They say before you get a "yes," you'll have to face a lot of "nos." That's a truth in life and I'd say that the amount of "nos" is directly proportional to the size of the goal you're trying to achieve.
Things haven't been different when it comes to my literary work. "Nos" have been pouring down since my first attempt to get something published. The literary world is vast, but it's complicated to get your foot in the door―that's what I see time and time again.
I started writing back in 2004, when distress took a hold of me and demanded that I expressed myself somehow. I tried playing music and painting, but something was already telling me that only writing would do the job, so I began to write. I had written a couple of things when I was a teenager, but I'd always tear it to pieces. Back then, I started to write my first novel, but I gave it up half way. I tried to resume it three times, until I got something I thought was interesting. Many things happened in my private life along the way and I had lot moments of silence when I didn't type a single letter. Then, in 2010, I finished my first book and called it Patos [Ducks].
During that time, many ideas, thoughts, and visions would catch me by surprise, but I had no way of either adding them to the novel or just throwing them away. So, in 2008, I created a blog called Desce mais uma! [Pour Me Another One!] and started to post my poetry, short stories, articles and some small talk about general subjects.
Writing isn't easy; publishing is even harder. My goal is to write, express myself, and create "things" that may be useful to other people. However, putting what I create in a drawer is out of question, and finding ways to get published was an inevitable consequence. Blogging has allowed me to follow up and interact with readers. Things are very different with a novel, though, and I needed a better medium. I needed to see it in print, hold it in my hand.
Today we have so many publishing alternatives, but my objective was to find a publisher the conventional way. It's a long, hard journey: finding a publisher, selecting those that fit your writing style, making contact, and submitting your manuscript. After you send them your work, all you can do is wait for their answer―that is, if they ever answer you at all. Even though it hurts, being turned out is still better than silence, but "no" is still a "no" and it makes you weak in the knees.
Among all publishing alternatives, the one that stands out the most and has become more popular is the kind of publisher that takes care of everything for a fee paid by authors themselves, which I call "stylized publishing." This way, any work can be published, as long as authors can finance it and also be responsible for the book release, promotion, distribution, and sales.
The upside of this method is that 100% of sales proceeds go to the author; the downside is that the author has to be responsible for all the operational costs and the sales itself, which is a process that could be much more widespread and effective if a publisher could take care of it, since they have the structure for it.
I chose that alternative, which I had to try out. In 2010, I published Desce mais uma! ― Primeira rodada [Pour Me Another One! ― First Round], which is a collection of my first texts. However, the experience after the release at a bar with friends and family wasn't exactly good.
Through these tough times, I started to entertain the possibility of making my work available for free as an ebook. I would have to give up printed copies, but I could have a wider reach and wouldn't leave anything inside the drawer―or a folder in my computer.
That was when I found a print-on-demand publisher. The artwork was on me, and the sales and distribution of the printed copies were on them. It sounded feasible to me, considering the low cost and the possibility of having a hard copy, but that was not quite like that. The final price was too high, so I decided to work on the other idea.
Today, all my books are available for download for free in several ebook formats. They can be found on my blog, as well as through several tools and bookstores that allow for free ebook downloads. Among them are my second novel Diário de um Zé Ninguém [John Doe's Diary], which I completed in 2012, as well as the second and third "rounds" of Desce mais uma!
I've been working on other projects and my will to write is just growing strong. By the end of this month I should have some more news (fingers crossed!)
Anyway, the take-away message is that you have to hang in there and keep fighting. Giving up is not an option! As they say, water dripping day by day wears the hardest rock away, right? So, let's keep it up!
RAFAEL CASTELLAR was born in Santa Gertrudes, São Paulo, and graduated in Computer Engineering. As a literature enthusiast, he tries to find ways to express himself through articles, poetry, short stories, essays, and novels.