Part III of the WoW trilogy (fun acronym, eh?) went up on Amazon mid-February. Then the typeset copy came to me for a final editing before it went to the print shop. I now have 12 reviews up on Amazon of WoW I and 1 of WoW II. 20-25 reviews are needed for many promos, way more to make a dent in Amazon's rating system, but every review counts and I'm grateful to every person who wrote one. On Feb. 20, I picked up my copies of the print book.
No word yet from my agent about the publisher who is interested in The Sorrow Stone, or the other publishing houses she sent it to. Patience, patience, patience. I have, however, been giving a number of talks about crafting short stories and about my t/p book, Connections, which is selling very well. Several people who bought Connections have bought WoW, even though they don't read sci-fi, because they like my writing. When my historical fiction novel Sorrow Stone comes out, I expect the two books will be selling each other, because hist-fic is more accessible to mainstream readers than sci-fi is.
Timing: There's no comparison between the speed of self-publishing and the delay of traditional publishing. In defense of t/p, there are advantages to slow. In the race between the hare and the turtle, the turtle won because the hare slacked off. Instant gratification is more than tempting, it's addictive. But it takes years to develop your skill to the point where you can write a story worth reading; it takes months even then to edit and re-edit and edit again a story till it's ready. The t/p model FORCES you to do this; the s/p model tempts you not to.
Here is an excellent post on t/p versus s/p on timing:
Personal Satisfaction: It was very satisfying to have a NY agent give her stamp of approval on my writing by signing me on, and it will be equally satisfying to have a publisher buy my manuscript. More so than publishing my own book? Yes. But the bottom line, the satisfaction that trumps all others, is having my book read and enjoyed by readers. Thanks to self-publishing, people are already reading my book and apparently enjoying it. That is pretty cool!
Here is a good post about t/p versus s/p in terms of satisfaction that you might find interesting: http://tobyneal.net/2014/02/13/is-indie-publishing-worth-it-would-i-do-it-again-a-tell-all/
The sheer joy of holding in my hands this book, Walls of Wind, which I love beyond anything else I've written, was indescribable. Then I found an error in one paragraph right in the middle. The only editing oversight in the book. In the midst of beating myself up soundly, I noticed in a currently popular novel I'm reading published by Penguin, that the protagonist says her daughter is 18 on one page, then several paragraphs later, in the same scene, refers to this same daughter as being 17. I immediately felt better. It happens in every book, t/p or s/p. If the editors at Penguin can miss a slip or two, so can I. But I would be even happier if I hadn't. The upside to ebooks, is that I can correct it immediately, which I have.
Financial Gain: While my s/p ebooks are selling better than last month, likely because I have some good reviews and three ebooks rather than one on Amazon, I wouldn't exactly call it "financial gain". I might clear $10 this month. No problem - they'll be up for a LONG time, and I believe in this book.
Here is an interesting post on s/p versus t/p and financial gain. Read it, then go through every post he's written. (There are only about six, and they're all good. He does have an obvious bias, but given that, he has interesting things to say.) http://www.hughhowey.com/my-advice-to-aspiring-authors/
So my next step in this experiment is to try a free giveaway. Now, I have to confess, I always said I'd never give my books away for free. I'd work and work at them until they were worth buying, or never offer them to anyone if they weren't worth buying. But a giveaway of Part I, to let people decide if they want to read more of my writing, just makes sense. Getting the word out about this giveaway has taken an inordinate amount of time this month, and I won't know how good a job I did till the results come in. I've put the announcement up on every site for free books I could find, and tweeted and FB'd it, and asked everyone who knows me to tweet and FB the freebie for me.
I'll let you know next month how this strategy works for an unknown author. Cheers!