It is so funny that people still feel there is a stigma to self-publishing. So much so, that when I say I write books they ask me if I am a ‘real’ author. I think that is where the world has gone wrong. We have set up a system of approval where an institution (established publishing company/agency) states that it is an ‘authority’ and the only way we are considered ‘worthy/good enough’ is if that authority says we fit their ideal or their market at the time. I say cods wallop to that!
After mulling this over, and as wonderful as these institutions are because they deliver fantastic books to the world, I feel as though being rejected by these institution can actually be a blessing in disguise. Yes I really said that. Why? The rejection can send you on a whole new path of creative discovery. This is where self-publishing comes in. Let me ask you: why do you write a book? Is it because you have something to say? Is it because you fancy a nice bit of creative time? Is it because you are simply compelled to and don’t know why? Do you think it will make you a multimillionaire? Do you believe you are the next J.K Rowling? Whatever the reason is, in my opinion writing and creating should be a pleasure – an opportunity to step into your inner creative landscape and play… Yes play, test, explore – all of these things. Can you play when you are under pressure? Could you play if you knew you had millions of fans desiring your next book?
You may wonder where this has come from? Well I just released my most recent book and when I say I loved writing it… Well I truly loved creating the story and taking my time. It was just wonderful. There was no pressure, no demands and nothing in the back of my head saying deadline. The week I completed the draft I was in a bookshop and a lovely children’s author was doing a book signing. There were children all lined up and jiggling with excitement awaiting her signature. It was at that point my dad said to me – isn’t it time you approached publishers? Now that threw me into a spin and created a dilemma. In the end I called up one of the audio producers who produces my audio books. He is a well known actor, narrates for big publishers and found my books and offered to produce them. Since then he has done an amazing job. When I asked him what he thought about me changing route from self-publishing he asked me a few questions.
- Can you deal with pressure?
- Can you deal with being told what to write?
- What would you do if you wrote a book and the publisher refused to publish it and you couldn’t publish it either?
- How would you feel if the book was completely re-edited?
- What would you do if the book you wrote had to have a completely different ending because it did not fall into a formula?
As you can imagine I was stunned. He then told me that when he narrates for publishers he is under pressure. He is very aware of time and the narration isn’t a pleasure because he has to deliver. He asked how I would feel about that being my writing life? Again I hadn’t considered what he said until he mentioned it. What’s more, I used to be a professional photographer and I ended up with photographic burnout because I lost the love for taking pictures because I had to make money from it. After mulling this over I decided to share my reasons to self publish. I hope this helps anyone who has been considering it.
- No pressure – writing can be a pleasure.
- Self-publishing enables a sense of completion.
- You can take your time.
- You get to choose your editors, proof readers, designers/illustrators and audio producers.
- You can experiment.
- It is so easy to self-publish.
- You can do as much or as little writing as you please.
- You can decide how long your book will be.
- You can find creative ways to reach your market.
- You don’t have to waste time compiling letters and synopsis when you could be writing your next book.
- You can test out the market place.
- You can run your own advertising campaigns.
With the above in mind, it doesn’t mean don’t approach publishers or agents because if you are accepted then your books can reach a greater market. The point is you can still share your writing with the world and refine your skills without feeling dejected or disappointed through not being accepted by the publishing sytem. I have known some fantastic authors give up writing because of rejection letters. In my opinion that is a real shame because the pleasure of writing is stepping into that inner landscape and taking the voyage of inner discovery.
I hope this convinces you to continue on your writing journey whether or not you get an agent because, in my opinion, if you are compelled to write then write whether or not your receive external approval. If you enjoy it then take pleasure in your writing and who knows where it will lead!