A lot has happened since I started writing novels fifteen years ago. Back then most writers considered New York publishers the only way to go, and the only way to be real authors. These days, writers are more realistic, myself included. A lot of us have become self-published authors, and are happy with that.
Writers, Have Realistic Expectations
We’re small fish in a big pond. There are many thousands of writers, and few New York publishers. That kind of publication isn’t going to happen for every writer, no matter how good we are at writing, despite our amazing, unique characters and fascinating plots.
Writing is meant to be fun. Consider it a complex and challenging hobby, and you won’t be disappointed.
One of my long-time writing friends online has recently gave up on supporting herself as a novelist. She went back to work outside her home. There’s nothing wrong with that, but why should earning money while working for someone else end all effort put into fiction writing?
Of all my friends who consistently sell their manuscripts (to small press publishers) she has always stood out, to me, as the most likely to succeed big-time. She’s a talented writer with unique, fascinating ideas. She’s got lots of books in print and a few outstanding books self-published for Kindle on Amazon. But the money isn’t there – at least, not enough to provide for her family’s needs.
I don’t like seeing good writers give up, but what makes that happen? I believe the problem is in having unrealistic expectations. We’re not all going to win the Newbery Medal. We’re not all going to have New York Times best-selling novels.
The Publishing Industry is not “Traditional”
Most of us will never get published by what people still insist on calling “traditional” publishers. I say those publishing businesses are not traditional at all. They’re young upstart companies that tried to make self-published authors feel incompetent so they can keep more of the book sales money for themselves.
The truth is that self-publishing is traditional and publishing businesses are just part of the prevailing industrialization of every aspect of life. Where there’s money to be made, a materialistic entrepreneur will try to grasp as much of it as possible.
Self-Published Authors are Creative, Not Vain
For years the public has been brainwashed into thinking that self-published writers are “vanity” publishers. Folks, that’s an insult. It is a marketing ploy by people who don’t want the competition of people who aren’t dependent on the industry.
We don’t publish for vanity. We publish because a novel is our creative work of art, and we want to share it with the world. These are our stories. They are our contributions to the history of the world. Would you call an artist vain just because he displays a painting? No! So writers who self-publish their novels are just the same.
Don’t let anyone tell you not to be published. Just create the best manuscript you can, edit it numerous times so you don’t look grammatically ignorant, and put it out there for people to read. I’ve done it and am so glad I did.
There are way too many writers for them all to be published by the big five in New York City. There are hundreds of thousands of novels being edited right now, by hopeful authors. They’re going to have to be creative about publishing as that’s the only way it will ever happen, for most of us.
Hope For Self-Published Authors
I love e-book publishing. Here’s an opportunity open to anyone to show what they can write. There’s almost no cost to it. Just set everything up and make it available on Amazon for the public to discover.
If we want a hard copy – a real book to hold or share with others, or to sell in stores, it is easy to do on CreateSpace. Yes, there’s a learning curve to all of this, but it is part of becoming a self-published author.
An artist has similar hoops to jump through. An artist develops a style, hones his skill, practices daily, buys paints and canvases, learns to create frames, staples canvas to them, applies gesso, fine-tunes his brush choices and skills, and so on. There’s a learning curve to all of that. And if artists can do an amazing variety of tasks, so can writers.
Writers practice daily, develop a style and a voice, learn to plot novels or explore writing via active inspiration. They learn what works and what doesn’t. They learn to edit, edit, edit. They learn to critique and be critiqued gracefully. They learn to put their book manuscripts into e-book form, choose or create a cover, and hit the publish button. Yes, we can do all that. We are self-published authors.