Let me start off by saying, I do not and will not draw an invisible line in the sand between self and traditionally published authors.
We each write our stories one word at a time and the last time I checked, it took the same amount of effort to finish a book regardless of the route that is taken to get it out to the world. I commend anyone who embarks the path of publishing. It takes a certain amount of courage to share stories and ideas with readers and lovers of words.
Let’s face it…there are butt loads of people who want to be authors, but not everyone accomplishes that dream for one reason or another. I can’t tell someone whether self-publishing is the right path for them or whether they should search out literary agents and big 5 publishing houses because the truth is we are all different. We all have different dreams and goals and come from all sorts of different backgrounds. No one knows what will work best for you except you. But with that being said, I can share my story with hopes that it will give some sort of insight.
March 2011 – I decided I wanted to write a novel.
July 2011 – I had 10k words. Hated them. Trashed them. Started over.
Dec 2011 – Finished 55k YA Paranormal Novel
April 2012 – Signed Contract with Publishing Company.
July 2012 – First round edits. Major rewrites required.
Nov 2012 – Saw first cover. Exciting times. But it didn’t really portray the feel of the story.
2012 – 2013 – EDITING. Fiddled with new story ideas. MORE EDITING.
July 2013 – realized I wasn’t happy with any words I wrote
Oct 2013 – requested release from contract
Oct 2013 – started writing Weak for Him with no problems.
Jan 2014 – Self-published Weak for Him
Jan 2014 – wrote Weak Without Him
March 2014 – Self-published Weak Without Him
April 2014 – started writing Eluded
July 2014 – Published Eluded
August 2014 – started writing No Longer Weak/Single
WRITING. SLEEPING. WRITING. STRIVING FOR AWESOME. HYBRID AUTHOR. KEEP WRITING. <—– this is me right now, 3 years later!
I know you are saying, well Lyra, what’s your point? Lol, there is one, I promise. Sometimes I sit back and look at everything that’s happened and how important each one of the above items were to my literary journey and how I felt during those times. I learned valuable lessons and experienced a roller coaster of emotions. I’ve had really high moments and really low ones. It took signing a contract and having a publisher represent me, to realize that the dream that I thought wanted at that point in my literary life, really wasn’t what it was all cut out to be. I blame my mistakes on being new. I wished for a contract because having a publisher made it real. Ya know? And I got what I wanted. But did it change anything? No.
In my mind, I guess I imagined the heavens would open up and be like Lyra Parish… all your dreams are coming true, just sit back and be the next big thing. But it didn’t happen like that. It was hard work. There were countless people that I had to answer to. I had editors. Cover designers. Production and marketing departments. The whole shebang! But that’s what happens when a person jumps in head first without doing their research. I didn’t have the experience to realize everything was all wrong, and when I did, I had to make it right. So I did.
I wanted publishing to be a never-ending adventurous journey, one that I can look back on when I’m 80 and smile. What I learned, after months and months upon hours and hours of reflection was that the glitz and glam combined with a fancy contract and my naïve outlook on publishing hindered me. Does that mean it’s the wrong choice for other people? No. You have to do what’s good for you. Forget what everyone else thinks!
There are many reasons why self-publishing has worked for me. It’s not because there is less pressure or even less work. Ha. I really laugh when people say that one. It’s all of that, plus some, on crack. Oh and why we are at it, people who self-publish aren’t lazy either. That’s ignorance talking. I’ve had the pleasure of following some of the most hard working indie authors out there. They work really hard. Take Jasinda Wilder and Jack Wilder for example. I think they just pressed publish on their 45th SELF-PUBLISHED novel.
Jasinda and Jack are real authors and they work their asses off, and guess what….they are indie. How bout that? They are a perfect example of pure indie awesomeness, and when I grow up, I hope to be half as awesome as them! There isn’t a person in the world, who is sane, that could look me in the eye and tell me they are lazy. Notice I said sane.
I’m indie. I’m a one woman show. I am the marketing and production department. I am the creative team, manager, and every other department that is required to publish a QUALITY novel. That’s the key here. The goal is to produce quality work that I can and am proud of. I won’t lie … it is sometimes a little overwhelming, but I love every single second of it. I think of self-publishing as being the CEO of my stories and I take full ownership of that. When something amazing happens (like being picked up by a publisher, being contacted about foreign rights, offered movie deals, etc) it’s validation to all of the hard work that was put into producing quality work. I cry, struggle, laugh, love and hate with my novels.
I knew that when I published, no matter what route I took, I wanted it to be traditional published quality.
I wanted a professional cover: self-publishing let me choose exactly what I wanted.
I wanted an awesome editor: self-publishing let me choose who I would work with.
SPing granted me the power to make decisions that were right for me and my stories.
Now let me reiterate something really quick. I don’t think that I work any harder than someone who is traditionally published. I think that it’s a different colored horse, though it’s still a horse. (I’m imagining Wizard of OZ and the horse of many colors.) There are deadlines that must be made. Lots of back and forth conversations about the novel, the expectation, etc, etc, etc. Not including literary agents, editors, marketing, etc. The list goes on and on and on and on. So while self-published authors are acting as the CEO of their indie corporation, let’s not undercut what goes into being a traditionally published author. Having a team behind them doesn’t make publishing any easier. These authors don’t sit back with their feet propped up just twiddling their thumbs waiting to hit the NYT best seller list. Okay, well maybe Stephen King or JK Rowling…but they’ve got the pressure of the world on their shoulders, and they still have to write their stories word for word, like everyone else. The moral is: PUBLISHING IS WORK NO MATTER HOW YOU PUBLISH.
If I told you publishing a book was easy, I’d be lying.
It’s not easy. It’s lots of late nights. Lots of second guessing yourself. Lots of every sort of emotion (#suchemotions) that can be felt.
You have to decide what your dream is, regardless if it’s finding an agent, signing with a small or large press, and/or self-publishing. Whatever path you choose, you have to own it. OWN your decision. Be happy with it, and don’t let ANYONE, A-N-Y-O-N-E discredit your choice in any way. If they do, they are ignorant and closed minded and need to be slapped in the face with a slimey fish.
The world is big enough for all sorts of writers. I’ve never met a reader who has read only one book and said they were done. Most devour words regardless if they are traditional or indie. It’s not like we have stickers on our books they say “self-published” or “traditional published”. So.. strive for the stars. Follow your dreams and do what’s good for you. Flip off the Negative Nancy’s and Debbie Downers and do your thing baby!
We are all in this together, in this moment, in the right now.