Self-Publish or Perish?

My random musing just now is that I have really awesome friends. I have managed to be the life-sucking force that received, due to the whining, two–count ’em two–pep talks yesterday.

In an ordinary world, this would go on to explain beginning with the phrase: as some of you know…

Except you don’t. (You don’t know anything about me! she shrieked, dissolving into a fit of hysterics.) And the reason for this is because I don’t tell you. Because I really don’t want to.

Not surprisingly, the reason for my current Angst Level Magenta has a lot to do with how close I am to finishing Hush Money which I will then (will, dammit!) self-release. Which will then languish, unsold except by the aforementioned friends and my mom, assuming she can’t figure out how to buy it. It will, no doubt, figure out how to gather dust and cobwebs, even having no physical form in this realm, being an ebook and all.

Why? No, it’ s not terrible. I mean, I’m hard on myself and even *I* know it’s not a bad book, and it will be an even better one by the time I’m finished with it.

No, it’s all platform platform platform, and the much dreaded marketing. You know that person who has trouble tooting their own horn? Yeah, I’m not much of a tooter. Nor, as it turns out, a Tweeter, FBer, blogger…

In a lot of ways, I am the last person who should consider self-publishing. Seriously. If I believe in the book, why don’t I just wrap it up, send it to NY, and let them deal with this crap?

Because they won’t.

Because they’ll still expect me to market myself anyway, to some extent. Then they’ll want me to plan this many books in the series (I know, series? Hey, we’re in my dream, so just shut it), but then the numbers won’t be good enough and I’ll have to write something else. They’ll want me to add extraneous crap to bring it up to the right number of pages or cut out development that makes it fall flat for the same reason. They’ll want this, they’ll want that. They’ll hold back my ebook releases, price them ridiculously high, and price-fix them so no one can get around it. As though the joy of getting a bargain isn’t an inalienable right.  And that’s after I let it sit for 2 years while I spend money shopping it all around to find out if anyone wants it at all during which time–

No. See how that’s not the least bit appealing? I don’t need all that hassle. I don’t need that particular brand of validation anymore. For some people, it’s still the dream and that’s cool, but I’m just over it.

And because it just seemed so much like some ridiculous circus act for which I did not want to take my years of practice to untold numbers of auditions, over untold years, to maybe get a slot in someone’s tent, to be told how many shows I was going to have to do, and where, and when, and what brand of clown shoes to wear… I gave up writing entirely.

Now there was just a collective gasp from the writers. All two of you who are actually reading this post because I know that you cannot BREATHE without writing. (Writers can be such hyperbole waiting to happen.) How did I live? you ask.

I worked on some of my creative endeavors that are not writing related. I got back into doll collecting. I built up a sewing-related business for a while. I smocked, knitted, cooked, watched a bunch of movies… I read. Fiction. I continued to read about the craft of writing because it’s interesting. I continued working on projects that were not mine with my writing friends. I participating in a lot of brainstorming sessions. Did beta reading and editing. And I never gave up the people who live in my head or stopped playing in their world. Why would I?

And then there was self-publishing. Which of course has been around in various forms…always. But you know what I’m talking about. It swooped into my understanding bringing the notion of freedom– to do just what I want, for those who want it, to be able to do it when I can, the way that only I can do it.  That it was possible. That suddenly I wanted to do it again…

That’s why. It’s not self-pub or trad pub for me. It’s self-pub or be satisfied writing for myself alone. Self-pub or give it up again.

Self-publish or perish?

Hi, I’m Susan Bischoff and I’ve got a thing for love stories and superheroes. I write about people with supernatural powers in a world that fears them. I like to explore how the things that make us different from each other sometimes make life difficult, and sometimes are the making of us. My first book is about a teenage girl who is learning to choose between being right and being safe–among other things. It’s called Hush Money, and it’s almost done.

I will try to be better about the talking thing.

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7 Comments

Filed under Hush Money, insecurities, me me me, self-publishing, Talent Chronicles, writing

7 responses to “Self-Publish or Perish?

  1. Hi! Thank you so much for sharing your creative thoughts and imaginations through this provacative post! I understand exactly where you are.

    If you have a minute, I invite you to visit my blog where I’m hopeful that you might find a little information and inspiration to use on your Journey. The most recent post will tell you where I am at the moment. But the blog launch post will tell you where I began last November (http://cherilaser.wordpress.com/2009/11/04/)–and more importantly, why I began there.

    My Journey, like yours, has spanned many years, and during that time the industry we’re trying to penetrate has morphed into something almost unrecognizable from where we started. But one thing has never changed–the Dream, and the unrelenting drive to get there, in some form or fashion.

    I’m looking forward to hearing from you, if you decide to catch up through my blog. As I said at the outset, I understand exactly where you are–and I’d love to follow along with you as you move forward.

    All the best,
    Cheri

    • Cheri, thank you so much for your comment, and for stopping to read. I checked out the introductory post you linked to. It was damned fascinating. I’m eager to read more when I can! Of course, I forgot to subscribe. Oops. Going back to do that now….

      • Hi again, Susan! Thanks for checking out the blog launch posting. All the posts since then have been chronicling the steps of the Journey–the good, bad, and ugly. So there might be something else in there that you’ll find of use.

        Now that you and I connected, I’m looking forward to our continuing conversations. Have a great week and weekend!

        Cheroi

  2. Kait Nolan

    Dude, you totally earned more than a pep talk after functioning as my brain on Tuesday.

    :hanging out with boot in case you need it applied to your butt:

  3. That’s a great post! I feel much the same way. It’s not self-pub or trad pub for me, it’s self-pub or nothing. Not because I “can’t get a publisher” but because the traditional process drains every ounce of energy out of me and depresses me. I can’t motivate myself to do anything that way.

  4. oh… posting again to subscribe.

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