Reassessment Time


If you’re over the age of two, I’m guessing the essential process of reassessment rolls around periodically. I admit to never enjoying this turn at the wheel of life. Think about it. The root word here is assessment . . . not such a terrific start. Add the revisiting prefix and you see what I mean . . . like it wasn’t bad enough the first time around. Just saying . . . .

This blog started out with the purpose of sharing my self-publishing journey. Was the intention to inspire and inform? I’m not sure. I’m a bit too ego conscious to make such claims. I wanted to write the kind of blog that I might want to read.

With that in mind, I’ve had a few struggles since Disappearing in Plain Sight was published, and these relate to the self-publishing route I chose. I’m not going to go on a rant. I will provide two enlightening links to material that I wished I had read before skipping, gleefully down my chosen path.

A discussion forum related to the various claims made by Friesen Press

Alliance of Independent Authors – and informative post on Agent Assisted Publishing

Suffice to say that I am now saddled with just about every negative part of the assisted publishing process they describe. I’ll let you, my astute readers, connect the dots.

One should always strive for balance when in the process of reassessment. My book is available through a number of distributor channels, the trade paperback and hardcover books are of good quality for the price point, the book is selling, the marketing guy I worked with was very friendly (well, to be honest, almost everything he gave me I could have gotten from the internet, but still – friendly does count for something), I may have spent a lot of money in my opinion of things, but it was only a fraction of how bad it could have been.

Have you ever had the experience where your priorities for choosing something were the entirely inappropriate things to be focusing on? (i.e. I grew up in the era of Trudeau mania and so I’m all gaga for Justin Trudeau, or Christy Clarke is a woman, and we should have more women as Premiers in Canada, so I’ll vote for her. Hmmm . . . maybe not the best logic.)

Setting out on the self-publishing journey, I was nervous. I wanted someone to hold my hand and lead me through the process. As it turns out, there was a high price tag for that service (upfront and ongoing) and the hand holding didn’t turn out to be all it was cracked up to be – like many such promises in life.

Here’s the crux of my reassessment: I didn’t know what I didn’t know, so I didn’t know what questions to ask when I went out Googling for information. I’m not sure what the answer to that dilemma might be. I’m sure blog posts like the one I’m writing now were out there.  

One kind person told me that every self-published writer has gone down a road or two they wished they hadn’t. It’s comforting to be in such good company.

Writing update: I wrote close to 5000 words yesterday and the first draft of The Light Never Lies is almost ready to be printed out in hard copy. When that happens, I’ll let it rest a bit before plunging through the pages on the lookout for glaring inconsistencies, parts that stretch the believability quotient, redundancies, and the vital emergence of themes that I didn’t even realize were there. I find it hard to believe that I can write something and actually miss what it is I’m writing – but it happens.

Epilogue – I am actively seeking a new road for the publication of The Light Never Lies. Insights welcome.


24 comments on “Reassessment Time

  1. This is a great post, Francis. Candid and informative. I feel for you. Are you thinking of taking the ‘old-fashioned’ route…querying agents?

    P.S. This really hit home; “I find it hard to believe that I can write something and actually miss what it is I’m writing – but it happens.”

    I do it all the time!!

  2. Laura Hogan says:

    But you wrote a book and got your work out there – despite the challenges of self-publishing, remember how good that feels and that you accomplished your main goal of getting your book published. Good luck with publishing your new book, whichever route you decide to go down.

    • Thanks, Laura. The book is out there (hint, hint – LOL) and I am very proud of that. It does feel good. Though I say in the post that I am not a fan of reassessment, how else do we learn? You get out there and try something, assess the outcomes, tweak here and there, and go for it again. Here’s me tweaking and going.

      • Laura Hogan says:

        Lol, it’s been added to the ever-growing long list of books I need to read after I’ve finished writing mine!

  3. Gwen says:

    I attended a presentation at Writer’s Institute (conference) all about agent facilitated self publishing. It was fascinating, because I had no idea such things existed. It seems this industry is constantly changing. I can’t offer you any insight, because I’m not there yet. But I’ll look forward to reading your posts as you work it out.

    • I certainly don’t know enough yet to say it would always be the wrong choice. Buyer beware and proceed with caution. But at the end of the day, I think a self-published author would want to own their own ISBN numbers and their e-book files and be able to control pricing and access their own sales data when they wanted to. These are things I want next time around.

  4. jaschmehl says:

    Just curious – did you send your manuscript to any traditional agents before deciding to self-publish?

    • I didn’t because I had decided from the start I wanted to self-publish. Mostly the time factor – I didn’t feel like I wanted to invest a few years in being rejected and then end up self-publishing anyway (which seems to be the story over and over for first time, undiscovered authors trying to get a book published). Seemed like a good idea to go straight to self-publishing. Next time around I will be putting more of the “self” part to work.

  5. Thank you so much for sharing this, Francis. I would venture to guess there are other people in your shoes who are reassessing, but aren’t brave enough to admit it. I’ll look forward to your future posts.

  6. Christi says:

    It’s hard to know what the right questions are when you’re first starting out. When I was teaching as part of an inner city teaching program a number of years ago, one of my colleagues had gone to an Q&A with college seniors. Afterwards, he told a struggling group of us in the program, “I couldn’t believe the questions they were asking. They have no idea what they’re getting into.”

    Thanks for sharing these links and your experiences! They’re so helpful to read!

  7. Maggie Flostrand says:

    Hello Fran, Your blog reached me in Paris!! You certainly confirm that life is an ongoing process – good luck with the next novel I am waiting for it. Not sure about one of your election choices though. Have to tell you that Lyle and I are numbers 1 and 2 in the north island voting register as we already voted before we left home. We are enjoying family time with Steven, Janne and their totally adorable baby, Mia, who is now 4 months and has won our hearts completely.
    Take care – Maggie.

    • I’m not surprised the baby won you guys over – they sure have a way about them, these grandchildren. I love to think of you in Paris reading my blog! Looking forward to a get together when you guys return.

  8. Hi Francis,
    Sorry to hear you discovered the bad news after feeling the initial excitement in getting your book published. The good news is that you are doing the right things in connecting with other writers and readers through your blog (I’m a new follower, aren’t I?). The good news is that you have new material in a hot market in self-publishing (short story? with a 5,000 word ms waiting on the shelf?). The good news is you have gained some good reviews on your novel that will help sell your next when you publish it. The bad news is you won’t get much earnings of that first novel. So move on from it and take what you learned into making your next even better. Also, if you have the option of uploading your Disappearing in Plain Sight under your own name as an ebook , go ahead and do it. The dip and rankings will be nothing and likely short-lived compare to what you will gain. You will shoot back up if you continue to blog and network and link to the new ebook. (I gathered that bad advice from reading through one of the links you had posted). All you have to gain from publishing yourself through KDP is your OWN earnings. Mine go up and down weekly depending on what I am doing for marketing.

    So keep writing an keep posting!

    Best wishes from another self-published author (who also has been traditionally published as well)

    Slow Stir

    • Thanks so much for the encouraging words, Shaunda. Definitely good news to capitalize and build on and bad news to learn from for the next time around. I have now donned a third (or is that fourth or fifth – lost count) hat – am writing, am marketing and promoting, am researching for next time around. Now if I can just figure out how to add a few hours to each day, I will really be singing.

  9. abigler42 says:

    You wrote close to 5,000 words in a day? Take a moment and give yourself a treat! I am so inspired by your writing ethic. I haven’t published yet so I can’t you any advice but I appreciate all the insight you have here on your blog.

    • Thanks! On the 5000 word days, I feel so spaced out by the evening. I fall into bed like I’m in a trance or something. Thankfully, that does not happen everyday.

  10. What a great, timely post for me, since I’m just starting out on that self-publishing road myself. Thank you for your earnest assessment of the risks.

    • You’re very welcome, Kevin. I’m going to keep trying to assess and reassess and share as I go. What I am discovering, is that anything I figure out is so conditional. Then the next bit of information comes along and I’m reassessing again. Hopefully the learning curve is not as endless as it currently feels.

  11. […] went the route of assisted self-publishing. (See my previous post on Reassessment Time […]

  12. Talaysen says:

    I know this is an old post, but I’d like to mention ‘Evolved Publishing’. They’re very selective and have very, very high standards, but if you meet their criteria, they’ll publish you, without you having to pay a fortune. Fair royalties, great editors and illustrators.

    My brother has been with them for about two years now and the total experience has been good the whole way through.

  13. Lauren Craig says:

    Hey hi. Could you tell me more about your experience with Friesen Press. They’ve contacted me and I’ve been trying to figure out if I should pursue that option or not. Thanks!

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