On the off chance that you’ve already written a novel and edited it and subsequently brag about it to all of your friends, sometimes it can be hard to take the next step. You might invest a few dollars and get a decent self-publishing job… but is that really where your novel belongs?
For some of us, the answer is yes. Self-publishing is an excellent creative experience and offers a lot of control over your book that you would not have done otherwise. But it’s important to look at your motives for self-publishing. You might be cheating yourself of your own destiny as a published author!
Don’t self-publish out of fear or shame. You’ll never go anywhere that way. How can you expect to win over readers when your only reason for even self-publishing your book was because you were afraid of rejection? Everyone gets rejected. It’s normal. It’s not the end of the world. It’s true that it hurts a lot, that each rejection message feels like you just rammed your head on a brick wall while running at full speed. But acceptance feels like winning the lottery (even though it’s much more likely than that). My point is this: you’ll never know unless you try.
Make a list of publishers and literary agents who are currently active in your genre and looking to discover someone new. Review the requirements, and polish your opening pages until they shine. Then submit, and keep submitting as much as you can, everywhere you can. You can’t get discovered if you don’t put yourself out there! And don’t let the long waits bother you. Be productive with the time you have. Start a new project. Research more publishers and more literary agents.
You might not feel that you’re doing a whole lot by submitting, but don’t let passiveness kill your novel. Don’t be another statistic, another person who “could have been” an author. Give it a try, and spread your wings. See where your own flight leads you.