Why I Chose to Self-Publish

Author Fabio Bueno had a post on his blog about self-publishing, and he brought up a point that I’ve found myself thinking about over the last couple of days.

Self-publishing gives you total control over your book–from beginning to end. While this does mean a lot of work, it’s also strangely pleasing to control freaks–kind of like medieval flagellants who liked whipping themselves for the sins of the world. Painful, but at the same time, gratifying.

Going the traditional route is also a lot of work and also painful–albeit in different ways. I queried 46 agents over a 1 year period and got 46 rejections or no-responses. That’s nearly one rejection per week for a year. Talk about whipping yourself.

The longer I had to wait on someone to get back to me, the better self-publishing began to look. That is one thing I can’t stand: waiting on other people to do something. I’d rather do something by myself–no matter how hard–than wait on someone else. And when it came to my writing, that was the worst wait ever.  I felt like my destiny, happiness, and future success was in someone else’s hands. Intolerable.

For the most part, I’m already starting to let go of the idea that I need to be traditionally published in order to consider myself legitimate or successful. My notions of “successful” are becoming more modest:

1) Make enough money to replace my current income so I can switch to being a full-time writer. (This is less crazy than it sounds. After just a year, Catherine Howard’s monthly sales of her travel-memoir were enough to replace her modest 9-to-5 income.)

2) Build myself a writer’s cottage where I will spend most of my days writing in serene isolation. (While I have been posting pictures of fabulous, fantastical writing cottages lately, my initial purchase will undoubtedly look a lot more like a fancy shed that I have custom-built at the place a few miles up the road from us.)

3) Buy a new copy of Adobe Photoshop so I can design my own book covers. (My current copy is 10 years old; time for an upgrade!)

4) Hire a weekly housekeeper so we never have to do any housekeeping. (I think this is my husband’s favorite idea.)

5) Have enough money that I can hire someone to do my proofreading.

If I could hit all of those goals–preferably in the next two years–I’d be a supremely happy person and would definitely consider myself a success.

…Although I won’t say no to selling the movie rights.

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6 comments on “Why I Chose to Self-Publish

  1. My goals are almost exactly the same as yours, except for #2. Instead of a writer’s shed, I would like a mansion with secret doors and moving bookshelves. Your #2 seems more attainable than mine.

  2. I read your reply to Fabio and had to check your site out. I love your goals! They’re pretty much the same ones I have (and I agree with your hubby about #4…that’s one of my favorites, too).

    It’s good to see more and more authors realizing that traditional publishing isn’t the only way anymore. I chose the indie route when I realized that, except for the actual editing and publishing of hard copies, I would be stuck doing all the work. Building a platform, marketing…plus writing the stories…and that’s assuming I could ever snag the interest of an agent or publisher. Thanks but no thanks. I’m like you…I like being in control of things like this.

    Great post…and great decision on your part. 🙂

    • Keri Peardon says:

      I admit, when I first wrote my book, I was all snotty about the idea of self-publishing. Those 46 rejection letters humbled me, though.

      And self-publishing isn’t what it used to be. CreateSpace doesn’t charge you to print your book (other than having to order a proof copy before green-lighting it–something I would do anyways) and e-books are a different animal all together. Everything’s changing and it’s pretty exciting. Now there will be many more options for readers and writers who don’t write to the mainstream can still have a voice. I think that’s good for everyone involved.

  3. Wallace says:

    I like your ambitions as a writer, but one of them, a writers shed, is actually pretty attainable right now. You can go to the Home Depot web page and search for garden sheds and get a huge variety of examples from a few hundred dollars for a free standing metal shed about seven feet tall to several thousand dollars for a two story wooden barn like building with a second floor sleeping loft.

    The trouble with writing cabins is that, if you live in Tennessee, you’ll have to air condition it in the summer and heat it in the winter. A lot of good insulation will make it easier, but you’ll still need a wood burning pot belly stove or electrical resistant heat in the winter and a window air conditioner in the summer. Plus you’ll have to wire it for electricity to run your lights and PC and your heat and A/C, and probably a small dorm refrigerator, unless you want to make lots of trips to the house and back every time you get thirsty.

    And if you want to have it some distance from the house so you won’t get disturbed, you’ll also probably want at least a composting toilet. But if you have a toilet, you’ll probably want a sink to wash your hands, so you’ll need a water line and drain line, either back to the house or to a septic tank. And if you’re washing your hands, you’ll probably want hot water to do so, so you’ll need at least an inline water heater or a small tank water heater. And once you’ve done all that, you’ll find you’ve actually built a small house.

    Now if you want a small house to get away and write in, that’s fine, especially if you’ve got a lot of acreage to put it on. But by the time you’ve finished, you’ll have spent a lot of money. It might simply be better to just dedicate a room in your house, or maybe fix up some attic space, and call that your writing room. It’s not as fancy as a little cabin in the woods, but it’s a whole lot cheaper. And when you do get rich and famous, just buy that Victorian mansion with a tower and make that your dedicated writing room. Besides, it’s not where you write, but what you write that matters, and you can do that anywhere inspiration hits you.

    • Keri Peardon says:

      The writing cottage (nee shed) isn’t obtainable right now because of a lack of cash. I definitely want one pre-built. I want it dropped on our property, ready to be used. All I want to have to do is paint it and move some furniture into it. I’m planning on putting it near our barn, so it won’t be hard to run an electric line to it. I drink warm green tea all day, so a fridge isn’t necessary; I can just make up my pitcher in the morning and take it out with me. A toilet isn’t necessary either; it’ll be good for me to get up every hour and walk to the house. Good way to get in a little exercise.

  4. Wallace says:

    Oh, and I just found this, the same building you show above, from Lowes for $2249

    http://www.lowes.com/pd_53863-54774-C96_4294720408__?productId=3076361&Ns=p_product_qty_sales_dollar|1

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