Hope…It’s a word associated with many things, like Star Wars, President Obama, and the first game of your favorite sports team’s season. Hope is a part of faith, family, and charity. This past week, watching the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey filled me with hope for humanity as I watched people helping others without thought of their own safety.
Hope is a big word that fills all our lives on a daily basis; but for an author like myself, hope is what makes us go on. After I finished my first novel, Forever Avalon, in 2007, my hope was to get it published and become a famous writer. I bought a book listing publishers and mailed out my manuscript. I received plenty of rejection letters, sometimes none at all. My hope was fading fast.
Then I received a phone call from a small publishing company, Rock Publishing, who offered to publish my book for a small fee. Now, at the time, I didn’t know what self-publishing was. I thought this was someone truly interested in me a writer and the small fee ($1,200) was because I was a new, untested author. How wrong I was…
The word “vanity publisher” was another way of describing self-publishing houses. It’s an appropriate word, preying on the “vanity” of the authors to be published. It’s true, though, as I was filled with pride, completely overjoyed at seeing my name on a book I could hold in my hands. I didn’t care about the cost. It was worth it.
The problem was in the writing. Most vanity publishers aren’t concerned if your book has been edited, polished, and thoroughly vetted, unless you pay for it that is. That’s the thing with self-publishing–you pay for everything you need from your publisher,including marketing, cover and interior art, editing, etc. I received more editing from my mother than I did my first publisher, and she gave me edits after it was already published.
My second book, The Dark Tides, was published through iUniverse publishing company. They gave me tons of support and wonderful customer service, for a higher price than my first. I paid even more for editing, marketing, special events, and artwork. Even with the higher cost, the results were similar to my first book. This would tell you that maybe writing isn’t your thing, that your stories are not what people are looking for, and yet I continue to write.
As an author who self publishes, you rely on yourself for everything from marketing, social media, setting up book signing events, all the while your working on your next story. It can be a frantic existence for any author, but we continue to strive on with that little bit of hope.
Self-publishing has its ups and downs, good and bad experiences for any independent author. Others would give up with little to no success, but I just can’t do it. Why is that? Is it vanity or something more? Its not vanity, its hope. Through it all, I still have that little bit of hope deep inside. I’m in the process of editing my third book and already started working on the fourth. That’s what it means to be an author, filled with hope in the spirit that one day your work will be recognized. “Never give up, never surrender!”
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Mark Piggott is the author of the Forever Avalon book series. Forever Avalon is available for purchase at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. The Dark Tides is available for purchase at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and iUniverse publishing. The Outlander War, Chapter 3 of the Forever Avalon series is coming soon.