Janet Johnson said...

First, Wow!! FIVE ready-to-go manuscripts??? You are amazing!

Ugh, on the agent thing. Knowing how hard you work at all you do, whatever direction you choose to go will be awesome. :)

Best of luck!

Emma Adams said...

I feel for you. There are so many more options for authors today that it can be hard to decide which is the right choice for your work. I started the other way around, publishing two books through small presses, but am now preparing to query agents with two MS's in different genres. Each book is different and I think the best thing to do is trust your instinct on the best path for each project. You have lots of experience and industry knowledge so you're in a good position to begin with. Best of luck! :)

Liza said...

I have faith the right decision will come to you. It did before, it will again. Hooray for five manuscripts ready to go.

Peggy Eddleman said...

I'm pretty sure that you could close your eyes, pick one, and whatever it was, it would work out amazingly. You've got the golden touch, girl. Go with it!

Dianne K. Salerni said...

I know an author (I mean, like personally know her, off the internet) who recently parted ways with her agent, too. Also an amicable split. The agent was switching agencies, and her new specialty area didn't really include my friend's genre.

So, with 2 published books and another under contract, she was back to querying. She said the exact same thing you did: "It's just as demoralizing now as it was before I had books published."

Good luck to you, Elana, as you make decisions going forward. I get the part about there being almost too many choices at this point -- and not knowing which one is right. But you are an amazing person with a great deal of talent and leadership ability.

You might worry about making the right decision, but I think the rest of us are fairly confident you will choose wisely!

Mel Chesley said...

Whatever you choose to do, don't give it a second thought. Jump in and do it with your whole heart. Thinking about it just makes those fears increase. I was so afraid to show my first book to the world, but then I had to follow the advice I gave to my daughter the first time she sang in front of a crowd: You were given this gift. If you don't share it, it will just go to waste. Share your gift. And she did. So did I. It was scary, but I did it. :D

Richard Hughes said...

You've accomplished a lot already. That will help you in the long run in making a good decision. Good luck.

Donna Hole said...

Like a new job interview: you interview them as much as they interview you Elana. Look at finding a new agent like you would finding a new home, or place of employment. You have to choose what is a comfortable fit and hopefully long relationship.

Of course, I have more experience job hunting than agent hunting :)

Good luck in choosing the right one for you.

........dhole

June G said...

As usual, Elana, you're honesty is tremendously refreshing and appreciated. I've taken a break from writing...just have different priorities at the moment and the road to publication is very time consuming, though I still love to write. It's not easy, but take your time and work your way through this. People often have no idea how rocky the road to publishing really is, especially with so many people coming into it since the success of Twilight. The competition is tremendous!

And even if it doesn't work out they way you'd prefer, you're no less of a great person and you've managed to do something many of us have only dreamed about: publish a book! 3 in fact! Bless, you...

Stina Lindenblatt said...

The great thing, Elana, is that you have the options you didn't have when you started this journey. Plus you're wiser than back then. *hugs*

Angela Brown said...

I'm glad your split from your agent was amicable. And now what to do with the knowledge you've gained, networks you've built and the fan base you've established. Since you're querying, you've got a foot in the right direction. And if you choose, you can go the self-publishing route just to try it. That is the beauty of your situation. Fear is understandable and natural. Yet you have a certain amount of freedom now. Whatever you choose, I'll be happy to show my support.

Kittie Howard said...

I'm sorry you've had this bucket of cold water splashed on you, but, from carefully reading your post, I think you already know what to do: query on the side while cutting an indie path. Know you can do this!

Kimberley Griffiths Little said...

You are not alone. I had to part ways with my first agent and it was VERY SCARY, thinking I may never be agented or published again. (And this was before the indie option of today). It took almost two years to get my new agent, but it was definitely worth it. She's sold more for me and for more money (by FAR) than my first agent.

And, I will also be indie pubbing my first book in January with a pen name (while still publishing with Scholastic and Harpercollins). It's an exciting time to be a writer and we have more options than ever before.

You are very talented and I know you can do anything you set your mind to, Elana! I'm cheering you on, dear friend! xoxo

Michelle D. Argyle said...

Elana, I'm going to send you an email, but for now I just want to give you a big HUG and tell you I think you're awesome. I just faced this big wide world about 6 weeks ago when my publisher closed and had to make a big decision. It's been a steep learning curve sense, and quite scary, but I'm doing it. Facing that fear. I know you can too!

Karen lee Hallam said...

I hear you--the unknown is fraught with fear--or we can change the way we speak internally and say--this is going to be exciting. OK< brain, you got that. It's all hard sometimes we just need to jump. All the best on your new road.

Lily Cate said...

You know, I actually kind of liked querying!
I'm out on agented sub for the first time, and I really do miss the querying process.
Maybe it was because I did it for 2&1/2 years, or that I liked being in charge of the process.

Kathryn Purdie said...

I already know you're brave and a tough fear-facing chick for the first step you've taken here. I agree with Peggy that you could succeed with any publishing model. When I'm in situations like this--when all the options are good and viable--I eventually just have to choose one and take those first steps into the darkness. God's quick about helping us with a course correction if we're wrong, but He wants us to make a choice. Big hugs. We need another write night soon!

Susanne Drazic said...

Wow! Good luck with choosing what will be right for you and your manuscripts. Best wishes with the querying.

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