(If you’re not having fun, don’t do it)
by Joanne Lewis
I wrote my first novel when I was 24 years old and while a prosecutor working sex crimes. I didn’t have an agent. A small press that has since gone out of business published the novel. While I did not sell many books, I was invited to speak on panels and did book signings. I got an agent. I was on my way. Then my agent unexpectedly passed away.
Opportunities continued to arise, at least for a short time. Another small press wanted to publish a book of mine, however the novel was never released.
At this time, I’m 29 years old and feeling like my writing career would never go anywhere.
I didn’t write throughout my thirties. Not writing gnawed at my brain but I was productive in other ways. I left the State Attorney’s Office and opened my own practice. I fell in love. But still, I didn’t write. I knew, however, that I would write in my forties.
Four days shy of my 41st birthday, I experienced a life changing event. I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. After a radical hysterectomy and six months of chemotherapy, I emerged cancer free and ready to write. I was determined to be published again.
One day, as I was trying to write the perfect query letter, I told my sister I was tired of hoping an agent or editor considered me worthy. She said, if you’re not having fun, don’t do it.
I stopped. No more query letters. No more hoping to find an agent. No more praying for that editor to make me the next big thing. No more yearning to call a publishing house my home. I decided to self publish.
Here’s what I’ve learned about self publishing. It’s better than traditional publishing in many ways. We still do our own marketing but we also have control over our product. The final edits. The cover. How much we charge.
Do you know who looks down upon those of us who self publish? People in the publishing industry. Shouldn’t they be cheering us on?
Do you know who doesn’t care if we self publish? The readers. All they ask for is a good book.
What I don’t understand is how come self publishing, which is the same as being self employed, is given a bad rap? I started my own law practice and was congratulated for being an entrepreneur. I bought a house, flipped it and people were impressed. I have been self employed since 1997. Why is writing the only industry where being self employed is frowned upon?
When I am not working as a lawyer, I am writing and striving to follow my sister’s advice. If you’re not having fun, don’t do it.
I am 47 years old now. I have self published two novels. I do not sell a lot of books. I know that will change when I am in my fifties. Hopefully, this time the life changing event won’t be so drastic.
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www.joannelewiswrites.com and email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Her books are available as eBooks and as paperbacks on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and all over the web. Please ask your local bookstore to order her novels.
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