Why don’t you do it yourself?
December 1, 2012 § 1 Comment
Last summer, a woman–I am friendly with—told a literary agent client of hers about my writing. The agent invited me to submit my work. I, thinking what a wonderful chance it was—my only personal introduction—posted her the first three chapters of a novel.
I had shown a version of those chapters to six other literary agents/publishers the year before. On that first round, none of the agents had asked to see the novel but one had assured me that I could write. However, she was not confident about marketing the novel. After those rejections, I revised the chapters. This agent was getting to see improved work.
Soon enough my great hope replied. The agent did not like my sample novel chapters. In her email, she indicated that she did not care for the characters, or how I introduced them, or the shift in view point. She did remark that there were some interesting themes. Interesting themes? What did I care about interesting themes, if I even knew what they were? I would have far preferred if the agent had liked the characters and found the story interesting. How deflating her response was.
I told the woman who had helped me that I had failed to find favour with the agent. She was, touchingly, chagrined on my behalf.
She told me that years before, she had been looking for a job as a hairdresser in good London salons but no one would hire her. A friend of hers suggested that she open her own salon. That’s what she did. She has been running a salon for over twenty years near Primrose Hill.
Why don’t you do it [self-publish] yourself? She suggested. I didn’t dismiss the idea; I didn’t welcome it. And it is only now, about four months later, that I see the possibilities in self-publishing.
Why don’t I?