After an abusive relationship, it can be a confusing time, faced with so many new options. It’s brave, new territory, being free. A relationship, even an abusive one, defines the parameters of a person’s existence. You don’t have to figure out where you stand or where to go. It’s all set up. When those parameters no longer exist, it can be frightening to know which way to turn.
Add to that the fact that the abusive relationship was with your publisher, and not only are you left abandoned and dismayed, but you also have to figure out how to continue to publish your work, to boot.
All too often, someone getting out of one abusive relationship falls into another one, either out of habit or fear of being left alone, directionless. Sometimes even with the same person, because going it alone is so scary.
Well, don’t be frightened. It’s not as scary as it seems.
When it comes to publishing, even the most inexperienced author has options. The possibilities are literally endless.
You can send out queries and pursue an agent to get into traditional publishing. It’s a real thing, and a lot of people would love to jump right into it. But the fact of the matter is that agents get so many queries a day that you’ve virtually got a better chance of winning the next billion dollar lottery. It could happen, and I encourage every single writer out there to keep trying.
But I don’t encourage writers to sit on their hands and hold their breath waiting for that magic phone call do come. There are a lot of things a writer can do in the meantime. There’s a lot you can do to increase your reputation within the industry all on your own in the meantime.
You can send your work to contests. There are a million scam contests out there that just want you to send them money, sure. But there are also quite a few legitimate ones. The trick is finding out which is which.
But how do you know which agents to contact? How do you know which contests to enter? The world is such a big place, and there are so many predators out there! What’s legit? What’s not? WHAT DO I DO??
The magic words of the day are: The Writer’s Market. It’s a book that comes out every year, jam-packed full of invaluable information. It’s an expensive book, but it’s also available for use at your local library’s reference section. You can’t check out the current version, but you can sit and scribble down notes. There are chapters on publishers, agents and contests. There are insights into the industry and helpful tips on everything from writing a query letter to just about anything there is to know about the world of writing and publishing. I can’t recommend it highly enough.
TWM is also available online.
Also available to aspiring writers is the option of self-publishing. Through sources like Createspace, smashwords and Ingram Spark, emerging authors can publish their own work directly to market at either no cost, or low costs. It’s a learning curve, and a great way to dip your toes in the pond to test the water. There’s no risk, since there’s little (if any) financial investment, and you have total control over every aspect of your work.
I know, the notion of self-publishing can seem HUGE. Intimidating. Frightening. Even terrifying. But it’s not. It’s easy. It’s literally as simple as 1) creating a free account at Createspace, 2) uploading your book, and 3) hitting the “publish” button. That’s it. They talk you through every step of the process.
So if you’ve never approached the idea of publishing, there you have it.
If you’ve had a turbulent relationship with an abusive scam publisher, have faith. There’s light at the end of the tunnel. You can take control of your own career and make it your own, independent of anything that’s happened before. Your future is your own. Make the most of it. You got this.
You are, as ever, welcome.