I just self-published my first book. In many ways, it feels more rewarding than publishing the traditional route. I published two books through publishers. That was an exercise in disappointment. I had little to no help with marketing. You can’t sell a book if no one knows it exists. I’ve been writing since I was 12 years old. I always thought writing the books was the hard part. Once I found a publisher to take a chance on me, I would have it made. Ah, the naiveté of youth.
So I decided to forgo that with this book and do it myself. I’m doing all of the work anyway. Why not get a bigger chunk of the rewards? Having complete control over when and how it is published, what the cover looks like, how much it costs, having the freedom to run promotions or give out free copies at my discretion, is exhilarating and frightening. With no one to approve or finalize my work, it’s all on me. I am the final say. If there are problems, I have no one to blame but myself. Of course, there is still the matter of that darn marketing beast. How do you find readers in a world of virtual bookshelves? Will I ever walk into a bookstore and see my book on the shelves? It is a little disappointing to think I may not.
I still remember (back before the internet was used for everything short of breathing) printing out hard copies of my books, standing in long lines at the post office to send certified letters to publishers and then waiting months for the rejection letters to start coming in. It sucked, but that was what being a writer and trying to get published used to be. That was what you expected. It may take ten years or more, but keep trying and eventually you will get your break. If I had known then what I know now, I’d have spent a whole lot more time just writing. Instead of writing one book and waiting to publish it, I would have immediately started the next and built up my body of work. Of course, my life experiences have shaped who I am and have shaped my writing. So I am content with my past mistakes and stumbles. I know now, and that is what matters. Now I am only limited by myself and my own ideas.
So I will keep writing. I will not fall into the same trap of write and wait. I may not get publicity or become well-known on this book or the next. but, like finding that first publisher, it will happen eventually. And when it does, I don’t want to look back and wish I had written more. I put out “Suriax” six months after I started it. Now let’s see if I can do even better with the next one. I’ve got a lot of stories to tell. Time to get them out there.
-A.D. McLain/Amanda Young