A Story about a Novel: Plot Twist

Screenshot 2015-05-26 10.26.59When I was young and single, I had a crush on a guy. Because of the strict religious ideals we followed, I couldn’t just hope he’d ask me out. I had to hope that he’d approach my parents and request to court me “with the intention of marriage.”

And I did hope, despite the fact that most guys had no idea that they were supposed to be following certain rules of courtship. And I continued to hope, even though I had enough sense to see that almost none of the guys I knew were in any position to talk about marriage. It was my only option, though. I clung to it.

Later that year, a letter did arrive for my mother, asking to court me. But it wasn’t from the guy I’d been thinking about. It was from someone else I’d consciously eliminated as an option already.

However, this “someone else” was worth considering. Courting him turned out to be the best direction I could have possibly taken. As DJ and I approach our fifteenth wedding anniversary, I’m still congratulating myself on the decision.

And this has to do with writing a novel… how? Oh, glad you asked. Let’s segue into that topic.

I’ve always assumed that once I wrote a viable novel, I’d pursue traditional publishing. It was the only real option. I knew about self-publishing, but decided against it long ago.

The thing is, the publishing world is different than it was when I was first researching the process. It is, in the words of one article, “broken.” Literary agents receive more and more submissions, but publishing houses are buying fewer and fewer books. If your book doesn’t fit neatly into a genre, yet still stand out as immediately marketable, your options are slim to the point of anorexia.

With the rise of e-books, authors can skip the agent and publisher and market directly to their target audience. And suddenly that option I eliminated might be worth considering.

I’ve got a number of good reasons to want to publish myself, not all of which are, “Traditional publishing is a racket and I have no interest in trying to fit into the machine.” I won’t bother to list them; I’m trying hard to keep from justifying my decision to the world at large because it still feels kind of like cheating. Suffice it to say that my initial interest has solidified into a decision.

I’ve got a lot to do first. The novel is undergoing some final edits, and then it will have to be proofed. I need to hire a designer to create a cover that is exciting, eye-catching, and not embarrassing. I’ve got to line up several other details as well.

So I’m looking at a falltime launch. I’m excited about the prospect and not even terrified, at least not any more than if I were being stalked by rabid rogue trolls or something.

But back when I decided I liked DJ’s offer of courtship, it still took a lot of thought and preparation… and then just closing my eyes, holding my breath, and jumping into what I hoped was the right decision. Here’s hoping this has as happy an ending.

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