Navigating between indie and traditional publishing

You’ve read many of my reasons for choosing indie publishing, but today I want to open the blog space for another author as she explains her reasons for choosing to publish independently. Please welcome Natacha Guyot!

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The first time I considered self-publishing was during my adolescence in the late 90’s. Things weren’t as easy back then. I didn’t even use the Internet yet but I read a couple of books about my self publishing options in France, especially as I still wrote in my mother tongue at this time. The idea to self-publish came from the genres I wrote in: Science Fiction and/or children literature. At this time, you had to go through an agency, but only one accepted these genres (especially Science Fiction). I wasn’t sure of what I wanted to do and eventually forego publishing my original fiction altogether.

Fast forward a few years and during my Ph.D., I look into getting academic articles published to establish myself as a scholar. This is no easy feat either, especially as my subjects aren’t so popular in France, because I study Science Fiction a lot, besides transmedia, gender studies and fan studies. What can I say? Science Fiction has been part of my world since I was a child and I don’t want to give up on what is my passion just to fit a mold, even when it eventually leads me to quit my Ph.D.

Academic papers helped me realize that writing because it is your calling is crucial. I knew when submitting papers that I wouldn’t earn money from this, but exposure and reputation, which are very important. It also made me discover how I love writing nonfiction, more than I would have ever expected, even with several research papers under my belt.

Submitting academic papers has taught me to deal with rejection. Most of my accepted papers weren’t at the first place I tried out. I also realized that just because a piece of writing was declined by someone didn’t mean that it was bad and that even when sometimes told I didn’t know my subject, it wasn’t always the reality. I am all for accepting suggestions and edits (as for the past years I have worked with proofreaders and editors) but I have learned to stick to my guns when I know they were true to what I believed, to the point of feeling strong enough to decline an offer of publication if I had to change my content on a drastic level. Believe me, it took me a few years to get there!

Publishing academic papers also allowed to eventually work as an editor on several volumes, both published traditionally and independently. I have also completely abandoned writing in French by now, and not simply because of how my topics are more interesting in English speaking countries and markets.

In 2014, I began considering writing original fiction again (for the first time since 2005) as well as the possibility of finally publishing my Science Fiction novella for children (which I kept in its French version). I read a lot about writing, publishing and book marketing, but I don’t feel ready to query an agent at this point. I might one day, but now isn’t the right time.

I still took my first dive into self publishing, made so much easier now thanks to contemporary tools! Against all odds, it was for a nonfiction book, A Galaxy of Possibilities: Representation and Storytelling in Star Wars (http://amzn.to/1D5r0n6). This collection of essays stemmed from individual papers receiving negative answers from various academic publications. I thought that I was sitting on a good collection and would directly self publish, especially as I have been building my blog and online presence (http://natachaguyot.org/contact/) for a couple of years.

I have now several projects (fiction and nonfiction) I project to self publish on Amazon (as I am sticking to this platform so far). Yet, I haven’t given up on traditional publishing. I have at least one nonfiction book I want to go the traditional publishing route. I am also pondering short story competitions. Overall, I find it very exciting that as authors we have several options, which aren’t mutually exclusive. None of them is easy, because hard work and perseverance will always be at the heart of our lives.

Natacha Guyot is a French researcher, writer and public speaker. She holds two Master’s degrees: Film and Media Studies (Paris III Sorbonne Nouvelle) and Digital Culture and Technology (King’s College London). Her main fields of interest are Science fiction, Gender Studies, Children Media and Fan Studies. She considers herself a feminist, a fangirl, a bookworm, a vidder, a gamer and a cat lover. You can find more about her projects at natachaguyot.org and follow her on Twitter @natachaguyot.

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