Hi, everyone! This is young adult author, Mary Gray, and I’m here to tell you why I’ve chosen to go the indie author route. And when I say indie, I mean an independent author—one who hires cover artists and editors instead of doing what I’ve done in the past—that is, working with a literary agent to sign with an established publisher.
In this video, I’ll:
-Share a little about my publishing past
-Talk about the biggest myth regarding traditional publishing that I discovered this past year
-How the needful push for diversity has affected me
-Share a few teasers regarding what I’m doing next
My Past Experience in Publishing
So, many of you know me as the author of THE DOLLHOUSE ASYLUM, my one and only book. This book was sold by my first literary agent and released in 2013 by SHP. In short, my work with SH was miraculous. I gained invaluable skills while working with an editor, and had the opportunity of signing ARCs at BEA in NY. Unfortunately, a few book bloggers decided to tear apart my book, saying things like it was the worst book they’ve ever read. I’ve had lots of positive comments too but those negative comments which hovered around my protagonist got under my skin. I left social media completely, deciding to focus on my next book.
After a few false starts, I discovered my next passion. Instead of telling a story about a girl who’s in love with the villain and trying to escape an abusive relationship, I sort of went gaga over historical fiction, more specifically the French Revolution bc I’ve always had this sick fascination with the guillotine.
Took years to research this. More years cranking out and editing drafts. Then, in 2016, I signed with a wonderful new literary agent (old one quit shortly after signing TDA). Super excited abt agent—passionate about my book, industry savvy, strong work ethic, communicative. Edited together, subbed my book for a year, and received helpful feedback for more revisions, including more subplots which I worked hard on.
In December, though, my new awesome literary agent decided to quit. I couldn’t blame her. Learning the cold hard truth about the publishing industry.
Biggest myth in traditional publishing
Just because you have an agent doesn’t mean you’ll even hear back from editors of publishing houses. Many of our submissions went unacknowledged. My agent worked for a Christian literary agency, and many editors expressly say they DON’T want Christian messages.
Which leads me to my next section:
How the needful push for diversity has affected me
So there’s this website, manuscript wishlish, in which agents and editors list what they’re looking for in books. If you search terms like historical, it becomes whittled down. If you add Christian or maybe conservative messages, you get like two. Most editors of NY publishing houses are looking for stories from underrepresented voices. Which we need! But as a female Caucasian, raised in a Christian faith, I have different stories.
I’ve talked a lot with other writers in similar circumstances. And talked with independently published authors who are very happy. Thing is, I wrote Our Sweet Guillotine with the intention of landing a legitimate deal with a large publishing house. It didn’t happen. So I could alter what I was doing or quit.
One friend suggested I read Joanna Penn’s podcasts, which have been invaluable for feeling empowered for this possible new path. I’ve hatched a business plan with a dear friend, but more on that later on.
What I’m doing next
-I’ve hired a line/copy editor
-Hired a cover artist
-Learning a formatting software
-Purchased ISBNs as well as a few other things I’ll soon tell you about!
Ever since I decided to take this plunge, I’ve felt so empowered. I don’t fear the ding of my email, I don’t have to wait for someone else to say I’m good enough, and I have so many ideas for bringing my type of fiction to the world—conservative YA with an edge.
Thank you for watching. Feel free to subscribe to my videos which will be weekly now, and click to sign up for my newsletter and join my street team to be the first ones to learn about my next books.