I officially submitted my completed manuscript to an editor. One MFA, ten years, two kids and I’m finally turning my manuscript baby into my first published novel! The next six months will be rough as I go through my rounds of edits and begin the marketing journey. All while I still balance real life with a day job and family. But it’s going to happen and I can’t wait! This knowledge and certainty is why I chose self-publishing. I have autonomy.
Understanding you HAVE a Choice
As I set up my author website, I’ve been thinking about what I want that to look like. One of the things I want is for this to be a place where I’m transparent about the indie author journey and what goes on behind the scenes. The reason for that is I’m publishing this way as a conscious choice and I want others to understand that choice. Both as readers and also as other writers contemplating self-publishing for themselves. I’m aware there is still a stigma attached to self-publishing. But, I’m hoping by lifting this curtain, I can help alleviate some of those negative associations and help others understand why I chose self-publishing.
Like most other English majors and MFA grads, I always assumed traditional publishing was the only route worthy of considering. Self-published authors were sell outs who couldn’t hack it with the publishing industry, right? So, I put in my dues. I joined the Writer’s Guilds and attended conferences. I listened to the agent/editor panels and furiously took notes about what they were looking for, what it would take to get past the gatekeepers. I even paid to have my manuscript reviewed by agents and editors. But after awhile, I started to question why.
I knew plenty of writers. Extremely talented writers, sitting on amazing manuscripts, waiting for their chance to come. They sent out endless pitch letters just praying to be accepted. I even knew writers who HAD been picked up by agents only to have the process take years till publication. And then they were still responsible for all the marketing themselves and only claiming about 30% of each sale. I heard repeated over and over that writers don’t go in it for the money, it’s for the love of the art, right? But in this digital age where anyone with a voice and an internet connection can build a following should that really still be the case?
Making the Choice
Yes, there are still self-published authors who give credence to the hack stigmas. But there are also extremely talented, big name authors out there who either began their careers by self-publishing or who are now leaving their traditional publishing houses to voluntarily self-publish moving forward. Some examples include Andy Weir, Margaret Atwood, Kwame Alexander and even Stephen King. Why? Because it makes more financial sense! And gives an author complete independence and authority over their work.
As a society we applaud entrepreneurs and small business owners. So, I think it’s time that we encourage and support authorpreneurs as well. I look forward to sharing this journey with you and I hope I encourage others to share their own work as well!