I’ve been at this writing business for a long time now — and if you count all the years I was writing without any success getting published even longer. I sold my first short story to Asimov’s in 2000, and it came out 2001. And that, of course, was far from the first work of fiction I wrote. I think I definitely put in my proverbial 1,000,000 word apprenticeship.
Despite the fact that a big part of my self-definition is that I’m a writer, some developments in the last couple of years were making the writing harder and harder for me, to the point where on occasion I was even considering whether I might not be happier just quitting. I had a fair amount of success with traditional publishing, with one novel and several dozen short stories published, but frustration was outweighing success.
That was when I decided to go it alone with my Arthurian novel, Yseult. And what a liberating journey it has been.
Those who read this blog on a more regular basis know that I like to complain about how much time you have to spend on marketing as an indie. For me, that is the big disadvantage. But even with the time spent marketing, I’m producing more now than before I started self-publishing. I think it’s because I’m more focused, I know there’s a potential audience out there that I can reach, I’m not dependent on agents or editors (who know that Arthurian fiction doesn’t sell, that a novel about Aphra Behn should be literary, not time travel, etc. etc.). I can take a shot on my passions, things that don’t fit into the market as the experts see it, I can reach readers who actually want more and don’t just reject me out of hand. To quote a couple of recent reviews I’ve gotten for Shadow of Stone and Looking Through Lace:
I have to give this novella 5 stars, although I’d like to rate it lower because I want a full-length book! Alas, it was clear when I bought it that it was a novella, even though I’d really like to read more about this world! (Did I make it clear I’d like to read more?!)
As a linguist myself, I was intrigued from the start of the synopsis! Nestvold’s storytelling and use of linguistic terms (and anecdotes)were not disappointing. 🙂 Her story was well-written and left me wanting to hear more tales about Dr. Toni Donato and her work!
… the twists and turns of the plot kept me wanting more. I was truly captivated with these stories, and am hoping she’ll continue the series following the lives of not only Yseult, Cador and their companions, but that of Kustennin and Riona as well.
What writer wouldn’t be inspired by feedback like that? It gives me so much more enthusiasm for the projects at hand, makes me impatient to finish them so that I can get on to the next one. Yes, I am once again behind in my own goals for myself. I had hoped to have a new version of Chameleon in a Mirror completed by the end of the month; instead, I am only 28,000 words into the novel, which means I still have two-thirds to go. But I’m pursuing the project with more joy than I have brought to my writing life in years. I’m brainstorming new ideas and making lists of novels and stories I need to write, and none of it feels like a chore. My dear fellow writers at the last Villa Diodati workshop tried to persuade me that I should market Chameleon in a Mirror to traditional publishers — I just said no. Never say never, but for the moment at least I am not going there anymore.
It’s been a good round of words. 🙂
A reminder: As part of the Summer Solstice Free Fantasy, I have FOUR books free today:
They still aren’t showing up free for me on Amazon.com (they are on .de and .uk), but I assume in the course of the day it will still happen. If you don’t have the books yet, please, be my guest!