I love a good Latin phrase, and the title of this entry is my favorite. It translates roughly to “I shall find a way or make one.” The words embody determination in the face of adversity; seeing something through, come Hell or high water; succeeding by any means available. It is the battle cry of the underdog, of someone with a tough road. So, what does that have to do with me and my debut novel? A lot, it turns out.
About six months ago, I finished writing Sword of the Feara, the first of what will become a series. After reading through it for the umpteenth time, I believed I had a damn good novel to sell. I eagerly plunged into the process of querying for an agent. To be “traditionally published” by a publishing company (large or small), one almost always needs the services of an agent. Some writers talk about their “dream agent,” or venerate them like they’re rock stars or something. In fact, they’re basically just headhunters for publishers. So, I started querying, hoping that my pitch letter and first ten pages would get picked.
As the polite rejections of my initial queries trickled in, I began to look deeper into traditional publishing vs. self-publishing. I learned that self-publishing would be a much faster route to seeing my book in print, and that it was really the only way I would get to design my own cover concept. I also learned that the traditional publishers still expected the authors to do most of the marketing… literally the one thing I was trying to get traditionally published to avoid. Other depressing facts I learned was that getting an agent was far from a guarantee of getting published, and agents could drop you after a while if they couldn’t sell your idea.
So, after about 30 or so queries sent, I decided traditional wasn’t the way for me. I worked too damned hard on my novel to put it into someone else’s hands, so instead of looking for a way I decided to make one and go the “indie” route. I keep all rights to my work. I decide when the book gets released. I design my cover concept (with a good deal of help from immensely talented artist Alex Albornoz). My novel will be published on my terms and on my timeline.
Some people still look down their noses at indie books, an outlook that I suspect the traditional publishing world quietly encourages. To be fair, I’ve read some very rough indie published works. But there are great indie books out there and they are gradually changing the public's perception of self-published work. I hope my novel comes to be known as one of them.
I got another polite rejection last week from a small publisher that doesn’t require an agent. This editor kindly praised my work, but it “just wasn’t what they were looking for to round out their 2025 lineup.” That’s okay. I didn’t want to wait that long anyway.
Next post: Cover Reveal!