Self Publishing is a Vortex

I love you guys. Anyone can write, and write well, if they work hard at it. I’ve spent a few weeks collecting my book collection, updating my to-be-read, read, and to-be-bought lists. I’m absolutely ecstatic that so many people have an active interest in writing. Flood the markets, fill the shelves, overwhelm Amazon, and let your voice be heard.

Now. I’ve been studying self-publishing a lot lately. Really grinding into the topic with a tiny drill and a magnifying glass. I’ve cut deep into the little options for publishing, the ins-and-outs, even figured out how to convert my novels into .mobi files and purchased Scrivener. I have an artist lined up for cover art, I have two publishers lined up for distribution of my books, and I’m staring at a HUGE process still to go.

Traditional publishing has its perks. It has a big name, bigger distribution capabilities, and these guys exist in a market they helped create and perfect: they know what they’re doing (not saying indie publishers don’t). But given you have to sell lots and lots of books to get anywhere with it, I don’t find it applicable to me. Hard deadlines, hard editing processes that (possibly) destroy your voice and the message, and turn the novel into a marketable thing for the masses isn’t for me.

I write for me. I’ve really stared at at sentence for a long time lately; I’ve had a lot of personal real-life issues show up in the recent eight months, and I’ve put my writing on hold. Proofing, editing, reading–that has continued–but actually sitting down to write hasn’t happened but once.

And I wrote six glorious pages, and they were delicious, and I bathed in the great shining glory.

I write for me. This isn’t a statement of fact, moreso a statement of intent. I have no delusions I might write things that fail miserably. I might PUBLISH failures due to this love for writing. I sit and create stories that don’t fit a conflict/resolution mold, I don’t create a perfectly observable arc throughout (a writer recently told me she follows the three act plan), and I certainly don’t spend sleepless nights converting a story to fit in little spoons.

This community’s love for formulae scares me.  Am I doing it wrong? Is this a bad thing? No. It’s a great thing. If I try and fail, I’ll try again. It isn’t something that simply dies out when I hit rejection. I’ve hit rejection for the past ten years when it comes to my writing. Form rejection letters everywhere, over two hundred, with not a single word of actual interest whatsoever. I’m ready for rejection. I write for myself.

So I must extend that thought, at least for now, to encompass my publishing, too. I publish for myself. I want everyone to love what I write, I want to be a best-seller, I want this perspective and dream of mine to find purchase in the verdant loam that is the world. But I refuse to change the word to something else. I refuse to remove the story from the story.

I know I have a lot to learn with self-publishing. It’s a scary intimidating thing to look at the business side of a product you haven’t yet created and hope someone’s listening, hope this is worth it.

And it is. If only for me, one published copy, one single finished product, it is worth it. This is definitely going to be an uphill battle. I hope you follow me through to completion. Because 1) I’m not going anywhere–I have four third-draft novels ready to be polished and published, with another six in the curtains, 2) I love this so hard I promise I won’t stop until I find a balance between myself and my intended audience, and 3) I sincerely believe my writing, my novels, my topics are important, from-the-center-of-myself stuff I pull directly from my heart, with a pen-and-ink syringe, and inject it onto the page. This is my life, and my lifeblood.

The entry came because my brother recently finished reading a draft of a story I have halfway finished. He said it’s one of the best books he’s read in the past year. He said it flows, it’s complicated but not overwhelming, and it’s fun. He told me, face-to-face, to finish the thing so he can read it. Only has my recent sendoff to a professional editor been more heartwarming to my mind than what he said.

He’s my brother, I know, so he’s inherently supposed to like my stuff, right? My family is the most opinionated group of people you could ever meet–outspokenly so–and to hear this, wow. I’m still in awe.

Back to writing. I hope everyone has a wonderful week.

Chapter 4 of David and His Shade will be posted at cacyclonite.wordpress.com this Sunday, after I return from my friend’s bachelor party (is it a little much to expect each person to spend 200 bucks on this party thing? On top of beers and food? I’m not made of money, but I don’t know if I’m just being stingy…)

~CHeisserer

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