A couple months ago, a friend of mine posted a link on FB that led me to an article in the Washington Post about electronic publishing. The article was really about self-publishing in the electronic format, and how quite a number of authors were taking that route to publication. I’d been hearing the whispers that turned to conversations held out loud that turned to shouting practically from the rooftops about this new craze taking over the publishing world.
That article, linked above, led me to ask myself one question: Why not?
It reminded me instantly of the George Bernard Shaw line – ‘You see things as they are and you say, why? But I dream of things that never were and I say why not?’ It’s really one of my favorite quotes. I used to know what it meant. I used to live by that ‘why not’ mentality, but somewhere over the years, having kids, owning a house, learning about responsibility, I let go the daring do attitude, and settled in for the long haul. I determined that I would do things the way they were supposed to be done. Sound familiar?
By the end of the Post article, that way no longer made much sense to me, and in the back of my mind I heard that question for the first time in a long time – why not? I found other sources, read other blogs about other independent writers who were self-publishing and making money at it. Some were making a LOT of money at it. Most weren’t, not yet, though as I continue to check back in on sales figures, I see that the numbers are climbing for quite a few folks. These are the same people who would be making -zero- for their writing efforts if they’d continued to beat their head against the ‘traditional’ route to publication.
Disclaimer: Obviously, I have nothing against people who decide to take that route, get an agent, get a book deal, get published. I read books by people who’ve done it that way. They rock. They shouldn’t be pissed off at other people who choose to do things a little differently. Maybe it’s the royalty split that annoys them so. I don’t know.
It was a slow realization that the normal route, the traditional route or whatever you want to call it, wasn’t for me.
And it’s not because I couldn’t get an agent. If I’d kept at it, refined the query letter, sent it out with more pages a hundred and one times, I would have gotten an agent. I don’t really doubt that. It’s not that I wouldn’t have gotten a publishing deal after getting the agent, though that is more a crap shoot today than it’s ever been. It all boils down to my desire to retain control over my work.
I want to make the choice on what my cover will be – and I’m pretty happy with the one I have. I want to work with an editor on what elements are important to the story, since this is the first of seven. I don’t think I could tolerate someone I barely knew demanding I take something out, remove a character, or whatever, and threaten the entire process. I don’t want to wait a year to two years to publish my story.
I’m ready now. My book is ready, to the best of my ability to make it so. It’s being formatted as I type this. Perhaps as early as next week, it will release on Smashwords, and Amazon, and Barns and Noble, and iPad, and Createspace. Maybe I’ll wait a few days more…to proclaim with rockets red glare my own Independence Day.