Monday, June 16, 2014

New Blog Series: The Self-Pub Diaries

As some of you may have noticed, I’ve been absent from social media lately and I even missed a few posts. This is no accident. I’ve been working on something big, like BIG big. And today I’m starting a new blog series here on Pub Hub: The Self-Pub Diaries. I think the title is pretty much self-explanatory, but to make it official, here’s my announcement:

This spring I wrote a New Adult Contemporary novel that I’ll be self-publishing in August. The blog posts here will chronicle my floundering as I try to get this show on the road, my screw-ups (hopefully not too many) and successes (hopefully a few!).

But before we get to the HOW, I must start with the WHY. Two years ago, even as early as a year ago, I never would have considered self-publishing. No, I was querying my YA manuscripts (both upper YA with paranormal elements, both Book 1 in a potential series) and determined to do this the right way. As in, get an agent, get a shiny book deal with an imprint of the Big Five that my parents and friends have actually heard of, have my hardcovers on the display at the local bookstore, the works.

And now I’m setting up a new penname to self-publish a New Adult romance on the internet, all by my lonesome.

That’s a huge step. It wasn’t an easy decision, and I didn’t come to it overnight. I admit, at times it did feel like I was giving up on my dreams (which is FAR from being the case, as I’ll elaborate below).

So, without further ado. Here’s what people asked me when I told them about this crazy new venture.

Why New Adult?

Because New Adult works extremely well on the self-pub market. So when it turned out my next Book of my Heart was New Adult, I decided there was no point trying to get it traditionally published. Publishers have relatively little to offer me that I couldn’t do myself, at least where New Adult is concerned. I could get my book out there without having to wait a year or more while it’s on submission and THEN while it makes the rounds in the glacial-paced trad pub machine.

Also, I sort of fell in love with New Adult while I wrote my upcoming release, SHAMELESS. Unlike YA, which has to obey so many unspoken rules and conventions (“bad behavior” like drugs or “promiscuity” must have consequences, the main character can’t have sex with a guy other that her True Love, etc), in New Adult all bets are off. That suits me as a writer. You see, I love morally grey stories with complex characters. My protagonists often range from Type 1 Antihero to unabashed heartless bastard, and that’s exactly how I like it. And I don’t appreciate being told that I have to make my characters “nicer” or I won’t have a chance to be published.

Why a new penname? (AKA who the hell is this Nina Lemay person?)

It’s not because of a need to compartmentalize (although if I wrote something close to erotica, it might be an issue if I also published YA under the same penname). In fact, I chose to self-publish under a new penname because that’s just how publishing works. It’s a clause a lot of trad contracts have, called the “non-compete” clause, which means you can’t self-publish or publish with another house while you’re under contract with the current house. So if I sold a YA novel tomorrow, my hands might be tied in regards to this New Adult book, as well as the book I’m currently writing and plan on releasing in the fall. I don’t want that, so I’m keeping my indie New Adult and my YA pennames separate. It’s a business decision, as boring as that.

But but but! What about your YA work? Are you going to self-publish that too? Are you going to stop writing YA altogether?

No, and no. I’m currently revising several YA manuscripts that my agent and I intend to sub to editors. I’m not going to self-publish my YA work because I don’t think it’s the right choice for it. YA is much harder to market and I don’t have the platform or the resources to make it happen. I know lots of examples of people who self-published and marketed their YA to success, but they have huge social media followings, connections to major book blogs and stuff like that.

My decision to self-publish my New Adult work is not an us-vs-them thing. I’m simply doing what I think is best for each individual book that took me months to write and edit. For my YA work, trying for a trad pub deal is the optimal choice. And it’s okay if it works out five years from now or not at all. I have my New Adult projects to keep me busy, books that will be out there, being read. It’s a win-win situation.

If you want all the sordid details of the path that got me here, my New Adult alter ego has a blog post about it right here.

You can follow me on Twitter here

And the book is on Goodreads! Expect the cover reveal within the next month, and the pub date is set for August 18th.

I don’t know how this will turn out, but at least I will have tried. Wish me luck! And of course you can always help out by retweeting, reposting, and adding the book on Goodreads. Just sayin’.

Next time: the mechanics of self-publishing, AKA what you need to book and when and how much you should expect to pay for it.

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