I’m self publishing.
There. I said it. I’m self publishing. I wrote a book that I am proud of and that I am eager for people to read. The book is so close to being ready that it makes me jittery. I stare at the calendar thinking of how little and how much need to be accomplished before the target date of publication. March 15, 2015. The ides of March. Mourn Cesar and buy my book. The moment Deadly Troubadours goes on sale I can call myself an author. Or perhaps a novelist. Which sounds cooler?
But here is the thing. I feel somewhat like an imposter because of how I am publishing. No one besides me made the decision that this book is ready for or even worth publishing. As far as I know only three people have read this book from start to finish, and two of those were involved in my creation. All three have pointed out errors and holes and I’ve done my best to make the needed improvements, but there wasn’t a person whose daily work duties involved chiseling away at this rough manuscript so I could polish and refine what was left. All of that makes me feel partly like a counterfeit artist. I’ve even found myself qualifying my accomplishment, and yes, I do think anyone finishing a book has achieved an accomplishment, by letting people know that “I’m publishing a book, but it is just self-publishing.” Because I guess that makes it less?
The truth is I never even tried to get this published traditionally. I looked into the two options and just the time commitment for getting an unsolicited novel considered was enough to make me go with self-publishing. I decided to finish up this project a little over a year ago. After that I wrote another 60,000 words but even if the novel had been ready to ship to a prospective publisher there is no guarantee I would have even received an answer yet. I know that sounds an awful lot like sour grapes, but time is a factor. Like most people, I’ve got jobs, family, stuff to do and after looking over the process of getting a book published I didn’t think waiting years to get this novel out there was the best thing to do, even if that meant sacrificing the possibility of more fanfare. But how much fanfare could I expect? I live in Japan. What appearances and promotions could I realistically be a part of?
So, I decided to self publish. And it has been a learning process, and that process is never really finished. I’m still biding my time to the last possible minute about ISBNs. Should I buy them myself or let the retailers I’ll be using supply them? Is there a bigger downside to one option? To realistically cover all the formats out there just for an ebook I’d be better off spending an initial $500 on ISBNs since I’d like there to be a book 2 at some point. Or I could just let Smashwords and Amazon supply them. Or should I?
And then there is physically printing the books. Again, this is a question where location plays a part. If I were in the U.S. then Amazon’s print-to-order option would be good enough. But that doesn’t exist here in Japan. So, do I just forgo the print option and tell folk who may want a physical copy to shop the US Amazon, or do I put up the cash for a limited print run here? Are there enough people, about 130, that would be willing to purchase a hard copy in order to keep me from losing money on a print run? And isn’t a physical copy needed if I want to do any form of release party?
These are the types of decisions I’ve had to ponder as a lead up to self-publishing. Along with marketing, the appearance of the book, formatting, etc. I wish I had the option to just leaving it to someone else, but if I don’t do it, it doesn’t get done. But hey, right or wrong, I get to make those decisions myself. I get to do it how I want it done. The cover on this book will be the cover I want. The audiobook podcast that is coming out? Yeah, that was my call. And it’s my voice. The music isn’t me, it’s Manny Marx, but I like it.
In the end, I’m glad that I decided to pursue self-publishing. I do believe that the internet and the fact that self-publishing exists has allowed me to get as far as I have in this process. Just knowing that I can make this available no matter what was a constant source of motivation and a drive to make Deadly Troubadours the best I could. I want people to read it and come away thinking “I hope the second volume comes out soon!”
I know that this novel is a first work and that no matter what there are going to be some rough spots. But I hope people like it and that it does well. Of course, pride and ego are involved in that hope. And of course the financial side plays a part in hoping for the best. But I also hope this book is received well so I don’t have to feel second-class for self-publishing. After all, if you like a book, like an author do you really care who the publisher is?