A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Self-Publishing

Okay, so I wrote this book, see? It’s my first complete full-length novel, and it’s super long (245,000 words!!) and told in non-chronological order, so I was concerned that publishers would see it as too much of a risk. Either that or they would try to shorten or reorganize it, and then I’d jump up on their shiny hardwood desks and shake them by their designer collars while screaming “GET YOUR BLOODY MURDERING HANDS OFF MY PRECIOUS WORDBABY!” in their faces.

That would not be a good thing.

So the original plan was to self-publish. And why not? I’ve been a full-time editor for almost seven years now, and have run Quills and Queries Editing for more than four years. I know lots of authors who have self-published with varying degrees of success, so I was not going to be entirely on my own, and I already knew where to find an editor who would be a good match for the job. It was just a matter of getting it all done and not setting unrealistic goals and timelines, which is especially tricky with a book as long as Black Wolf.

I started talking to freelance editor Arlene Prunkl long before I had the first draft done, and while my beta readers were hard at work, she reviewed a few particularly difficult sections of my writing and offer some advice to help me tidy up my own work during my next rewrite. Good editing isn’t cheap, and cheap editing generally isn’t worth paying for, so I wanted to reduce the costs as much as possible. The estimate for copy editing Black Wolf was about $5,800 before tax.


Well, three people reviewed my complete novel, two people reviewed the combat scenes, and three others (including my editor) have commented on miscellaneous selections. All of them gave me enthusiastic praise and solid critiques that would help me improve the book in various ways. I was ecstatic, albeit a little slow to get started on the rewrite.

Then one day not too long ago, I posted a comment on my private Facebook page about how I had renewed my Royal Ontario Museum subscription for two years so that if I went broke publishing the novel this year, I would still have something to do next year. It was a joke, but Greg Ioannou, founder of hybrid publisher Iguana Books and co-founder of Publaunch, saw that post and contacted me. I had already talked to him about going through Publaunch to get help with crowdfunding, and he offered to take a look at the manuscript to see if there were other ways to keep costs down. I’m not sure how much he read, but he seemed quite impressed and said I could probably attract a traditional publisher.

He also managed to convince me to split beaster book into three volumes. Many others have tried to do this and failed, but Greg managed to climb over their bodies to summit Mt. Stubbornness. Kudos to you, Greg.

Currently, I’m waiting for one of Greg’s contacts to plow through the manuscript, but it looks like I’m going to get myself an agent and a publisher, or at least make a valiant effort to do so. This is exciting and terrifying and I’m feeling all the things all at once.

Unfortunately, this also means that the publication of the book is on hold. I was expecting to have it ready for the end of this year, but I can’t really say now when it will be out. For now, though, I’m revising Black Wolf and working out the details for my second book, Fires of Jõtunheim,  and simply hoping for the best.

One thought on “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Self-Publishing

  1. This is a wonderful development! All possible appendages crossed! In your current position, I’d be finding it difficult to concentrate on anything. Or, you know, breathe.

    Liked by 1 person

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