I’m very seriously considering self-publishing the Novel. Again.
I always go back and forth about the idea of self-publishing. On one hand, it’s a great way to keep complete control over your work. On the other, it looks a lot easier to mess up than going the traditional route. There was a point a couple years ago where I planned to self-publish before going any further, and a year later I decided that self-publishing “didn’t count.” I had love-hate relationships with LuLu. Sitting here now, trying to think ahead to the end of this novel (because I have to now more than ever), I’m finally able to look at it as an alternative; not inherently better or worse, just there.
In some ways self-publishing really appeals to me because it looks easy on the surface. Sign up for some free web service, write, edit, and enjoy. It looks like the best way to make your dreams come true.
Until one day I realize that it’s not easy at all. Self-promoting is a necessity if I want someone other than my mother to actually own a copy* of the thing. I have to stringently edit harder than ever. I have to create a cover that’s compelling, when I don’t even know if the book is compelling. There’s no professional in the corner nodding or shaking their head when I make a choice. That’s so daunting, and I’m awfully shy when it comes down to it, especially about writing.
Even when I railed against self-publishing as invalid, it still looked like way more fun than the other way. There’s no fuss with rejection, with worrying about sales; it really is just writing and publishing for the joy of writing and seeing it in book format.
However, repeat promoting concerns from point 1.
I don’t mean for this to sound insulting, I really don’t, but I wonder if it appeals to me because I’m worried about keeping up with other writers. Going for the agent, publisher, etc, means I have to write something that’s more compelling than Writer X over there, and I really do worry if I’ve done that, or even if I can do that. Liking the book is not enough, it does not make it marketable or interesting or fun or whatever it needs to be to sell.
There are a lot of things I really like about self-publishing; I love that it’s more common and yielding results for a lot of people. It seems to take a special kind of writer, the kind that’s tenacious as hell, and I don’t know if I have that in me. I’m just not sure that I’ve got the clever writer that’s noticeable in there either.
* I’m not actually sure my mother would read it, but I’m sure she’d maybe buy it.