When I wrote Darkhouse I had certain idealistic dreams on the horizon. Once the shock of actually writing a novel wore off, I started fantasizing about the next step. I would rewrite, rewrite, rewrite. Edit, edit, edit. Then send off query letters to agents and publishing houses…maybe do that for six months and hope I got a bite somewhere. Then lo and behold, someone would see the genius in my idea and my series and want to sign me to a book deal. Cha-ching! Dream accomplished.
Only it didn’t go that way. See, I had decided that I wouldn’t rewrite or edit Darkhouse until AFTER I was done Red Fox. I wanted to put a lot of time and distance from the project so that when it came time to utterly demolish and remodel it, I wouldn’t be as attached. I also figured that by going on and writing the second book in the series, I would get to know the characters even better which in turn would help the original rewrite. And finally…I just really wanted to keep writing. Dex and Perry had places to go and people (or skinwalkers) to see and like hell I was going to hold them back. I was more than happy to go along for the ride.
The ride ended up taking me nearly a year. It was worth it. I had a lot of other things going on, eating up my time and distracting me. But when Red Fox was finished in November 2010, in a condo in Palm Springs, it meant tackling Darkhouse. And when that was done (at least the second rewrite was), it was time to send out query letters.
Oh. But wait. That’s not what happened. I didn’t end up sending any query letters at all because I had stumbled across an article about self-published wonderkid Amanda Hocking. It wasn’t the fact that she was making money that inspired me (though I found the figures to be staggering), it was the fact that despite her being a self-published author, she was finding an audience. An audience that wasn’t dismayed or put-off by the fact that she wasn’t published through Random House or Penguin Books.
There’s a stigma attached to self-publishing, and I can’t say it is unjustified. If anyone can publish anything, then where is the bar set? I can only imagine that actual well-written books are hard to find in the self-publishing world. Just take Rebecca Black and her god-awful “Friday.” That’s a prime example of the musical equivalent of self-publishing.
But through Hocking’s tireless marketing and self-promotional strategies, and the fact that she is a good writer and churns out good stories that people like to read, I thought, “Me too! I can do that.” Add in that, as a self-publisher, she was able to get her books out there ASAP (instead of the 1–2 year timeframe at traditional publishing houses), and I was sold.
And thus, I never queried any agents. Now, I know haters are gonna say, “Ah, well she only self-published because no one else would publish her” and I have to say NOT TRUE. I didn’t even try. I didn’t contact one publisher or one agent. But you know what? Say that wasn’t true and I did contact them and they did turn me down… so what? People get rejected all the time for different reasons. The list of famous musicians, authors, actors, etc who were all told at first that they sucked balls is astoundingly long. Did they quit? Did they throw in the towel? Fuck no. If you really believe passionately in something, don’t let a few naysayers stop you. Even if your name is Rebecca Black.