In 2013 when I finished my novel, I searched for an agent who would then find me a publisher. I didn’t want to deal with the business end. And I think I wanted the glamour. I researched agents, wrote varied lengths of synopses, wrote and sent query letters. Waited. Tried to keep track of when I might hear from which agent.
But every time I talked to anyone, whether it was a class of students I was reading for or a friend who was asking how the novel was coming, I was always asked if I was going to self-publish. In the old days, and still today if you’re a traditionalist, it wasn’t called self-publishing. Self-published was said to come from a Vanity Press, as if the person was so vain he decided to publish himself after being rejected by legitimate publishers.
Now we all call it self-publishing, but it’s quickly becoming indie-publishing, moving more and more away from the pejorative to the attractive. The “real” publishers are starting to pick up self-published books that have made a big splash, like Hugh Howey. Why take a risk? They can capitalize on the success demonstrated by strong sales among the self-published.
The paradigm has already shifted, but not everyone knows it yet. Paradigm shifts are like that; the majority don’t see the shift for awhile. Publishing is a huge industry, and it won’t go away over night. It’s a bit like what happened to music when Napster made song downloads available free or iTunes began selling individual songs—the music industry changed, not overnight, but quickly. Lots of other changes interceded as well, but in the process, new artists gained more access to the marketplace.
Nonetheless, I still don’t want to deal with the business end of it all. I have to as a self-publisher and self-marketer. I’m wondering when I get to step away from the business of self-publishing so I can write again, especially as reviewers begin calling for my next work. (That's a treat, self-published or not!) In the midst of a full-time job, I rarely take the time to write.
And yet, in a way, this is forcing me to write—if not fiction, blog posts and marketing materials and interview responses, especially as my blog tour nears. It’s a lot of writing. It keeps my hand in.
Indie-publishing has also meant a tremendous amount of learning. If I ever thought I wasn’t an autodidact, I was wrong. I keep propelling myself through the next area I need to learn about to get my book in print, in electrons, in the social media eye. It’s not all fun and games, but it’s all engaging and most of it is rewarding.