Why I Self Published

Since I started my Indiegogo campaign the question has come up a few times “why not find an agent an get published traditionally.” This always catches me short even though I have a fairly stock answer ready: “Self-publishing is a better fit for my situation.” If people want more I can go into it a little bit. But I feel somewhat awkward.

I’ve written before about my own hang-ups with self-publishing. Some of those have vanished. But I do have those dream-world visions of a big advance, lots of support, and lots of help getting my book into the hands of readers. All of those things that research has told me is getting rarer and rarer for many authors, especially new, unproven ones. My living in Japan wouldn’t make those thinks any easier. Who is going to set up a book tour for me when the first step would need to be flying me across the ocean? Sure, anything is possible. But some things do seem unlikely.

And then there is the issue of timing. I read somewhere that impatience is a bad reason to self publish. At first that made me hang my head a little bit. Impatience was part of my decision to self-publish. But then I thought a little more about the meaning of impatience. If I had elected to try for traditional publishing I would most likely still be waiting on a response from my first choice. If that came back negative, I would send off the manuscript again and again wait for several months. Repeat, repeat. Repeat. With where I am in life, and the options we have around us, I don’t have time for that. Maybe that is impatience. But I released my first novel in March 2015 and am on track to release a short story collection and novel number 2 in 2016. So, you tell me which it is: impatience or being proactive. I made my choice and am happy with it.

Let’s not forget control. This novel is mine. Every word and every story element. I was the final arbiter on what deserved to go into my novel. This might be a jaded way of looking at things, but I can’t help but feel something is compromised in writing if someone besides the writer gets to make that final call. I’ve heard some great stories about relationships between authors and editors. The right editor can help coax the best out of a writer. Or an editor can push for what is more marketable. I don’t think it is fair of me to say too much more on this because I do lack experience. But I have heard stories. And I am grateful that I have the freedom to continue finding my own voice rather than be partnered with someone who is there to make my voice my market-friendly.

Another aspect of control is how the book looks. I love my cover art. It is soft and colorful and cartoony. It is art on paper. It looks nothing like any other fantasy cover I have seen. I think it is fabulous. I also think if I had attempted and succeeded in traditional publishing my cover would not have been drawn by my wife. Something precious would be missing. Make of that what you will.

I’m glad I opted to self-publish. Sure, I wish I had a larger audience. But I’m growing one. I’d like to think that most people who read my book will want to continue with the sequel. Maybe a few will convince a friend or two to pick it up. That is the hope. Money is for the future. Right now I just want readers. But to do that I do need money, so one more time, please chip in to my Indiegogo campaign.

15 more days.

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