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Resolutions 2012

This year, I am changing my ways.

Instead of focusing on those areas of my mind or body or personality, which, by my own measure, aren’t making the grade, I am instead choosing to focus on relationships.

Let me explain.

At the beginning of 2011, I made the decision to self-publish my novels and short stories. It was January. The media hadn’t yet begun saturating their pages with articles about the revolution—for it truly is a revolution—taking place in homes and businesses all across America, thanks to a little thing called the e-book.

Did I query any literary agents before deciding to self-publish? Yes, I did. Eleven of them, to be exact. I received personal notes of rejection from three (“too long” they said, which I blog about in this post), form rejections from two, and silence from the remaining six agents.

There were many things wrong with the initial presentation of my work, I know that now. My summary wasn’t tight enough, my original opening chapter hadn’t yet been cut from the manuscript (I ended up cutting the first four chapters, by the way) and, frankly, I didn’t know enough about this business to function effectively in this marketplace.

Ultimately, my decision to self-publish was accidental. It turned out that the more deeply I researched the traditional book publishing world, the more certain I became that self-publishing was the best, if not the only, way to evolve from writer to author.

Beginning on New Year’s Day 2011, and continuing for a period of thirty days, I read everything I could find online regarding the subject of publishing a novel. One day, I came across the blog of man named J. A. Konrath. It was as though, suddenly, the first bright star had appeared in my night sky. It was affirmation, I felt, of my decision to move firmly, confidently forward into this new and great unknown. 

I was on the right track.

This evening, I went into J. A. Konrath’s blog archives and re-read the first post that I had stumbled across one year ago. ‘Response to Richard Curtis’ was the name and, in it, Konrath states:

            “Change is scary. When it first starts to occur, people are afraid of it,
            and come up with excuses for it. Of course the industry wants to view
            me as an anomaly. If I’m not an anomaly, and others can do what I’m
            doing, the industry is in big trouble.

Personally, I have received resistance, in varying forms, from people in my life. One friend was condescending, persistently, for about six months. She is no longer a person with whom I prioritize spending my precious, and limited, free time.

But she was the exception.

Most people I know, particularly those in my own family, looked at me at the beginning of all this, and asked, “But why would you self-publish? That’s not how it’s done.”

And, a year ago, that statement was true.

Fast-forward to the sound of the wild applause that, last night, rang in 2012. This is the year in which I will self-publish my first novel, Ava. I didn’t expect to wait this long, to delay until the calendar had changed years, but it was the right decision.

I needed to learn the core skills—primarily in the technology sector—that I most emphatically did not possess at this time last year. I needed to learn the art of communicating in the “entirely online world” in which e-books exist.

But the best part? It has been this: Over the past twelve months, I’ve met intelligent, interesting, confident, fearless individuals. Many are indie or self-published authors. Some are graphic designers or editors or bloggers. Others are SEO specialists or marketers or formatters.

All are readers.

Learning about their individual journeys—the differences, the similarities, the inspirations—fascinates me, fuels me. The willingness of these writers to be among the first to travel down this revolutionary road fills me with great confidence about the stability of the foundation of this new industry.

These are the relationships that form the center of my New Year’s Resolution: To shine a light on each and every individual I meet who is getting out there, taking the risks, facing the challenges, holding on tightly to self-confidence, and making a difference in the indie and self-publishing industries.

In 2012, I’m looking forward to interacting with you, fellow members of the self-publishing community, on the pages of your blogs and websites, on your Facebook and G+ accounts, and inside the stream of your Twitterverse.

Until then, I wish you love, opportunity, great books, and success in the New Year.

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  1. What an amazing post, Ashley! It rings true in so many ways and echoes my own experience in the revolution of self-publishing. I have no doubt that 2012 will be a fantastic year for you as an author!

  2. An inspired, and inspring, post. Viva la revolucion!

  3. I have nothing to add but applause.

  4. Thank you, Ann! Your website is fantastic, btw. I enjoyed the way you set out your excerpts. Letting readers comment by chapter is smart. Hmm, what’s that they say about imitation? It’s the first form of flattery? http://mayneattraction.com/

    Becoming a self-published author is a long, amazing, and at times, surreal experience, yes?

  5. Thank you, Deborah! I value your encouragement, and am looking forward to seeing you again soon on the front lines of the ‘la revolucion’ of books!

    It’s amazing.

  6. Your comments always make me smile, Carl! Thank you for being such a vocal supporter of this little corner of the blogosphere. 🙂

  7. Your experience seems to be a condensed version of my own. You are obviously a faster learner than me. I persisted through many years of rejection before self publishing. I wrote a bit about it on my wiki.
    http://stephenfaulds.wikispaces.com/
    Love this blog.

  8. Thank you for giving us this little corner of the blogosphere.

  9. I loved this post. It truly takes time and dedication in order to invesigate the steps needed to see your dream fulfilled. This time last year had me stumballing around trying to find my writing voice. It took work to get where I am today. Still not published, but I’m close. One thing I have become is a more confident writer who is ready to leave my mark. I wish you much success in 2012! I know we’ll continue to connect in cyberspace!

  10. Hi Ashley. This post is inspiring. I wish you the best of luck with your novel, Ava. You have been a great help to so many people trying to navigate the tricky world of publishing, myself included. Happy New Year!

  11. Good luck with your book – Konrath’s straight-forward manner is really great for writers.

  12. your post is interesting reading for someone about to embark on the indie road. Best of luck with the book. “Knowledge is power”. Francis Bacon. (I think he was onto something)

  13. Great post, Ashley. I came to the same conclusion as you in the summer of 2011. Thanks to the writers’ group I attended, I was confident that the presentation of my book was the kind of thing that agents were looking for. But I didn’t wait for the rejections (they came later). I became disillusioned with the process, the lottery involved, and decided to self-publish. The book went live in October 2011 and it has been a huge learning experience since then. But I have enjoyed every minute of it and I’m now confident I have a book that people like to read (and a sequel on the way). So, good luck with your book. I look forward to seeing it online. I’ll buy a copy.

  14. This was an excellent post, and probably sums up the experience for a lot of us when we first dip our toes (or jump in with both feet) into the self-publishing pool. I’m just past my first month, and I’m excited to see what the future holds for this new format and for all of us lucky enough to have tried it out for ourselves.

    Best of luck to you, and to all of us.

  15. Great post, Ashley. I came to the same conclusion as you in the summer of 2011. Thanks to the writers’ group I attended, I was confident that the presentation of my book was the kind of thing that agents were looking for. But I didn’t wait for the rejections (they came later). I became disillusioned with the process, the lottery involved, and decided to self-publish. The book went live in October 2011 and it has been a huge learning experience since then. But I have enjoyed every minute of it and I’m now confident I have a book that people like to read (and a sequel on the way). So, good luck with your book. I look forward to seeing it online. I’ll buy a copy.

  16. Hi Ashley. I stumbled on this post while on Twitter and would like to congratulate you on what you’ve written. It’s an account which I’m sure will inspire many when read. Following your instincts and forging on despite what people and so-called friends say or think is really commendable. And you’re right – it is a revolution! Well done you! J.D.

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