Books and Sensibility's month long dedication to indie !
Jenny Miller grew up in Seattle, writing sappy (illustrated!) novels for her obliging parents. She studied creative writing at the University of Washington and holds a Masters in Teaching from Seattle University. She still lives in the Emerald City with her husband, two kids, and a dog who thinks he’s a cat. ASYLUM is her first novel.
You can find her at Jennyemiller.com and her food and humor blog RainyDayGal.com.
Like every author, I've had my fair share of rejections. It doesn't matter who rejects you or how the letter is written; it still feels like a punch to the gut. You've put in so much time and effort, not only toward your book, but also into each and every query letter you've written. You make it personal. You make it intriguing. You make your book sound so enthralling that no one would ever put it down. You send out each carefully written letter. Then you wait and wait to hear back. And then it's sorry, this just isn't for us. Try someone else.
I received (what would come to be) my final rejection email at the gym. I was going round and round on the elliptical machine, half-watching the Today show, when an email popped up. It read like all the rest. Sorry, Ms. Miller. Your book sounds great, but not for us. Not at this time. I burst into tears and nearly fell off the machine. I was in a fragile emotional state already (my grandmother had just passed), and this letter was the final blow. I was devastated.
It took me about a month to pick myself up. It was a month spent wallowing, immersing myself in motherhood (those damn cupcakes were perfect), not touching my book and doing anything to distract myself from the 237 pages that might never find a publisher. I was beat down, and tired of putting my fate into someone else's hands. That's when my husband brought up self-publishing again, for the zillionth time. But this time, I didn't brush it off immediately. I thought about it. And that afternoon, instead of folding laundry (over-perfectly), I started shopping for editors.
In the course of two months my book has been edited, polished and formatted. A cover has been designed, and all the channels have been aligned for it to be put up for sale. Compare that with the average of two years a book spends with a publisher before its put on the market. Two years! And in a month on the shelf if it doesn’t sell well, it could be yanked right off.
The downside of self-publishing? I had to pay the editor and cover designer out of pocket. I have to do all the marketing and advertising myself. But with a good launch, the power of social networking, and a 70% kickback from Amazon, I’ll make that money back and (hopefully!) more.
No one gets into writing to be a millionaire. We’re lucky if we can even cover our bills on writing alone. To have your work out there—being able to be read by anyone and everyone—is the ultimate goal. My fate is finally in my hands, and as a writer, that’s the best thing I can ask for.
June Foster’s summer is limping along. Her life on a 1950′s farm in eastern Washington is boring–full of milking cows, picking apricots and tending to the chicken coops. Her only friends are her record player and her books. But when gorgeous, turquoise-eyed Frank falls into her world, her life becomes anything but ordinary.