So considering my soapbox post on Monday and my Twitter rant on Wednesday, now seems as good a time as any to straight-up lay out what my thought processes have been regarding my own authorial career.
Fact #1: I am working on book project with Brenda that will be subbed out and go through the traditional publishing process once it’s ready.
Fact #2: Despite this and despite all the wonderful people in the industry, when it comes to my own works, I am pretty much planning on going the indie/self-publishing route.
I hate to say “will” or “definitely” because I have a lot of work to do yet and life likes to throw curve balls when we least expect them, but honestly, this has been under serious consideration for awhile. Pretty much since I first got back into writing by taking up PECULIAR DARK again over a year ago. I’ve gone back and forth, struggled with it, discussed it extensively with The Man and with other writers, read every article and perspective on the matter I could possibly get my hands on, had a thousand different pro/con sessions with my CPs and other writers.
I keep coming back to self-publishing.
And it’s not because I hate traditional publishing and legacy house. I’m still a big fan and excited to help other writers pursue that path if that’s their dream. It’s not because I’m “giving up” or just don’t want to receive anymore rejections from agents/editors. Anyone who thinks getting an agent and/or editor is the end to getting negative feedback on your book is crazypants.
It breaks down like this: Self-publishing is scary – you’re putting your work out there for everyone to see and you’ve got to know how to market yourself and your books in order to succeed.
On the other hand, traditional publishing is scary – you’re putting your work out there for everyone to see and you’ve got to know how to market yourself and your books in order to succeed.
Did you catch that?
Either way, it’s terrifying, and unless you make it big-time, you’re going to have to do some hard-ass work to promote your books, promote yourself, and make sales happen. The days of hermit authors in turtlenecks hiding up in cabins, banging away at a typewriter, mailing off the pages to their editor and that’s it are totally fucking finito. They have been for a long while. Sorry.
So the question becomes whether you want the agent-editor-house backing or not. As someone smarter than me put it: do you want the canoe or the kayak?
I can totally understand why people love the traditional route, want the traditional route, and there’s a part of me that still craves it just a little. The validation of it, the glamour, the idea of hardbacks in Barnes & Noble stores and being able to say, “My book is being published by [insert uber-famous house here].”
But more and more, I’m finding the idea of putting out my own product my own way really appealing. It sounds like such an exciting challenge. Picking my own publishing team of editors, designers, etc.; electing the cover and marketing materials; setting up my own strategy based off my own research; having only myself to answer to about my public persona, how I come across, what project I should work on next. I have ideas all over the board – an adult scifi, an epic contemporary fantasy, maybe a YA contemporary and an MG adventure. I’m a potential marketing nightmare for a publishing house, but if I’m the boss of my own writing career…
Yeah, I could fail. I could fall flat on my face and only sell three books – all of them to my mom – because my work is crap and I just can’t see it. And if I pursue traditional publishing…I could fail. I could fall flat on my face and only sell three books – all of them to my mom – because my work is crap and I just can’t see it.
Yup. I’m a one-trick pony today.
I’m just saying – there are no guarantees when you put a book out there, no matter how you put it out there. I’m going to make my decision based on what’s best for me and my work. Ya’ll go out there, look at your amazing options, and make the decision for your work, and I promise to 100% back you for whichever path you choose. With chocolate. And pom poms. And cute animal pictures.
Because canoe or kayak – it doesn’t matter. We’re just trying to make it down the river.