It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything of worth lately, but a topic came to mind today that I couldn’t stop thinking about, and the question, simply put, is why?
Why did I choose to self-publish?
My honest answer is this; I didn’t even think of publishing any other way.
Let me explain a little, it wasn’t that I didn’t know about other opportunities but it was more to do with the fact that I knew self-publishing was the way for me. It was only a year ago when I read my very first indie-published book. I’d fallen prejudice to the stigma that self-publishing imposed, but I’d used the funds I’d set aside for my reading addiction that month on brand new, traditionally published novels. It was gone, but my cravings for a new fix wasn’t. I had to ‘buy’ a free book in order to sedate my obsession, and what better way was there than searching the kindle database on Amazon. I was fixated by the plethora of books I could read for minimum cost. Once I started, I couldn’t stop. The very first book I read squashed every perception I’d encountered. It was good, brilliant even, and I dare say a darn sight better than some traditionally published titles I’d read.
Shockingly so, I’ve read more books in the past year thanks to many talented indie authors, than I have my entire life with traditionally published books. I will admit this has mostly been due to the cost; it’s quite expensive to keep a hunger for reading well-fed.
Self-published books opened a window I didn’t know I was seeking.
Here’s the blatant truth; I didn’t even query my debut novel, Nature’s Destiny, to any publishing houses or agents. It wasn’t because I didn’t think I was good enough, or that I was too scared, but because it wasn’t what I wanted. Some might say I was foolish for not even considering it, to not seek some professional feedback from the people in the know. Others might think I’ve shot myself in the foot by not thinking of the exposure I could have had if by some crazy reasoning a publisher had chosen me. Besides the many ifs, I still stand by my decision.
Why? Because I like the freedom.
I like to write whatever I fancy at the time and not have to worry if it conforms with a publishing house’s guidelines. I like to work hard on what I love most and see the rewards afterwards knowing I did it by myself. More importantly, I like to be challenged, and self-publishing has been just that. I’m a sucker for control. I love finding my own cover designer to work with, and having the final decision on everything. It’s my book after all. Mostly, I like knowing that if anything did go wrong, I’m the only one to blame. It’s down to me to create as much exposure as I can, and that’s a risk I’m willing to take.
There’s a certain phrase that’s been on my mind a lot lately, and I heard it from one of the many talented indie authors I’m always aspiring towards. She wisely says, ‘Be a Collaborator, and not a Competitor.’ For me, that explains the community of indie authors. We’re always striving to help each other out, to Pay It Forward. Why wouldn’t I want to be a part of that too?
There’s nothing easy about self-publishing, and it really isn’t the easy way out or the last resort. It was my first resort, and I’m so happy it was.
It wasn’t until I clicked ‘publish’ that I truly began to feel scared. I’d left myself open for criticism on a public platform, and there was no going back now. When I wrote, I didn’t have the time to think of that, I didn’t make time for it. I had to be brave, I had to think positively that it wouldn’t go any other way than forward. I was optimistic, because positive thinking had a greater chance at a positive outcome.
There are days I question whether I should’ve taken longer on my novel, comparing myself with other authors. I even stop in the middle of writing and think, ‘Oh God, what have I gotten myself into!’ And, I wonder if choosing to go it alone was really smart.
The reality is this; I’m an individual, I’m different. This is what works for me, whether you think it’s right or wrong. My magic ingredient will be different to yours, but the spell remains the same; exposure, readers, connections, relationships.
It’s a fabulous journey.
Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear – not absence of fear
– Mark Twain
Disclaimer: This post is about my journey through self-publishing, I have absolutely no issue against traditional publishing or any other form for that matter.