I just finished the first draft of my third book in the G&B Detective Agency series, G&B Detective Agency: Where the Hell is Angie. As it sits now, it is 79,143 words. The Case of the Missing Tucker was 77,462 words, which turned out to be 273 pages in the 5”x8” format when it was finally published. As far as books go, that’s a fairly decent-sized book, looking at it on the book shelf. I was kind of worried about that before I got it published; I didn’t want a skinny book. The Case of the Lonelyfarmer.com is 87,685 pages, and is sitting at the publisher right now waiting for a cover. That puts it at 302 pages, give or take a few, depending which font and size I decide on. As long as I’m throwing figures around, the total for the three books is 244,490 words at this point. That’s a lot of writing.
Back when I was going to college and I first had this vague idea that I might write a novel someday, there were two ways to publish. The first, most desirable, and for a serious writer the only option, was to get picked up by a publishing house. And to do that, it was almost imperative that you had a literary agent to peddle it around. The other way was called a vanity press. For a price, the vanity press would do a print run for the author. Then the author took their book and went around trying to sell it. It was hard back then to be recognized as a serious author if one went the vanity press route. But frankly, with the knowledge and experience that I have now, they were pioneers, those early independent authors.
Being from the old school, ISU class of ‘81, when I finished my first book, I went in search of an agent. It didn’t go as well as I had hoped, meaning literary agents weren’t lining up to represent me, something that I never expected to happen, but didn’t know what else to do. I read about people who had spent years and years sending their manuscripts to hundreds of agents before they were finally picked up by one. And then another couple of years before their book was sold to a publishing house, and then another couple of years before it ended up between two covers. That’s a lot of years. At my age, and especially with one book after another coming into my head, I don’t really have the time or the patience to deal with that. I gave it a year and I submitted the Tucker manuscript to sixteen agents, then decided to try the new way: self publishing on Amazon.
While in the olden days self publishing was something that an author was hesitant to admit to, I was pleasantly surprised to find out that isn’t true anymore. In fact, self-published authors are showing up on the New York Times best seller list quite often these days. The new name for people who self-publish is “indie authors,” for independent authors. They are authors who don’t have the time nor patience to wait for some benevolent literary agent to bestow their approval on the author’s work and take it from there. Indie authors want to keep ownership of their art. And not a few of those literary agents nowadays are prowling through the works of the indie authors and asking them if those authors might bestow their literary works on the literary agent. A role reversal is in the making. Who would of thunk it? So I decided that, instead of waiting for an agent, I would join the ranks and just publish myself. The hell with fame and fortune–there is no guarantee that would happen anyway, even if I did have an agent. I just wanted to get my stories in book form so that people could read them before the next one popped out of my head.
And that is where I am right now. Three books down: one published, one at the publisher, and a third waiting in line. I have no idea how many more are in me, but right now I’m satisfied to have actually written and published real books. I have done my part. At this point, it’s up to fame and fortune to find me, and not the other way around.