When I researched and wrote Riva’s Journey: a Memoir (KDP, 2021), I never thought that the places and people I wrote about would become the topic of today’s headlines. Reading the latest news about Kyiv and Tarnipol and Lviv brings back pictures of the places my grandmother left more than 100 years ago. The spellings may be a bit different now, but the places are the same.
Ukraine has had an extraordinarily difficult history, situated as it is between Poland and Russia, which have fought over this land for centuries. My heart goes out to the Ukrainian people, who are continuing their struggle to claim their own space in the world. My grandmother would have been proud of them.
As with most other aspects of life, there are both pros and cons to publishing your books independently. On the one hand, you have total control of your work, from start to finish. On the other hand, you have to take total control of your work, from start to finish. That means writing, editing, designing the cover, designing the content’s appearance, and–this is a big one–marketing. You can out-source some of these steps if you’re willing to pay for the services, but ultimately the trajectory of what happens to your book after you put it out there is totally up to you, the author.
I published my first novel in the Bella Sarver Mystery series, Painting Lessons, in in 2016. This was followed in subsequent years by Brush With Death, Paint a Murder, and Death on the Danube. Along the way, I’ve learned a lot about all aspects of writing and producing a novel, and I’ve been enjoying the process. It’s fun getting my sales reports from Amazon each quarter, and noting that my books have found readers around the world, including Japan. But it would be fun to see my books on the shelves of major booksellers around the country, too, and that won’t happen unless I go the traditional publisher route. So my plan for 2021 is to see if I can find an agent for the novel I’ve just completed to help me make that happen.
Researching agents is a tedious task and almost more work than actually writing the novel in the first place, but I’ve got my list ready and I’ll start querying everyone on it this coming week. We’ll see how it goes.
Happy New Year to all my readers. Stay safe and healthy. There’s help on the way.