I’ve rather avoided the obligatory “why I’m self-publishing” post. First of all, I’m not a publishing method zealot (I save my activism for causes like Free Chocolate for All Moms! and Ban Early Mornings!). I love that new technologies and changing business models are giving writers more options than ever before. We can try for an agent and a traditional deal with a big publisher. We can find a small press to partner with. Or we can self-publish. But there is no One True Way to publishing success. What works for one writer is going to be the kiss of death to another.
Secondly–and sadly–the recent changes in the Way Things Are Done have divided writers into camps. And woe betide any unfortunate who dares cross over. A self-publisher signs a deal with Ye Olde Established Publishing House? Sellout to greedy corporate interests. A traditionally-published writer puts up her backlist all on her own? Traitor. A never-published writer gets off the query-go-round and self-publishes? A hack who doesn’t have what it takes to be a real author.
No, thanks. I don’t need to join the Publishing Wars (but sign me up for the fight to eliminate any wake-up time before 8 am!). I just want to do what’s right for me, my career, and my books. For some projects that might mean self-publishing, for others it might mean going with a publisher–if they’ll have me (*grin*).
But whatever route I go, rest assured that I always always strive to have as good of a product as I can manage. I do not–and will not–throw words on the screen and then upload to e-tailers without revising, copyediting, proofreading, and getting feedback from my nitpicky beta readers. You will get my best work at the time, and I’m always looking to improve.
So, now that’s out of the way, why did I self-publish Shattered (with more projects along the way)? (Darn, there’s no avoiding that question.)
First, to show I could do it. My father owns his own business, so I suppose entrepreneurship is in my blood. I liked the idea of being a project manager for my collection. I liked being in charge of the entire process from story to saleable product. As a writer, I’d never had to worry about things like back cover blurbs, anthology titles, story order, and cover design. Now I know how much goes into putting out even a simple ebook and I picked up a few skills along the way (though I won’t be hanging out my shingle for e-book formatting and conversion services–ever). The experience of self-publishing was worth it.
Second, I had material that would not work for traditional publishing venues. Single-author anthologies are a notoriously hard sell unless you are a Big Name–not to mention that I didn’t have enough stories to fill a novel-length book, anyhow. But I did have three thematically-linked stories that were perfect for a self-publishing project. So I did it.
Aside: All the other stories in my self-publishing queue are also hard to place in traditional venues because, lengthwise, they fall in that vast space between short story and novel.
And, lastly, self-publishing has motivated me to keep writing. I write to reach readers. If I hadn’t self-published Shattered, those stories would’ve been sitting on my hard drive, reaching no one. Instead, now my work is out there, getting favorable reviews from people who are not my family and close friends. I have evidence that I’m not wasting my time here, toiling over the keyboard. It was a much-needed boost that came at the right time.
There’s another reason why I self-published, but that deserves its own post in the future. Right now, self-publishing works for me and I’m giving it a good go.
Do you self-publish? Why or why not? Let me know in the comments.