He settles the childless woman in her home as a happy mother of children. —Psalm 113:9

May 5, 2011

Taking the self-publishing plunge

So I've decided to self-publish my fiction. This is an idea that I've been kicking around for a while now, pretty much since self-publishing first began to lose its "wannabe" stigma a few years back, but I've finally reached a concrete decision and decided to go for it. This post helped a lot with that, and so did this post.

But I think what ultimately helped me make the decision was taking a long, hard look at myself and admitting that I don't have the patience, or the thick skin, to go the traditional publishing route. I'm not good at waiting, I'm even worse with rejection, and I just don't have the grit and determination that it takes to keep banging my head against the gates of traditional publishing until I bust through. I'm also drawn to the DIY and entrepreneurial spirit of self-publishing, and yes, to the control, to the feeling that my writing career is completely in my own hands. All in all, I think this combination of factors makes me a good fit for self-publishing.

And there's also the fact that I just want people to be able to read my stories, whether I make any money from them or not. I think all those years writing fan fiction pretty well ruined me that way, even if original fiction doesn't come with the totally addictive, instantly gratifying cult of feedback that follows fan fiction.

Of course, this decision is fraught with questions and fears. I've been doing a lot of research on the matter lately, and I have even more questions and feel more overwhelmed than when I started. There's the fear-based questions, such as, will anyone actually read my work? Will I be able to find an audience? Will I be taken seriously as a writer? And then there are the more practical questions like, should I start a new writing blog or website, since this one has morphed into a grief and infertility journal? Is there any room left here for my writing? Should I just revive my Livejournal, which was supposed to be a writing journal in the first place? And is it a good idea or a bad idea to keep posting Dominion as I write it? Is it a good way to generate interest, or am I just shooting myself in the foot when it comes to future sales?

So many questions. And then there's all of the work. Writing the book is only the beginning. I'll have to be my own editor and formatter and cover designer, until I can afford to hire those tasks out. I'll have to be my own marketing and PR person, too, and I really suck at that stuff. I'm so shy, even online, and even when I can make myself get over it, I don't really know how to reach people. I'm always so afraid of giving offense. I definitely need to learn how to get out of my own way on this front.

So this is kind of a big, scary decision. I feel like it might be a life-altering decision. Then again, it might not be--that's the part that truly scares me. But I have to try. Really, I have nothing to lose, except for hours and hours of time and wasted effort. At least it ought to keep me distracted from baby limbo. And no doubt I'll also pick up some new skills that should come in handy over at The Web Wrangler.

If you have any advice or input, especially about whether I should start a new blog for all of this, I'm all ears eyes.


David Michael said...

Don't be scared. =)

Seriously: The worst that can happen is ... nothing at all. Which, I can tell you from some experience, does rather suck. But at least it's not life- or income-threatening. ;-)

Good luck!


Cynthia said...

If you're going to publish the work, then stop putting it online for free. Maybe if you want to post a little teaser here and there, but otherwise it needs to come down. As for which journal, well that's up to you and how much you want your reading public to know about your non-writing life. The only suggestion I have is don't have too many journals floating around and don't keep changing them. I stopped following a friend's journal because well, I think she's on her 5th or 6th variation on theme with as many addresses.

As for the rest, I have no advice. But good luck with this!

Jean Bauhaus said...

Thanks, David. Yeah, nothing happening is what scares me most of all, but I
guess there's not really a rational reason to fear the status quo. :)

Jean Bauhaus said...

Thanks, Cynthia. I was hoping somebody would share their opinions on this
stuff, 'cause I can be pretty clueless.

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