Saturday, February 15, 2014

The Road Less Traveled (or is it more traveled, but also more arduous?)

Once upon a time, on a blog far, far away, (or not so far away since, you know, you're looking at it) I wrote this:

Why Is It All Fun And Games

I also named this blog, "It's all fun and games until someone gets an agent," and while my feelings on that are basically the same, my journey as a writer has taken a much different course.

Instead of finding an agent, then finding an editor or publishing home, I've decided to self publish, and here's why.

1) I'm really, really controlling.

I'm not controlling in a, lock-my-husband-in-the-basement-for-looking-at-another-woman way, but I am very controlling of myself and the things I know I have control over (I'm not egotistical enough to think that includes other people).

For example, I like to drink, but I never get drunk, because I hate feeling out of control of myself.

I have friends who are traditionally published, and I've heard the stories. Editors making them change their prose, dumb down their language because they think the general public is too stupid to get it, having the writer conform to fit whatever mold they think will sell. It's about the bottom line, because it's a business, and while I get that, it's not my dream.

As a traditionally published writer, you have little to no control over your cover design, your title, etc. I want to have complete control over those things. I want to work directly with a designer that I hire and make them work for me and make my cover as perfect as I want it. (SIDEBAR: I hired the wonderful Regina Wamba at Mae I Design Photography. She's amazing and I can't wait to see what she comes up with!)

I want to write how I write, and not pander to any markets or ideas of what's "hot right now". Basically, I want to stay true to myself and my voice, even if that means my niche is smaller and my profits are less. I don't write for money, I write for readers, and I write because it makes me happy.

2) No time constraints or deadlines

This is a big one for me. I have a full time job that I've been fairly successful with that takes up a significant portion of my time and energy. I also have two children, a husband, more family, a dog, lots of friends that I absolutely adore spending time with, and other interests and hobbies. If I were to  (fantasy!) land some kind of publishing contract I would have to conform to a timeline and meet the expectations of the publisher. 

I've read series where the writer has to pop out a new book every year, and many times (but not always!) the work suffers as a result. I think it's because the writer isn't writing from their heart, they're writing what's expected of them. On top of that, they're pushed to a deadline. I never want that to happen to me. I want to put my best effort out there, and take my time if needed to make the work as good as possible for the readers.

3) I'll only profit from books that sell, not before

Okay, this one might make me kind of a weirdo. I know a lot of people get excited about big advances, and the piles of money that are sometimes given to writers when they get their fancy pants publishing contracts, but honestly, the idea creeps me out. 

What if (again, fantasy land) you get a giant advance and there's all this pressure to perform successfully and then IT DOESN'T HAPPEN? (it's okay, it happens to all guys sometimes, maybe you're just nervous). 

But seriously, what if your book doesn't sell? With self publishing, I will be paid only if someone buys the book, and BONUS then I get to keep most of the profits instead of sharing with an agent and publishing house. Much less chance of guilt and nerves and ulcers and tearing and rending of the hair. 

4) Did I mention I'm controlling? 

Traditional publishing takes forever. I mean really. It can take years to find an agent (and hopefully they don't end up sucking. I know more than a few writers who had to fire their agents and start all over again). It can take more years for your agent to sell your book, and THEN it will take even more years to get the book edited and finished and ready for printing. That's, like, a LONG time. 

I've already spent years honing my craft to a somewhat acceptable level, and while I totally believe in playing the long game - and I will not publish my work until it is a perfect and clean as it can possibly be - I really don't want to wait that long. I want to decide when my work is ready for public consumption. 

So there it is. This is why I've chosen this path. Next week, I'll be blogging about the other side of the story: why self publishing makes me want to wet my pants and run in circles screaming like a sissy girl.


  1. We must be twin goats separated at birth because EVERYTHING you said is the main reason I'll probably never query one of my books. I would never be able to bend to a deadline with my full-time teaching job. That's if it ever happened. And I'm controlling too..One of my best friends went to art school. I want her to design the cover just because it's her. She'll do it however I ask her to. We work like peas and carrots. And an editor....I'd rather have my work let loose in the cave and all you smarty goats looking at it because I know you wouldn't chop it up so much that I wouldn't recognize it as my own writing anymore. I'm with you girl. 100%. And when you're ready for a beta, let me know.:D

    1. We are twin goats! I love it! That's so cool you're best friend is an artist. I agree with the goat cave helping with edits. Plus, if you get feedback and you don't agree, you don't have to change it! Easy peasy :) I am totally taking you up on your beta read! I have a few other people looking at it right now, and once I get their feedback and change anything necessary, I will be harassing all the goats for SURE!

      Love you lady, thank you for popping by!

  2. WAHOOO! I'm so so excited for you!! I totally understand your reasons, and I support you 100%. Which means, if you need a crit or a beta reader, I'm here. If you need someone to text or call for freak-out purposes or squees, I'm here too (and you know where you can find my number).

    I checked out the cover design website and they make truly beautiful covers, so I think you're in good hands. I'm so freaking excited for you!!! <3 <3 <3

    1. Thank you Precy! You amaze me daily with your kind words and sweetness. I will definitely take you up on the beta reader offer, I need it for sure!

      Love your guts thank you so much for your support, it really does mean a lot to takes a village, yanno?? ;)

  3. Good reasons. I'm exploring some of them myself. I want more creative control and the more I learn about publishing contracts and publishers the more I don't want to publish. I'm still in the early stages of looking at self-publishing, and I've had those panicky "what am I doing looking at this stuff?" moments, but overall, they are few when I weigh the pros and cons of both sides. So thanks for writing this post. It's nice to know my emotional rollercoaster isn't a one-person ride.

    1. Joyce! I totally get the panic part, that's what I'm planning on sharing in the next blog post. And it is quite a roller coaster of scary! I love your blog, btw :) You are such a smarty pants, I bet you will be quite successful no matter what you do!

      Thanks for stopping by :)

  4. Those are all valid points. Choosing to self publish as opposed to traditionally publish is the metaphorical difference between choosing to practice civil law or criminal law. They both have their merits, you just have to decide which one you fit best in.

    1. Jessie - I totally agree! Everyone's writerly journey is different, and deciding which path is best for yourself is frightening!

      Thank you for stopping by! :)

  5. EEPS! Very exciting! Yay for knowing yourself well enough to make this list (I giggled at "it happens to all guys sometimes"), and yay for being brave enough to keep going toward your dream! :)

  6. Thanks Ashlee!! I'm very excited to get started with all this (and also terrified!) I appreciate you and your support!