14 November 2021

Plans Change When You're Broke

Photo by Jp Valery on Unsplash
I wrote all the way back in March of this year about pursuing traditional publishing because self-publishing was likely too expensive for me to do. My exact words:

[...] as much as I want to self-publish, I literally cannot afford to invest in it.

Then by July I started having second thoughts about going traditional due to some industry changes I'd heard about, and by August I did my about-face and went ahead and decided to fully embrace self-publishing. 

It's November and I've already blown through all of my funds, and I'm nowhere near close to being finished with the publishing process. Of the nine-jillion steps in the publishing process you have to take, I haven't even made it to the copy editing stage yet--I'm still revising based on beta reading feedback. Plus, as I continue to do research, I've realized that there are so many more things that I didn't budget for but need to (like audiobooks, which are now purchased more than ebooks).  The more information I get, the more I have to do, and the more I have to save for, the more overwhelmed I feel. 

But let's get back to the main idea -- I'm broke. I blitzed through my $1400 economic stimulus on self-publishing, and the rest of the money I'm saving is for moving back to the USA in August. And, thanks to my dinky little kei car, I had to tap into those savings already to fund car repairs. 

There is no guarantee of income when I come back to the USA, so the money I'm making in Japan is considered the only money I've got. It's going to take me a while to build my savings back up, and that means I can't spend more money on the self-publishing process if I want to have any sort of safety net in place in case I can't find a job when I get back to the states. 

I don't expect to be able to pay for anything for at least a year or two. So...

The gears started turning in my head. If it's going to take me such a long time to self-publish due to lack of funds, in the meantime, why don't I just try to go traditional anyway? It's going to take me forever to save money again, and during that time I could be finishing revisions and querying agents. At worst, everybody says no, and I'll still have that backup plan to self-pub with some steps of the laundry list already completed, so I can just pick up where I left off.

At best, I'll have representation and a book deal where all of the stuff I have to worry about in terms of the publishing process will pretty much be taken care of by the publisher. It's giving up the control I want, but honestly, after seeing how much I have to actually do to be successfully published, I think it will be a relief. 

So...that's the plan for now. In the meantime, the most immediate action I'm taking is working through revisions, which is slow-going, and when I'm not doing that, I'm making a spreadsheet of potential agents. 

Ever onward!

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