As you may or may not know, I self-publish my books, which so far are Aureole and The Essential Grammar Handbook. There’s no doubt that self-publishing is a lot of work, and while it was the choice I made, it isn’t the right one for everyone. So why did I decide to self-publish? Today I’m sharing my reasoning to help you decide if it’s right for you.
I am in control – I get to choose what stays in and what doesn’t. I don’t have to worry about a publishing company’s concerns or what they want from the book. Yes, I get other people’s input on my writing before publishing. But at the end of the day, I make the final call. That’s very important to me as I slowly enter the world of publishing my writing. The more I write and the more I edit, the more I’ll get comfortable with changing things and recognizing what does and doesn’t work. Obviously I want to make changes to my writing that will make a book better in some way. But I’m still at the stage where someone suggesting changes feels very personal. So for right, though, I’m very happy to be in control of every decision, from editing to advertising.
I work on the timeline of my choosing – I choose when I publish and what my deadlines are, which works especially well given everything else going on in my life. My health can turn negative literally overnight, so it’s important that my deadlines be flexible. And given that I’m also in grad school and working part-time and blogging and writing, sometimes I have to prioritize other things over writing. Hopefully this won’t always be the case, but it’s what my life is like right now, so it’s important that I have a boss who understands my need for flexibility. Luckily, I have a boss who does (hint: it’s me; I report to myself on writing matters).
There’s no formal rejection – Do you know how much it hurts to put your heart and soul into a book, send it off to a whole bunch of people, and either get crickets or a denial? It isn’t fun at all. It’s necessary if you want to be a commercial success and/or published by a publishing house, but if you don’t need to experience the soul-crushing feeling of someone saying that they’re not interested in your book, why go through it? Especially since many publishing houses are, above anything else, a business. They’re looking to make money. I’m sure they care about the quality of literature that they publish, but at the end of the day, they’re a business. Maybe your book is great, but they’ve already published several books this year that are the same type and that doesn’t make financial sense. Maybe your book is the kind that would win the Nobel Prize, but it doesn’t seem like the type that would be commercially viable. So when there’s rejection for reasons like this, as well as rejections for writing quality and plot, and I’m not looking for commercial writing success at the moment, it makes to avoid that rejection for at least a little while longer.
It works for my priorities right now – My goals are to publish and start building my writer’s platform, not to make a living from the books I write. Yes, I would love to do that, and that is my end-goal. But right now, I’m working on my degree, my job, and my health. Do I want to be in every book store in America (and maybe the world)? Yes. But it’s more important to me that I write and that I share my writing with the world in some way, even if it’s just to a small part of the Internet. (Never fear – you guys aren’t “just a small part of the Internet” to me. You are awesome and amazing and I am so grateful for you, whether or not you buy my books).