I have to share my latest Orange County Fictionaire’s adventure. I’m really lucky to belong to a writer’s group consisting of mostly published authors. (Google us, we’re an impressive group.) We have award winning, best-selling, movie making, teaching writers and then there’s me. And I’m the president. Bottom of the talent totem pole. Go figure. Sometimes I wonder how or why I got in the group let alone why I was made president. I think they voted me in because I had more time and attend regularly. (There’s a post about this railroading, I mean—election--on this blog. If I knew how to link it, I would, but all I can say is if you want to read it, you’ll have to look for it. It’s here somewhere.) In the past week there’s been some e-mails on the group's list flying fast and furiously for and against self publishing. The words schlock (which I've guessed is a Jewish derogatory term) and noble have both been used. I’ve posted my response. I wish I could share the all the e-mails, but I can’t. Respect for privacy and all that. Let me make it perfectly clear--I have enormous respect and admiration for my fellow Fictionaires and applaud their successes. I'm their biggest, noisiest fan. Now, my letter...
I know I’m slow to respond. It generally takes me days to formulate the perfect retort. I’d make a terrible attorney and I generally avoid arguments because, as I said, I usually think of a comeback days later.
I’m going to try to formulate an argument for self publishing, if you’re not interested, feel free to return to whatever it was that you were doing.
Why self-publishing works for me:
1. What’s happening in my family is much more interesting than anything else, including a writing career. I have a great big life. I have six children, two grandchildren, a husband, five siblings, 20 in-laws, and about 60 nieces and nephews. And elderly parents (age 90 and 88.) And a dog. And friends. It would be horrible to attend a wedding or a funeral with a writing deadline hanging over my head. By self publishing, I keep (somewhat tenuous) control of my time.
2. I’m not interested in meeting people I don’t know. I'm not out going. I don’t want to go to book signings. I don’t want to speak at conferences. I do not want to be on TV or on the radio. Crowds make me nervous and as much as l love children, I’m not interested in visiting schools (unless a loved one happens to be attending it.)
3. I’m not motivated by money. Really. I know I’m incredibly lucky and blessed that I don't have to support a family, or even myself and I've lived long enough to see that money has it's challenges, whether you have a little or a lot. (A lot, of course, would be much nicer than too little.)
4. I want to write what I want to write. I don’t want to bend my stories to a formula. I don’t want to toss in sex scenes or write about throbbing loins. I don’t want to sell a political agenda. I like telling the stories I feel like sharing at a particular moment and time.
I know that I won’t win awards. (Although shortly after I wrote this James sent me a link to the Indie awards.)I’m confident that I won’t be included in a literature anthology. No one is going to make movies out of my stories or talk about my work in a lit class. Would my writing improve with the guidance of a good editor? Absolutely. Would I reach a larger audience if I had a marketing team and a publishing house backing me? Undoubtedly. Am I willing to give up my autonomy for those added benefits? No. Sorry. For other’s traditional publishing is the best path, but it’s not for me.
I’m not snubbing my nose at the publishing industry. I admire their talents and their work. I really do. They provide a tremendous service to our country’s culture. But, just like there is more than one way to travel to the library, (car, bike, skate board, scooter) there is more than one way to have a writing career.
I’m extraordinarily grateful for the rise of indie-publishing. It’s allowed me to create a balance between my love of storytelling and a life full of people that I adore. After only two months I already have a small, growing readership of people who tell me that they love my work, and for me that’s icing on a cake of life that was pretty delicious even before I tried indie publishing.