The debate is on – Is self-publishing a dirty word? Can real writers self-publish or is it merely a club for writer-wanabees? I won’t even get into the dispute whether Amazon is a viable publisher; I don’t have those answers, and I don’t really care. If a bookstore refuses to sell self-published books, it’s their loss.
Here’s how it worked for me.
I am sixty and have been writing mystery and sci-fantasy for over 20 years. I have completed over 13 full-length books. Each time I finished a book, edited until I felt like it was perfect, and sent it out into the wide, scary world of agents and publishers, I was rejected. Rejections didn’t daunt me though, after all, Steven King and J.K. Rowling are said to have files of rejection slips. At least that’s what I told myself as I ripped open yet another SASE, only to find the form letter beginning, Not for us…
I refuse to believe I was rejected because of my writing. I’ve read published books far worse than mine. So when I got sick of cranking out query letters, outlines, and the dreaded synopses, I began another book. Then suddenly it would all come clear: I don’t write to be rich or famous; I write because it is home to me. It’s the joy that sweeps me away, stops time, takes me to other worlds. Writing is the one gift I can give of myself, and I’m not about to stagger because I can’t produce a best selling “product”.
Still, the writing alone isn’t quite enough. The act of publishing is important too. I want to share my story. I want it out there where strangers can read it over small cups of coffee a thousand miles away; where a child I’ll never know can learn something about cats; where things I’ve not imagined might happen through a twist of a phrase.
As I was working on this blog, I recieved an email that about sums it up. It was for an upcoming writers’ panel titled Succeed Better: The Many Ways Our Words Can Bear Fruit.* The description reads:
“Faced with Amazon rankings, bestseller statuses, and zero-sum ‘top writer’ lists, you might think that success is all about numbers–but numbers are the palest measure of what our work can do in the world. …Writing can lead to poignant encounters, salved wounds, changed lives, and empowered people… (We must) broaden the definition of success to encompass the things that mean the most.”
*Panel organized by David Ebenbach for the AWP Conference, March 30-April 2, 2016 in Los Angeles, California https://www.awpwriter.org/awp_conference/event_detail/5035
This blog is a continuation of 10 THINGS WRITERS LOVE ABOUT SELF-PUBLISHING.