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.