Friday, June 1, 2012

To Self-Pub or Not to Self-Pub

That is the question. My answer: I will one day, I have no doubt. I have not yet.

Naturally, I have a story about this. I submitted a novella to a publisher who'd put out a call for a specific flavor of story. My novella did not make the cut, but I liked the characters and the story. So, I briefly considered self-publishing it. Why briefly? Because the rejection came in on a Thursday and by Monday morning, I had email from an editor desperate to fill a hole in an anthology she was editing. She asked if I had a story tucked in a drawer that I could dust off for her.

Yes, yes. Happy ending for the ugly duckling rejected story. I rewrote it, cut it to fit and shipped it saying I hoped the editor could use it. She laughed and said of course she would use it.

Here's my self-publishing point. I was dreadfully uncomfortable to have not come into the anthology the traditional way - via a submission that could be rejected. The story had already been rejected in one incarnation. Sure, I'd reworked it. But the point is, not every idea can be a hit out of the park, right? What if this story was just a stupid idea that deserved to be rejected? From this brief experience (which, again turned out just fine because the editor sent edits back saying it was a perfectly fine story. I got to refine it further based on her suggestions and fix what needed fixing) I discovered how much I rely on someone else telling me whether my story passes muster or not.

Why yes, I am a neurotic, self-doubting mess. What makes you ask?

It appears that self-publishing will require two things of me when I get around to it: 1. I'll have to suck up my emo and get a story out there so the market can tell me whether a story is stupid, mediocre or brilliant. 2. I'll want to pay a professional editor to tell me when something I've written isn't fit to wrap dead fish (and subsequently how to fix it - if it's worth saving at all).

I suspect that *how* one goes about publishing isn't as important as having plenty of content to publish on a regular basis. While I'm working on the content part, I follow several blogs that beat the self-publishing drum - places that will teach you everything you could ever want to know regarding the hows and whyfors of the process. (specifically her Thursday blog posts on the business) and which kind of covers everything under the sun, but if you hunt down his self-publishing posts, they're goldmines of information.

There you have my secret strategy: Keep writing and keep learning about self-publishing. 

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1 comment:

  1. Sounds like a great strategy - especially the keep writing part. =o)