As you may know if you’ve been following me for a while– for months I’ve been sitting on a book, wondering how to go about publishing it. I’ve had a lot of people telling me I should e-publish for various reasons, and then I’ve also had a lot of people telling me that I shouldn’t and that doing so would be shooting myself in the foot. And so, for at least six months now, I’ve been sitting here trying to weigh the pros and cons and decide which option would be the best for me.
Then, two things happened. First, I saw this, and second, I realized that if I continue to sit around trying to decide how to publish it, it’s never going to get published. So, I’ve decided to commit to e-publishing. Here are just a few reasons for my decision:
- I Really Do Think This is the Future. I predict a future when books are akin to, say, CDs. They still make them, and people still buy them, but most people just download the mp3 and stick it right on their iPod or whatever. It’s just so convenient to have everything there in one spot, and owning a Sony Reader these past few months has made me acutely aware of how nice it is with books as well. There are other reasons for thinking this is The Future, but that will turn into a huge essay, I’m sure, so I’ll refrain from going into much detail.
- It’s What My Characters Would Do. That sounds cheesy, but it’s true. Why shouldn’t I create my book the way my book’s characters would want it to be created?
- I Learn From My Own Mistakes. If I’ve calculated wrong and e-publishing becomes the worst decision I ever made, at least it’s my fault and not the fault of a publisher or agent or bookstore or whatever. If there’s one thing I know for sure about myself, it’s that I don’t ever learn my lesson unless I’ve been through the fire and thoroughly embarrassed myself through my own actions.
- I Don’t Care About the Darn Ribbon. There’s a saying I’ve heard somewhere– I’d cite the source but I can’t remember where it was– anyways, the saying is that being traditionally published is like running in a big race, winning, and getting an official ribbon for it, whereas self-publishing or e-publishing is running a race alone and then printing out a ribbon for yourself. The connotation is that it’s silly and embarrassing and no one will take you seriously. Truthfully, though, I really don’t care about the darn ribbon. I’d rather ten people read and enjoy something I wrote than no one read it because it gets stuck at a gatekeeper somewhere. I do realize that the gatekeepers are there for a reason, and that if I keep trying and pushing and I believe in what I wrote, then it’s bound to get through the gate eventually. But how long might it take, simply because I’ve got the wrong word count or genre or something? And even then, how would a new and untested author be marketed? How much shelf space would a bookseller be willing to spend on me? Would there really be any more people who saw my book wedged between others on a shelf than wedged between others on a website? There are just too many variables.
Now, I know there are a lot of downsides. Believe me, I know, because I’ve been agonizing over this decision for months. I realize this is a risk I’m taking, a big leap of faith that requires me to be a little brave, a little hopeful, and just a little bit conceited– and that last one there is probably the hardest for me. But if I don’t try, then I’ll never know!
So, that is that. Once I do actually have the thing online, I’ll link to it pretty much everywhere, so I’m sure you’ll see it. It may not be for a few months, because I want to give the manuscript some final edits, but I’m pretty committed to all of this actually happening. We’ll see how it goes, eh?