I am a “publishing” author, but not a “published” one. I still have the feeling that nothing compares to getting your book accepted by a genuine publishing company, a company that then takes the lead in getting one’s book cleaned up, ready for publication, shipped and publicized. I also know that the great days of author-coddling are over. Unless you’re a very successful author, you may have to kow-tow to your publisher a lot; you may have to let the publisher rename your book; and you may get little editing and hardly publicity. Getting published means that money comes to you. Maybe not a lot, but the costs of publishing are not yours.
I took the other route. I spent some money on an artist, on the cost of proofs, and on copies I can cart around and sell on my own. (I do expect most of the sales to occur at Raven’s Gift, Amazon.com. Considering the sales possibilities and my expenses, it’s reasonable to say that writing is my hobby.
Now that we’ve gotten the downers out of the way, let’s look at the positives. I made the book the way I wanted. Its future is under my control. I can publicize it any way I think of, at whatever pace I make time for. I’m an independent.
That’s the key phrase: I’m an independent. That phrase explains why, when I tell fellow writers that I’m self-publishing, they just don’t seem to get it.
My actual career lay in writing software. For many years I worked for other companies as a full-time employee. But then I was forced to work for myself, to be independent. The second day of my independent programing career, I discovered how incredibly wonderful it was. When you’re independent, your career is much more in your own hands, much less dependent on the judgment and timing of others. But I couldn’t see how wonderful that was until it was thrust on me.
When I was a full-time programmer employee, I had a friend who went independent. He had a lot of trouble getting started, and in the long run he only built up a small (profitable) business. He used to tell me that if I ever had a taste of independence, I would never look back. And I just used to stare at him in total incomprehension.
It’s hard to understand how satisfying it can be to upend the world order, to go against the grain of “how it has always been.” I don’t know what my sales will be, but they could be dreadful in any case. I’ll have fun seeing what I can do. The novel is my baby, and: I’m an independent.
(I can’t resist adding a few numbers to this blog item: Book sales since April 29, 2010: 2; chapter downloads of the audio version of the novel: 48,000. Somebody out there knows me.)