Why do the crazy thing and self-publish?
Welcome to the inaugural post! And rather than spending this time giving you the big Manifesto-Of-Doom post, I’m just going to jump right in if that’s okay with you.
The Backstory: I’m an artist and I use that term because I like and do create, a wide range of art from paintings to performing on the stage (the main form of my artistic endeavors) to writing. It was only recently, as in the last year or so, that I contemplated making my writing public. You see, it was always a very personal hobby, but I was convinced by some good people to go for it. So I did. And the result is a project near and dear to my heart.
I queried this work for some time, blindly, I’ll add. Some of the letters were horrible. I had no idea what I was doing, and that was absolutely okay. I learned a lot from the process. I learned how to write a blerb (though I will admit that I will probably never been good at it), how to be bold and just hit the ‘send’ button, and how to simply join in on this crazy process that so many writers go through.
But I also learned that, given how personal this particular journey has been, that I didn’t want to turn this story over. Which is a weird thought to have when a writer typically seeks out an agent (not unlike an actress) and that’s how they move forward to publish. It is also a very daunting thought to possess. But there it was: eating up my brain matter and telling me: do it, do the thing that you are scared to do and see what happens.
Thus: self-publishing became a very real, very solid journey to embark on.
I read articles on it. I gathered my links, and resources, and set about with a timeline, a plan, and one hell of an editor.
And I also discovered that there is a stigma against self-publishing. Some of that stigma is earned; a great many self-published works on not edited by a paid editor, but I have found my fair share of wonderfully written stories that have been self-published through this wonderful world of technology.
I can have a print-on-demand hardcopy of my story. I can sell it on Amazon through Kindle. There are even options to open it to other markets. It’s wonderful. It’s terrifying.
There are other factors too: promotion, marketing, and everything else. These are the daunting tasks that most writers leave to their agents, publishing houses, and their myriad of employees. I can see why. There’s a lot of power behind money and expertise and I won’t deny that, but I also won’t deny that it can be done. I can start up a Facebook page. I can create a website. I can put out Instagram pics and other social media tools. It isn’t easy, to say the least, and I won’t have thousands of followers right out of the gate, especially as an unknown name, but that doesn’t mean it can’t work.
I’m also fairly realistic about this endeavor though. I don’t expect to make the NY Times Bestsellers List. I don’t expect to sell thousands, or even hundreds, or even a hundred copies. My expectations are reasonably low because there are thousands, millions even, of books out there. Anyone who has used Amazon or Barnes and Noble to search for a new book to ready knows the struggle. There are so many fascinating stories to wade through. My wish lists alone are a daunting list that I’m picking through. So, I know what I’m up against, and I made the decision to be okay with it.
I’m not self-publishing out of greed for money or any other reason than this: I want this story out there. I need this story out there. And for whatever reason, my intuition, my gut, that brain eating monster in the night, told me that this is the way I need to go with this particular story. Will I self-publish all my works? No. The story currently being penned will be queried and queried and queried until something happens with it. For me, it is just this story that needs this sort of very personal touch.
And the challenge. This is the challenge I need to go through: from start to hardcopy-in-my-hand finish. It may be a disaster. It may not. But what I have learned and will learn through this process will be worth it all in the end.
I will self-publish because that is what is right for this book, and for me.
And because it is time we start using the resources that we have available to us.
Like I said: I’m excited and terrified and giddy and nervous and ready to burst. Maybe that’s what I’m doing it.