Choose Your Own Adventure

by Michelle Miles

When I was a kid, I had a set of Indiana Jones Choose Your Own Adventure books. I loved them so much and read them over and over. My favorite was Indiana Jones and the Lost Treasure of Sheba (pictured here). I must have read that thing a million times. The cover was worn and tattered and the pages were yellowed with age. I remember reading that book, trying all the scenarios until I figured out how to get to the treasure without dying.

And then I would repeat the whole process again.

Now that I’m all grown up and writing my own books, I’ve discovered something. Publishing is sort of like those Choose Your Own Adventure books. You can Decide Your Destiny (today’s incarnation of the books – my son has a Clone Wars one). You can be in complete control of your career.

Whether you choose to go for agent representation or submit directly to publishers or even direct publish your own story, there is one thing that is certain in this industry: publishing is changing every single day it seems. What’s hot today isn’t necessarily going to be hot tomorrow.

So how do you cope?

I firmly believe you should never write to the market. Books published and on the shelf today were bought by editors over a year ago. Even if you’re the fastest writer in the world, there’s no guarantee you’ll be able to sell it. Write what you love and what you want to write because somewhere out there is an editor waiting to snap it up.

I also think in this ever-changing climate, you should try new and different approaches to publishing. Your name is your brand and getting it out there among the masses is what will make your career.

There are so many choices and options these days for doing that. One way I’m exploring is doing at least one guest blog post a month. Another way is doing interviews. Try to let your readers get a little piece of the real you. The “you” your spouse and kids know. I don’t mean talk about your deep dark secrets, of course. Your readers want to identify with your main characters. They want to identify with you, too.

Another thing I’ve discovered is direct publishing. This is not vanity publishing (where you pay them to publish you book). With direct publishing, you make your own cover art (which is way fun!) and format your own ebook and then publish it yourself at the tune of 70-85% royalties.

I’ve used Smashwords, Kindle Direct Publishing and PubIt. They’re really easy to use if you know how to work Microsoft Word. And if you have a little bit of graphics experience or know someone who does, you can certainly do your own artwork. I myself know enough about PhotoShop to be dangerous. ;)

Limits are for those who don’t want to test the boundaries. As writers, our characters have to test the boundaries, why not in our career too? Nothing comes from nothing. Take risks. Do whatever you can to make your career as fulfilling as you want it to be. The only person standing in your you. Choose your own adventure in this industry we call publishing.

Now, go take on the page.

Michelle Miles writes contemporary, paranormal and fantasy romance. She believes in HEAs and knights in shining armor and has direct published two of her own short stories available on Kindle and Nook. For more information about her books, visit her website at where you can also sign up for her monthly newsletter, The Monthly Grind, follower her on Twitter, @MichelleMiles, and “like” her on Facebook at


  1. Great post, Michelle! I agree with you on a writer writing what interests them and not necessarily looking for topics based on what's currently on shelves. That said, there are trends to watch that will continue to sell for a few years going forward. Who knew vampires would be taking a bite out of the market for so long. For a creative writer, a unique spin may be found for any topic. And your post will certainly inspire writers to give it a try. Thanks!


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