Happy Wednesday everyone! Heather, here. To self-publish or not self-publish is a question that most writers I know have asked themselves at least once during their writing journey. Me being one of them. I think it’s something we all consider at one point or another. I know I did before Pretty Dark Nothing sold to Month9Books. So when my good friend and fellow writer, Lara Schiffbauer, told me she had decided to self-publish I had to ask, Why? I thought her answer and journey would be worth sharing with all of you. She’ll be checking in with us through the year to update us on her experience. I hope you’ll all help me welcome Lara to the blog today.
First, I want to thank Heather and the other fine writers at Hugs and Chocolate for the opportunity to share my story. Getting to guest post on one of the best, and friendliest, writer’s blog sites on the web is definitely a thrill for me!
Deciding to self-publish was not a lackadaisical choice for me. Despite my husband’s encouragement from the time I wrote my first short-story to take the publishing reigns into my own hands, I regarded self-publishing as something I’d consider after all other avenues were closed. I believed self-publishing was cheating. If I self-published I would be acknowledging I couldn’t make it in the competitive, traditional publishing world.
In other words, a lot of my worth as a writer was tied up in having “somebody who knows” recognize my story as worthy of publication. While there are many good reasons to seek traditional publication, I came to believe proving worth as a writer wasn’t one of them. Poor quality is only one of many reasons why a manuscript may be rejected by a traditional publisher and/or agent. I know several excellent writers with stories I can’t wait to read who have been rejected time and time again.
How did I go from actively querying Finding Meara to deciding to take my husband up on his offer to fund (within reason) a self-publishing venture? I can tell you it wasn’t because I decided to avoid the “Gatekeepers,” or because I had been rejected one too many times. (I sent out only eight query letters before I switched gears.) It wasn’t because I thought it was the easy road to publication (I already knew it is anything but easy), or because I was impatient with the traditional publishing system.
Oh, wait—I’m not being completely honest. Maybe I was a little impatient with the traditional publishing system. And that impatience did spark the change of heart I needed to accept my husband’s offer.
I am not one of those writers who writes because I have to. I don’t write because I want to make art. I write because I want to entertain people. I write because it’s fun to create stories and characters. It’s a challenge to put a story together in a way that will affect a reader. I strive to make people laugh and cry and get out of their daily lives for the time it takes to read a chapter or two. I am not ashamed to admit I write to be read. Self-publishing provides the opportunity to turn my story over to readers sooner than later.
The reason I decided to self-publish was because I value my story and I have faith others will too. I’m not sure there is room in traditional publishing (right now) for a cozy urban fantasy thriller, though. Instead of waiting for somebody in traditional publishing to decide my story was worth the risk, I decided to take the risk myself.
So began the roller coaster ride of publishing my own book. In my next guest post, I will share what I have learned so far and some of the resources available to aid in the self-publishing process. Some of the best information on marketing I’ve seen has come from self-publishing websites!
Have you ever contemplated self-publishing? What are your thoughts on the subject?
Lara Schiffbauer is a writer, licensed clinical social worker, mother of two, wife of one, and a stubborn optimist. She loves Star Wars, Lego people, science, everyday magic and to laugh. You can connect with Lara through Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, or on her website. Her debut novel, Finding Meara, will be available in March, 2013.