How to navigate the waters between the processes of traditional publishing or self-publishing is a tricky path for authors to tread. Here, The Girl Who Would Be King author Kelly Thompson tells us about her experiences with both — and why she ultimately decided to self-publish.
Thompson joined io9 today to tell us about her book and its possible film future, and then answered a few more questions in the comments, including one about why self-publishing worked for her:
Hi Kelly, I have questions about your time with the agent and pitching to publishing houses. How'd you get the agent and how helpful were they through the process? Did you feel the seemingly exhausting rounds of notes and revisions and rejections were helpful in crafting the final version of the book or did you feel lead down the wrong path? Are you going to pursue working with a publisher for future projects?
You know, I got two offers of representation at the same time in 2009, one via a friend and one via traditional slush query submissions. My former agent was absolutely instrumental in turning the book into something publishable. I was very frustrated with the process at times and I think the time it took was excessive, but there is NO DOUBT that it is a better book because of those revisions.
The submission to publishers process was pretty sad because we mostly had outright rejections of the book because it was too violent - and in fairness it IS very violent, but I didn't want to pull punches with the violence - if it was going to be violet (as it needed to be) then I didn't want to sugar coat what that violence meant. And on the other side we had people who LOVED the book but knew (or feared) they couldn't get it past their editorial board. It was a tough situation.
I have a second book out now that I also self-published STORYKILLER and we briefly tried the traditional publishing process, but it takes so long that I found after finding success doing it my own way I was less patient with the endless waiting.
However, I will absolutely be trying again with traditional publishers. The only way to know how I really feel about traditional publishing is to try it out. I think self-publishing has become a really relevant and wonderful avenue for authors, but that doesn't mean traditional publishing doesn't have something to offer. I look forward to trying new things. :)
Illustration: Meredith McClaren