My First Taste of Rejection From a Friend

The other day I was having lunch with a friend and I started talking enthusiastically about my writing.  Because I’m self-publishing and we’re boys, he teased me a little about the whole thing.  Then the conversation got a little more serious and he asked me if I thought I had something a “real” publishing house would be interested in.  My answer was “yes” and the obvious follow up was, “Then why aren’t you doing that?”  I made my case and he totally understood where I was coming from, but I had a feeling he still thought I was selling myself short by self-publishing.

I love the indie community.  There’s tons of awesome talent and support, plus it fits perfectly how I want to manage my career.  It’s so good, it’s easy to forget there’s a whole world out there still not in on it.  My friend is a good example of this.  Even though ebooks are getting more respect, self-publishing still isn’t recognized as the small business it is.  Change takes time and I don’t fault my friend or anyone else for their thinking.  It’s up to us to PROVE OURSELVES because there’s no publishing house to offer that recognized validation.

And before this turns into an indie vs. trad thing, let me STRESS that I think no matter how you want to be a successful author, it’s hard.  There are pros and cons to both sides.

Now getting back to my point . . .

Not many people go into business for themselves.  There’s an uncertainty and instability to it that scares people.  It’s a risk.  It’s much easier to work for someone’s established business.  When I go to work, I punch in, do my eight and I’m out.  Done.  Not the same with a small business.  So when you talk about your indie dreams, be prepared for a certain degree of rejection from some people.  This is the way the world works.  Actors get typecast all the time and only get offered different roles when the prove they can do them.

If you’ve decided to self-publish then you’ve made the important first step of telling yourself you’re good enough.  Now you just have to keep at it until you prove it to the rest of the world.

Info stuff- Follow my ROW80 progress every Wednesday and Sunday and be here Tuesdays and Thursdays for new posts on me, writing, superheroes, monsters, comics and any other geeky stuff on my mind.

And this Monday, March 7th, I’ll be guesting at L.M. Stull‘s blog.

33 comments on “My First Taste of Rejection From a Friend

  1. Great post, Andrew!

    You know going indie is not just for writers. Like you said starting your own business for yourself is a long hard road. I know when my hubby started his business it was scary. Especially since that was his main source of income. That was almost 10 years ago and he’s still working hard to keep it up and going, especially with the way the economy is right now. At the same time though you can step and and look and say, “Hey! I did that…and people like it!” There are those that looked at it and told him, “When are you going to get a real job?” Hello, it is a real job. Just because he doesn’t work for someone else doesn’t mean it’s not a real job. Just like being an indie writer. Just because you’re not published by a publishing house doesn’t mean you’re not a “real” writer. And it’s sad that it’s usually your friends and family that are the naysayers. I think it’s just because they never really had the courage to go out on their own and take the chance.

    I think it’s great that you are stepping out there and making it happen yourself. If and agent wants to pick you up and you want to do that then great! If you don’t want and agent and prefer to keep going at it yourself that’s great too. It’s your choice and that’s the good thing. I think either way of getting your books out there is great…indie or trad.

    Can’t wait to read your book when it’s finished. Hang in there and keep plugging away at it!

    • I’m so glad you commented because I wanted this post to be pro entrepreneur even though it has an obvious author slant.

      I can relate to your husband. It’s not always total joy to check emails and twitter and write blog posts, but when people respond (Just like your comment!) it is THE BEST feeling. Yes, I made this and people like it. Well said.

      I try not to get too bent by friends and family. I think they don’t always realize how what they’re saying comes out. The other day a friend was giving me a compliment about having a stable job while pursuing my “hobby”. I knew what she meant, but I still had to explain the HOURS of free time spent on the computer was not for hobby writing. I wasn’t mean about it, just wanted to clarify the difference.

      Thanks for the encouragement. You have no idea how much yours and everyone else’s feeds my drive to get the book done.

  2. A friend of mine said to me the other day: “Family though – don’t you think family are just weird sometimes? I swear, my family and non-writing friends, besides hubby and D, are the most UN-supportive people in my life. For serious. I could find a stranger on the street who would be more understanding and supportive and excited about my writing career and what I’m doing. So if your family don’t listen or understand, then maybe that’s normal? :\”

    It’s true. And a lot of my RL friends are a lot like family, so they generally seem swept up in this too. They care of course, but I think they see it as “another one of those ideas she’s got…”

    I figure it won’t be real until I have something to show for it. Not an idea, but the actual product that I can hand over to my family and let them see what I’ve managed to do. Then it will become something real for them.

    Great closing lines, BTW!

    • Yeah, that’s why I don’t blame family and friends for how they feel. Seeing is believing. I have a noticed a change in some people’s attitude when they hear how I spend my free time. We’ll get there.

      And thanks about the closing lines. Would you believe I had to scroll up to see what I said? I knew the gist, but I wondered what it was exactly that sparked such a nice compliment. Hehe.

  3. It’s really scary starting your own business. I’ve kept my day job, of course, because I have to have it. And, really, I like it a lot. But it excited me when, in January, I actually made more money writing books than from my full time job. You have to keep putting books out there, though. And it’s very seasonal. January is usually a great month, and so are the summer months. But once you get your name out there, things get better and better. If I had tried the traditional route, I may not have gotten an agent or publisher. And even if I did, only the big names get that much from the publisher. You still have to do your own marketing. And how long would it take them to get your book out there? Two years? I love maintaining control of every aspect of the business…from the writing to doing the taxes. I have a couple of other small (very small!) businesses, but writing is the only thing I’ve ever made decent money from. I’m glad you decided to go the indie route, too. Just think…I may never have met you otherwise!

    Like Anya (btw, she’s my biggest supporter), I can’t wait to read your book when it comes out. I’m convinced that it’s going to be awesome!

    (Did you notice I kept changing from “I” to “you” in my post? I hope I don’t write fiction like that! LOL)

    • Uh oh. Now if it’s not awesome, it’ll be a huge letdown. *Pressure*

      I’m with you, being in control is where it’s at. And how cool for you that your books outdid your day job!

  4. You know, Andrew, your post is timely, because just this morning I was thinking about how I present myself to other people who hear about my writing. I am not ashamed or embarrassed about being indie, but what I realized was–most readers don’t care. People outside of publishing don’t really care whether you’re indie or not.

    A mom at my kids’ school saw me editing “Ravenmarked” one day when we were all at a birthday party and the kids were off doing stuff. She asked about my book and such and I told her, and I mentioned that I was going it alone, and we talked about that a bit. And then just this week, I ran into another mom at the store, and she said, “So-and-so says you have a book coming out.” I told her it was out, and then volunteered the indie bit. She was surprised by that, but I realized–the other mom either didn’t mention that part, or it wasn’t important enough to this mom to remember it.

    So what I started thinking was… Why even mention it? I mean, isn’t the whole point to bring the indie/self-publishing movement to the same level of respect and recognition and validation as traditional? Well, not the whole point, but one of them… I’ve decided I’m not even going to mention it anymore unless someone asks me something very specific. It’s not hard to figure out if people look at my author bio, my website, or my Facebook page… But why mention it? Most people don’t care. Let them read my work and make a judgment.

    And yeah, most of my friends are pretty sick of hearing about my writing, too, so I totally get that. That’s another reason I love the indies. 🙂

    • I don’t broadcast I’m an indie either. If you know ME you’d know, but that’s it. I do think there’s a coolness factor to it. One day, (Which may be now based on that interview with Amanda, H.P. getting a 3 book deal and Kait landing an agent without querying.) indie pub will be the hip thing. The same way articles will brag about a movie making millions made by a guy for 10 cents in his basement using a camera with a cracked lens. *Steps up to podium* WE ARE THE FUTURE! Thank you.

      • “The same way articles will brag about a movie making millions made by a guy for 10 cents in his basement using a camera with a cracked lens.”

        That made me literally LOL. Maybe I should eat some lunch. Still giggling… I keep thinking, “they’ll say she wrote her first novel on a dying laptop with a crack in the power cord, and now she’s wealthier than J. K. Rowling…” 🙂

    • Oh this is a great point. Why even mention it at all? I think we shouldn’t. It’s true that the stigma only exists for those in the publishing industry. Regular readers won’t care when they’re presented with a professional book how it got in their hands, just that it was a darn good story, and they’d like more.

      (Also, are you working that other parents angle? lol! “Yeah, I wrote a book, and I’m working on another. Would you like to read it?” I’d try and carry around a “loaner” copy. At the very least it might get people talking even if it wasn’t their cup of tea. They might know someone who knows someone who’d like it.)

      • I don’t have it in print yet, N.M. I plan to do a POD run later this year, but I’m hoping to earn some money first. I’d like to have some copies on hand, especially since I have that way cool wax sealing stamp that my hubby gave me–I’d sign it and put a wax seal on it for folks!

        But maybe… I should take my cover art and print some small postcards with all the purchase info and links to my blog and everything on them. Hm… That could work. Sort of like business cards, right? I have business cards for my other freelance work–why not postcards for this stuff?

        Oh, now I have to check into this… Such a simple thing, and I’ve totally overlooked it. Thanks!

  5. This was a fantastic post. I have already encountered this rejection time and time again. For me, going Indie is all about control (yes, yes, I am a control freak). I recognize that it is going to be a long, hard journey, but one that I am absolutely loving. And this isn’t to say I think the traditional route is bad, just not for me.

    You are a great writer Andrew. We will all be here for you along the way.

    • Thank you. Thankyouthankyouthankyou. And I’ll be keeping a close eye on you too Miss L.M. Stull runner, reader, writer. That banana on your book cover is driving me NUTS!

      I think it pays to know both sides of the publishing coin because like you said, it really does come down to what you feel is right for you.

  6. I may not post much, but I want to add that the warm fuzzies and support that I receive (and just eavesdrop on) from other indie writers is serious fuel and therapy for me. If I relied on what family members and friends thought about my writing aspirations, I’d have thrown in the towel a long time ago. It is a good to remember that as indie writers, we are entrepreneurs, and every business startup has hoops to jump through to get established. The biggest hoop is believing in ourselves.

  7. You’re sending many good vibes into the air for other Indie authors. If more Indie authors write like you then I don’t doubt that the Indie industry will be buzzing in no time.

    • Wow, high praise ellieswords, thanks! After I post this reply, I will take a minute to blush. But before I go, your gravatar says you write a lot. Whatcha working on?

      • I’m working on an MG Fantasy called The Prophecy of Rob. It’s so fun. I love that genre and I love writing for that age. Thanks for asking!

  8. Great way to look at self-publishing. It really is all about running your own business. And you are absolutely correct that those who are self-published have to earn respect because of the so-called stigma attached, and, unfortunately, they have to do it on a one by one basis. Just because someone else makes it and does well in self-publishing doesn’t mean that the industry is suddenly going to validate all those self-published. So as with anyone trying to do it by themselves, I think the route is a somewhat more difficult one, however, the rewards if you succeed are so much better.

    • Thanks Priscilla! You know, I kind of feel like which ever way you go, you’re going it alone. In my case I’m working to reach readers directly. For someone going trad, they’re trying to reach agents who will in turn sell their book to a publisher. There’s great satisfaction to had achieving either of those goals. The important thing is to make sure know what you’re getting into before you go after it.

  9. Great post. I completely agree and glad to see others are looking at self pub the same way. The more people that realize how serious it is, the better it will become.

    • Yeah, it’s a shame it’s not viewed the same as indie music or film or anything independent really. Part of the problem might be that a home business isn’t looked upon as favorably as a physical one. Goes back to the seeing is believing type of thinking. If you open a restaurant, people can see your hard work, but if you say you’re writing a book, there’s no way to prove how serious you are until someone can hold it in their hands.

  10. Hi, Andrew! You commented on one of my comments a couple weeks ago on Amy’s blog, but this is the first time I’ve made it over here to visit. 🙂

    To me, the indie route is a smart business decision (and I know Amy would second that). I just had the opportunity to go the traditional route and turned it down. Maybe it will take some time to get the respect I’d have gained if I’d accepted that offer, but I’d rather be able to make a living at writing than have prestige. You’ll never get everyone to approve of you, anyway, so what’s the point of worrying about it?

    • How could I forget you! You’re writing about strained family connections. Glad you didn’t take the trad deal, I’d be waiting years for the book! But seriously, that must’ve been a tough decision.

      I like that you don’t mind waiting for your success. That was one of my concerns with the trad way. Whenever I landed a deal, my book would have months to sell before it might be pulled from the shelves. If I write a good book, I want available forever. Yeah, it might take longer than a few months for it to catch on, but at least it’s got a fighting chance.

  11. hi fellow ROW blogger – very interesting discussion you have generated here – I went Indi as a result of increasing age! and a poss. life threatening illness making think maybe it didnt make sense to hang around! It is about control I think esp. for me – I have blogged about it on http://bit.ly/exkOcJ – when I realised it was in effect what I always did in life – I haven’t regretted it – got my books out there (small returns as yet – but not out of pocket) made some great friends ( aren’t indes a generous bunch) – learnt such a lot and traveled in whole new areas of interest – exciting.

    Maybe excitment and interest have a lot to do with my increasing enthusiasm for the whole route – There is no boredom in this adventure

  12. Hi there, (hope you don’t take this the wrong way…)

    I’ve read all the posts on this site – everyone has a good idea of what you want to do.
    Yes, most of the time you need to do what would work out the best for yourself.
    In regards to Rejection, I’ve worked for 12 years at the Correctional Services in South Africa and I promise you that Not only did I work with People who didn’t see the Light of Day in anything outside the Comfort Zone…
    But then as well, Each time the Asked me when I’d be writing something about the Prison…
    Saying that there’s SO much info for that!
    Indeed I’ve got an idea for `n prison story, ONLY with My kind of spin on it!

    The point I want to bring across is this, like me – If you don’t believe in Yourself and the desired Route to go; then Nothing will help you stand fast!
    I’ve been writing since my last year of High School, only two years ago did I find someone to help with my book – willing like me to Put in the work.

    Thus, as long as you KNOW where you’re going and what would be wroth it for you, then there should be nothing there to stop you… maybe just Patience to wait for your chance!

    Good luck to all.

    P.S.: I’m still learning about my site and Internet, seeing I had to add that as well; just don’t be shocked at how much there still is to do… 😉

  13. Hi. Friends who make these comparisons are out of touch with the current trends in writing and publishing…trends that are set to continue. Publishers have reduced their author lists drastically and are promoting safe and favored names. Self-Publishers who are putting the work in are seeing their sales rival that of any mainline publication and even winning some of the prizes that would never before have gone to an Indy. Keep going…ride two horses if you have to.

    • Thanks! I’ll never stop until I reach success. I don’t blame friends and family for not knowing the trends, it’s not their world. Who knows? Opinions may change as ereaders become more popular, then they’ll brag I was on the cutting edge. lol.

  14. […] fellow indie author Andrew Mocete blogged about experiencing rejection from a friend, which sparked some good comments and […]

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