Some people stigmatize self-publishing, so when you tell them you’ve published your own novel, their reaction (verbal or physical) amounts to, “OMG you’re self-publishing. Your writing must SUCK.” This makes me laugh. What? We’re not allowed to do something for ourselves?
I prefer to think my writing doesn’t suck, actually. I would love to have an agent represent me. Some agents did sniff at Loser’s Memorial (one even provided some fantastic suggestions that I used) but they all ultimately passed. I think they’re wrong. In fact, I’m a little annoyed that these self-appointed middle men stand in the way of me reaching super-awesome reader people like yourself, and of giving people the choice to choose what books they want.
This could have been problematic back in the day of “forecast and recycle” when printing was slow and cumbersome, and ebooks didn’t exist. Back then, it was so much work to set up a printing press to print a book, publishers would guess how many were going to sell and then recycle (at a loss) those that didn’t. It was incredibly wasteful. Now, thanks to ebooks, that’s a non-issue, as well as Print On-demand, where a printer can spit out a paperback book one at a time with little effort. So there’s really no reason to have gatekeepers. Let everyone publish what they want, let everyone choose to read what they want.
When I’m feeling obnoxious, I call the defenders of the old way The Agentocracy. I just have to laugh that the same gaggle of folks that rejected Loser’s Memorial seem to churn out no end of books that involve vampires or teen love triangles. So please, don’t tell me that the gatekeepers are preserving literature, or culture, or whatever. A superb book on the same subject is “A Reader’s Manifesto” by B.R. Myers. Dude leaves a trail of dead sacred cows in his wake, and it’s fun to watch! (And I’m a vegetarian-ish animal lover, too!)
Someday if I become big enough, I will need the agentocracy to navigate the many offers I’m getting. Fine. Maybe I should just let you watch this clip from the Golden Voyage of Sinbad movie, starting at 9:30. I can’t remember when in my youth I saw it, but this corny scene rang true with me then and describes my nature to this very day. Riches are less than freedom.
I like the idea of being free. So little baggage. I still want to write the absolute best stories in the world, but I like the idea of writing not being my primary source of income. This way, I will write what I have to write and what I feel must be written, and in times of crises, I can fall back on my day job, not fall back on vampires, teen love triangles, or my favorite sub-genre, cops-n-lawyers.
I don’t need a middle man between you, awesome reader person, and me. So here’s my book. Read it or don’t. If you do, let me entertain you, I will give everything I’ve got to make your time worthwhile.
Well, yes. And I’m damn proud of it. Because look at what the publishing industry has to offer. I want to write and I want to be read. And that’s it. Any thing else, like cash and the like, is delicious icing on an already scrumptious cake. So I’ll keep my day job, thank you, since it lets me be free where it counts in my art.