Thursday, June 2, 2016

Why I am Self Publishing

I try to be as transparent as possible with my readers, and honest to a fault (it's gotten me into trouble - remember the money post??) Publishing is a funny thing because there's so much we're not supposed to say. I feel like I'm always walking a fine line between honesty and taboo. But I'm not going to worry about that too much anymore.

I recently finished my 6th Young Adult book with HarperCollins/HarperTeen. The Great Pursuit will be out March 7, 2017. When asked if I had any new YA ideas to submit to them, my answer was no. Because, to be honest, writing for a publisher was very stressful for me. Nothing against my publisher - my editor was always very encouraging and understanding, and I will miss her like crazy. It wasn't about them, as much as it was about me. My personality. My fears and insecurities, my tendency to compare myself to other authors at my publishing house, and the way I tend to buckle under pressure and have to push myself. I felt a strong need to be on my own for a while.

Also, I wanted to write something sexier. Truth.

I love YA. I love writing for teens and working with young adults. But I have been craving writing something more mature and stretching my wings. A couple years ago I got an idea for an apocalyptic dystopian. I was writing YA at the time, obviously, and I was fascinated by this idea to show HOW the society falls into dystopia. The problem was, every time I imagined the story, it kept veering out of the YA realm. Everything I kept imagining was not going to be YA appropriate. So I shelved it.

Three months ago I dusted it off and got major butterflies in my belly when I realized I didn't have to stick to any rules. I could write whatever I wanted, not worrying about genre or age or anything. I could just write from the heart and not hold back. I knew right then, right from he start, that I would be self-publishing it. This book was never submitted to a publisher.

I've titled the book UNKNOWN, and what's fun is that it's hard to categorize. I know we (the book world and publishers) love to categorize our books and fit them into little boxes of explanation, don't we? But it's not that simple with UNKNOWN. You're going to see UNKNOWN on a lot of different Goodreads shelves: YA (it does have a YA feel for the first part), NA (when we get into the modern-day story, the characters are NA age), dystopian, apocalyptic, adventure, romance, science fiction (scifi), etc.

Why didn't I want to submit it to a publisher? Besides the pressure of contracts and deadlines, I was really excited about having full control over the process. I wanted to pick my own covers and titles for the series. I want to be able to publish each book in the series as soon as they're ready, instead of waiting a year or more. I want to be able to choose my own price and if/when it goes on sale. Those are my primary reasons. I still gave myself personal deadlines, but for the first time in years I felt like I was writing for fun.

I should mention this is not my first indie book. Three years ago I wrote a YA Irish fantasy called SEE ME, which my publisher passed on. After much thought and revision, I self-published it. Generally YA does not do as well as NA/adult stories on the self-publishing market, so I've been pleased by the response it's received. It was a great way to test the waters and prepare myself for this moment.

I know there is a stigma against independent publishing among literary professionals, but here's the thing: I'm done with the snobbery. I do not care. I don't feel as if my traditionally published books have exactly garnered a ton of respect from the professional world, so that is the least of my concerns. I care only about the paying readers.

I love all of my books, and I stand behind what I've created. Each process and experience has been full of life lessons and helped me grow as a person and writer. I can't say I'll never write YA again or never go back to traditional publishing. I know my whims enough to know nothing is set in stone. But for now I am going to write this 4-book series, and I'm going to enjoy it. I'm not expecting to hit bestseller lists and get rich. I'm just expecting to find joy in this thing I've always loved, and to be a less frazzled mom and wife for my family. I'm grateful self-publishing is an option. I'm grateful my readers will buy my books no matter who is publishing them. Thank you for letting me continue to live my dream. I truly hope you'll enjoy this story as much as I've enjoyed writing it. I'm happy to answer any questions you have.

UNKNOWN is coming August 16, 2016. UNREST, book 2, will be out Jan/Feb 2017. 

Cover Designer: Jennifer Munswami of J.M. Rising Horse Creations

Add UNKNOWN to your Goodreads TBR pile today

Preview UNKNOWN on Wattpad today!

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  1. You are absolutely right and you should always write and have fum doing it. Some self published book are very good and sometimes readers prefer them too because they are coming faster in their hand... And yes I am like that. If you need help with promotion or else my blog is yours and you know i'm the administrator of Wendy Higgins France. I am impatient to read Unknown and to see you next month in Edinburgh with a little surprise lol.

  2. Oh, I know exactly how it feels, Wendy - to be free, hold the so-called control panel and do WHATEVER you want :) I hope you will enjoy your self-publishing journey! xoxo

  3. Go, Wendy! Write from the heart and self pub and your fans will buy it and hopefully you'll get new fans, too!

  4. This is so fantastic, Wendy! Way to take charge of your writing, your creativity, and your enjoyment process! I wish you all the best! I am very excited to read UNKNOWN and I'm excited to learn it's a series that I won't have to wait ages for! :) - A reader who will always support your books!

  5. I'm excited about this! Thank you for sharing.

  6. I'm really excited for this new idea of yours and cannot wait till I can get it into my Kindle!
    As long as you keep writing, I'll keep buying and reading, self published or traditionally done!

  7. I am so excited for you Wendy!! I am stoked that you are writing somethin sexier bc my taste in reading has gone to more mature readings and I was hoping for something juicer from you!! I will ALWAYS love Kai and Anna, and I freaking love See Me, but I am ready for some more mature reads from you!! :-) You are amazing! I'll read anything by you if you need a beta reader! :-)

    1. Oh and how can I for get The Great Hunt?! I love the adventure in it! I can't wait for The Great Pursuit!

  8. I support you and all authors wanting more control over your work as it isn't fair that vital decisions are made for you. I look forward to your new work...don't forget to add audio ought

  9. Rest assured that I will read your new books. I like the different literary styles that exist, and that UNKNOWN will be a book that will not disappoint me by the simple fact that you wrote.
    Love your Latino readers :)

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  11. I'm experiencing such secondhand excitement for you! And I'm sure Unknown will be just as fantastic as all your other books:) Can't wait!

  12. Yeah! Publish from the heart. Go Wendy. Wooh!!

  13. I will follow wherever you go! You have been one of my favorite authors for years and being in my 30s and still enjoy reading young adult, I'm excited to come along for the ride for whatever you venture into! I'm so excited for you, your family and personal life matter and are important first and foremost. You being happy and enjoying writing is the most important part of your career and you have a fanbase that is supportive of you personally and professionally. I love that you interact personally with your fans! You're awesome!