Wednesday, February 1, 2012


So here's something you might not know about me... I'm an introvert.

Obviously, I'm getting better at this since I have a blog for the whole world to see, play on Twitter, and volunteer to go on trips to meet friends I've met online. Maybe some would call me adventuresome, but I'm still an introvert.

To me, this means that when things get to be too much, I retreat. And right now, it's too much.

Case in point: I'm trying to refinance my mortgage. This is problematic because I'm a creative soul, not a logical numbers-based one. So when I get two packets of legal sized envelopes filled with dotted lines to sign along with phone calls telling me the deal isn't on the table for long, I start to retreat.

I'm retreating from my story because it's become too much.
I'm retreating from Twitter for a while because it's stressing me out.
I'm retreating from some online forums I'm on because they stress me out.

But I couldn't figure out why I wanted to retreat from something that would save me hundreds of dollars a month.

Then I realized, I like to have an advocate.

When I switched insurance companies, I went to one down the street instead of an internet-based one. Might have cost a few more bucks, but in the long run I like knowing I have a person.

I think this is what's stressing me out about my refi--I need a person. I need someone who doesn't work for the mortgage group who can look at my stuff and say, "Yeah, this is a good plan" or "Yeah, you're getting hosed."

How does this come back to writing? Hang on, I'm getting there.

Last week, I was enjoying a glass of wine with someone when they suggested I go into self-publishing. It was meant in the most honest of intentions, but I still had to work to keep my eyes from bugging out of my head. Self-pubbing isn't for me. This much I know already. But why?

First off, I'm risk-adverse. The fact that I bought a house and travel on my own STILL boggles my mind. Second, and perhaps most importantly, because I need a person. I need an advocate who can say "Here's my professional opinion..." I need an agent, someone who works on behalf of the writer, someone who cares about my story.

Maybe this makes me sound all very childish and 'fraidy pants. Maybe I am. But I own it. I know I'm more comfortable when there's someone I can contact instead of hoping I decipher life on my own.

If you don't see me for a bit it's because I'm under my shell. I won't retreat for long, promise.


  1. yeah i hear that. Self pubbing is not for me either. At least, not at this point in my life. 10 years from now? Who knows.
    That's why i want an agent, so they can help me with all that business stuff i'm not good with. And why i'd hire an accountant if i got a book deal (which, OT, Patricia C Wrede recommends) because the idea of taxes freaks me out

  2. Being an introvert means that you need to have solitude, time alone, to build your strength. If you're not giving yourself that then you're depleting yourself. I'm an introvert too and time alone is essential to me. (But really tough when you've got 4 kids!)

    Here's my word of warning to you: Most agents do not really put writers first. They put their agency first and then their editor connections and the the writer. If you need an advocate, an agent is almost certainly not the way to go. Most agents don't have any more legal knowledge than we writers do and aren't really qualified to tell you whether a contract is good or bad. Most are more than willing to let you sign a lousy contract that heavily favors the publisher just to stay in the publisher's good graces.

    If self publishing isn't what you want to do and you feel that you need an advocate, I would recommend submitting directly to editors yourself and then hiring an IP lawyer to help you negotiate any offers you receive. They'll be cheaper than an agent and are actually regulated to make sure they put their client first (agents are not).

  3. I didn't want to venture out on my own either which is why I went seeking a publisher who knew what they were doing. And at this point, I still don't know what I am doing!

  4. Introverts unite!!

    Really, I just peeked out from under my shell to say that. I'm in retreat mode myself this week. Gotta recharge the batteries.

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  6. I don't think it sounds childish or scared-pants at all. This is pretty much why I decided to go the route of agent + trade publishers -- I wanted professional insiders who have experience in the business because, let's face it, I'm still a newbie in the business. Having experts there to help guide me and give me their professional advice was very, very appealing.

  7. I could have written this myself. I feel exactly the same way.

  8. I bet if you took a poll of writers, the majority of us would come out as some level of introvert. :) I'm one of them, too. The scariest thing I could imagine doing is public speaking (so naturally that's why I'm doing a book tour this spring :p ).

    I disagree with what Sarah says, though. I admit to not having a very broad experience from which to draw, but my own agent, and what I've heard of other agents from other people who have them, is that they really do want to do the best by you. It is a business, so yes, they're going to need to make sure they don't screw over one side in order to help the other, and that goes both ways. But they're not going to give you a raw deal just because they benefit from it most, because without you the author they don't have anything; make enough raw deals and they'll end up on a Preditors-type list.

    My agent really fought for us to get our book placed with the top line of field guides, even though the editor was initially skeptical. And he did this even though he was making a pretty small commission on our book. He didn't have to; he regularly sells works for clients that are six and even seven figures, so we're chump change in comparison. But he believed in us and our book and wanted to do the best by us. Since then he's continued to offer me advice and feedback on things I've run by him, even though he hasn't earned another cent off me (yet, anyway).

    Like you, I absolutely want someone in my corner looking after all that stuff for me; I have no desire to wander into the self-pubbing waters alone. Having seen firsthand everything that goes into a book contract and then making and marketing a book, I have no desire to tackle that myself! I'll be having an agent rep my fiction and an editor and publishing team to produce it for me.

  9. I get it. I'm also an introvert and whenever I'm out of my comfort zone for too long, I call it being "exposed." Then I have to recharge.
    My husband is the extroverted "numbers" guy and I think that's one of the reasons we work so well--we help each other when we fall short or have to retreat or just don't know what we're doing. So I get that need to have an advocate--it really helps!
    Hope your retreat recharges you!!!

  10. I think you've taken a lot of great risks already!! Your blog, your writing, chasing your dreams. Rock on, girl!

    I wouldn't worry too much about retreating. Sometimes we really need it to get perspective. I've been feeling quite overloaded lately from lots of different life angles, and retreating a bit can be like a breath of fresh air!

  11. No, not a 'fraidy pants. I totally understand. The self-pubbing thing, for instance, is NOT for every writer. It takes a certain type of person who enjoys the challenge, the marketing, the independence--the RISK. I think a lot of writers are introverts. Do only what is comfy for you. Don't stress out. Take time to relax, time for yourself. Time to write. Because that's the important thing. The social cyberverse will turn w/o you for a while. :)


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