Memoir Author Linda Hoye Shares Her Thoughts on Self-Publishing

by Matilda Butler on June 1, 2012

Book Business PaperclipPost #94 – Women’s Memoirs, Book Business – Kendra Bonnett and Matilda Butler

Women’s Memoirs Congratulates Author Linda Hoye

memoir, self-publishing memoirJune 1 is a special day at Women’s Memoirs. Linda Hoye announces the publication of her first memoir, Two Hearts: An Adoptee’s Journey Through Grief to Gratitude, today. Kendra Bonnett and I are fortunate to have known Linda for several years. We originally met through Story Circle Network where she isa Board Member and Past Vice President as well as an inveterate book reviewer.

Linda is a creative, thoughtful, articulate author. In talking with her about how we could be part of the celebration surrounding the release of her valuable book, we decided to feature her thoughts on choosing a publisher. Then join us again next Friday when Linda talks about one of the steps you need to do if you decide to be a self-publisher.

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My Decision to Self-Publish

By Linda Hoye

Over the years as I worked on writing my memoir, Two Hearts: An Adoptee’s Journey Through Grief to Gratitude, I kept an ear to what was happening in the publishing world and tried to keep up with the rapidly-changing landscape. So, late in 2011 when I finally declared my manuscript finished and my thoughts turned to publication, I had choices to make. Should I pursue getting an agent? Should I start querying independent publishers directly? Or should I take the another route and self publish?

While I considered options I:

  • Wrote a book proposal

  • Talked with other authors

  • Set up a page on Publisher’s Marketplace to gain visibility with agents and publishers

  • Pored over the 2012 Writer’s Market researching agents and publishers interested in memoir

  • Signed up at QueryTracker to do even more research on what agents and publishers are looking for and to keep track of queries I sent out

  • Studied the art of writing a query letter (Wow. It seemed like you had to be a psychologist, a psychic, as well as a writer to put together an effective query letter.)

  • Queried a handful of agents

  • Writing the book was hard work but it seemed that the journey to publication was going to be even harder.

    I identified two publishers I wanted to target initially. The first, an independent publisher, expected to have exclusive access to a manuscript while they evaluated it, a process that they said could take three to four months. I chose to honor their exclusivity expectation and three months passed before I received an email response thanking me for my poetry submission.

    I wasn’t surprised—I had expected a rejection. I knew enough to understand that authors typically amass a plethora of rejections before finally finding that perfect match between writer and publisher. I dusted off my query letter and began revising it to target the second publisher on my list.

    Then I stopped.

    I had just spent three months waiting for a response from one publisher. If my experience was anything like that of bestselling author Kathryn Stocket who was rejected sixty times before her book The Help was accepted for publication I could be at this for years. But I wanted to get my story out now; I believed I had something worthwhile to say that might help other adoptees dealing with the same issues I had struggled with for many years. I felt passionate about doing my part to make a difference in the adoption community.

    An avid reader and fan of the memoir genre I’ve read a lot of well-written books in recent years, many of which have been self-published. Did that fact change how much I enjoyed the books? Of course not! I could think of no good reason not to self-publish and the more I researched what it would take to do so and considered the pros and cons, the more attractive it became to me.

    I wasn’t surprised to find out first hand that self-publishing is hard work. I was fortunate to have a team of talented and creative professionals to help me with things like cover and interior design of the book, but I still had to show up, make decisions, approve proofs, suggest changes, write cover copy, and an assortment of other things. And now that my book has been published there is no one is helping me with marketing my book; I’m responsible for determining the strategy that’s right for me and carrying it out.

    The steps I took before I made the decision to self-publish were not wasted.

    The exercise of writing the book proposal and query letters forced me to clearly identify the message I wanted to convey with my book; it even resulted in a few minor changes to the manuscript. And networking with other writers is always time well spent. We can all learn from those who have gone before us.

    Today, I’m thrilled that my story is being shared and my voice is being raised to speak to the need for adoption reform. Every time I receive an email from a reader telling me something in my story touched them, I know I made the right decision.

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    Linda-Hoye, memoir author, self-publishing Linda Hoye is a writer, editor, adoptee, and somewhat-fanatical grandma. Her memoir, Two Hearts: An Adoptee’s Journey Through Grief to Gratitude offers hope and inspiration to anyone who’s life has been touched by adoption. Linda’s work has appeared in an assortment of publications in Canada and the US. In 2009 her piece, The Face in the Mirror, won second prize in the Susan Wittig Albert LifeWriting Competition. She is active in the adoption community and is an advocate for transparency in adoption.

    She currently lives in the state of Washington with her husband and their two Yorkshire terriers, but Saskatchewan, Canada will always be her heart’s home.

    Connect with her on her blog A Slice of Life Writing, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and LinkedIn.

    Prefer to read on the Kindle? Here’s the link to that version: Two Hearts: An Adoptee’s Journey Through Grief to Gratitude

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    We invite you to leave Linda a note in the Comments section and to click on the Like button below if you find this article helpful.

    { 2 trackbacks }

    Two Hearts Launch Day!
    June 1, 2012 at
    Memoir Author Linda Hoye Returns with a Discussion of ISBNs — Memoir Writing Blog
    June 8, 2012 at

    { 9 comments… read them below or add one }

    Linda Hoye June 1, 2012 at

    Thank you for having me today, Matilda and Kendra.

    Kendra Bonnett June 1, 2012 at

    Congratulations, Linda. May you have a most successful run with Two Hearts!!

    Karen S. Elliott June 3, 2012 at

    I’m glad Linda mentioned that query process, the months spent waiting…I too have thought about the horrors of that process. Why wait? If you have a good product, if you want it out there, let’s get a move on! The book cover is gorgeous. Great article, Linda.

    Judy Watters June 3, 2012 at

    Thanks, Linda, for your insight on the subject of self-publishing. Such a dilemma…and yet in this day and age, I think self-publishing is the way to go. I am a strong believer in the best sales tool being “word-of-mouth.” Look at The Shack…self-published. I can’t wait to get my copy of Two Hearts. I know I will be one of your best salesmen!

    Linda Hoye June 4, 2012 at

    Thank you, Karen! It’s an exciting new world for writers these days, isn’t it?

    And thank you for your kind comments about my book cover–I’ve had countless comments about it. One day I would love to find out the name of the little girl whose face is on it. The photograph is a stock photo but I sure would like to thank her!

    Linda Hoye June 4, 2012 at

    Hi Judy,

    These days I’m a proponent for things we can take corporations out of and real people (eg. “word-of-mouth”) back into. Self publishing is a perfect example of the power being returned to writers and readers.

    And The Shack is an incredible book!


    Kathleen Pooler June 4, 2012 at

    First of all, congratulations on your book launch! I have been following you for the past several years and it is thrilling to see all your hard work and passion for the adoptive experience come to fruition through your memoir. I find this summary of your decision to self-publish very helpful. You approached this in a very calculated and well-prepared way making the right decision for the right reason. It feels like you have “professionalized” the self-publishing process, thereby establishing credibility within the writing community for self-publishing option. Thank you for sharing all your valuable experiences with us!

    Sherrey Meyer June 4, 2012 at

    Linda, first things first — congratulations on the book launch! I know you’ve waited expectantly for this day and I’m so happy for you that it is here. Your post on making the choice to self-publish is quite helpful, even to those of us who are still frantically writing. Also, the points you mentioned that you worked so hard to accomplish if publishing with an independent publisher give us an eye into the world of that side of publishing. Thanks so much for taking time from a busy life to write down your thoughts for us.

    Linda Hoye June 6, 2012 at

    Kathy and Sherrey, thank you for your well wishes. I’ve been blessed to learn from those who have gone before me on the publishing road and it’s my joy to share what I’ve learned with those who are also on this journey.

    I’m looking forward to reading both of your memoirs one day!

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