In the beginning there was a dream, shared by budding writers everywhere, of being discovered by a traditional publisher and getting a book published. A real book!
I forget exactly when it happened, but it was ‘about’ two years ago that I surrendered to quitting.
Until then, I’d managed to ignore the self-publishing phenomena taking grip of the writing world. For the four or five years prior, in which I’d navigated social media, I had skipped the articles on promotion because I had no intention of going the Indie route. I wanted a big fat gatekeeper, smoking a cigar, to slap me on the back, cross my palm with money, and welcome me into the rarefied realms of the chosen.
Someone else could do the work of printing and marketing, I was the writer.
But after thirty years, I finally gave in. I realised that if a story of mine was going to see the light of day, I’d have to publish it myself.
Everyone says going Indie is the smart route because while you do all the work, all the money is also yours, as well as the rights, and the possibilities. This advice is coming from people I admire in the business like Bob Mayer and Jane Friedman and Kristen Lamb.
Even so, I hadn’t truly seen the positive side of having the whole project on my shoulders. I took it on, yes, but it felt like a weight. A problem needing to be solved.
I also was sad. Instead of being clapped on the back, I’d been given more jobs, and was looking at the prospect of only ever seeing my work in digital form.
Aren’t books going the same way as cash? Into the ether. We’re soon to be a cashless, and a bookless society.
As I got to the point with this debut where I sent the manuscript out to beta readers for checking, I regarded the road ahead, of marketing myself, with trepidation.
I had accrued enough understanding of the subject to write an article about it called, ‘The Melee of Marketing for the Modern Writer’ included in the IWSG book, Guide to Publishing and Beyond. I knew enough to be jaded. I asked myself, ‘Does any of this stuff work?’
A couple of months ago, at Ma’s service, I gave a speech in which I thanked her for support through the early years of my career.
I told the congregation the story of how I had worked on this book, ‘The Or’in of Tane Mahuta’, the last decade, and that bereavement had provoked me to recall the manuscript from the beta readers. I had sent it to a professional editor the day before the funeral. I had accelerated efforts towards getting it published.
Outside the church, I was surprised when I was approached by various members of my father’s community, who asked when my book was coming out as they would like to buy a copy. I realised that there are a lot of folks who would like to read a book, including myself, in solid form.
It doesn’t matter if the material is aimed at the young reader. I recall a quote, Kate de Goldi, shared with us, that children’s books are for everyone: “There is no such thing as a children’s book. There are simply books of many kinds and some of them children read.” ~ PL Travers
I thought, why not ‘put my money where my mouth is’, as my father would say, and invest in my own intellectual property?
I asked myself, wouldn’t it be nice to offer good folks like my dad’s community and family & friends the chance to buy this book as a paperback, as well as in digital form? Wouldn’t it be fun to celebrate the moment, and have a book launch and a party?
I decided to organize a small print run of 150 copies.
This week, I had a meeting with Steve, a local printer, (Book Print) to talk about it. We discussed format and design and laying this novel out to my specifications. I can’t even tell you! It was ‘pinch-me’ material.
In essence, I had given myself permission to have fun and make the most of this moment.
I had decided to make part of the original dream come true. No trad. publisher, but at least a book in hand.
That’s the thing about wearing all the hats; you get to make every teeny-weeny decision from cover, to blurb, to content, and the big decisions too.
Now that I’ve stopped being a big baby about it, I truly see the value of going Indie. This is why the movers and shakers in this business extol the virtues.
It’s about something much deeper than money.
It’s about creative control. Purity of vision.
I can tell you it feels good. Empowering. Rewarding. Amazing.
It’s also exhausting.
My mind is running at light speed. I wake up during the night with ideas.
No one’s denying it’s hard yakka and the options in the line of promotion are seemingly endless. But it’s worth it, and never fear, intrepid fellow Indies, I’m making a plan-of-action. When it’s complete, I’ll include it in another blog post.
Someone said once, that there is more voltage in ideas than electricity. A pure vision is a powerful thing. This is the liberating satisfaction of taking your genesis project from seed to plant to harvest.
The fruit is truly your contribution to the world.
“Intellectual Property has real value. Your ideas are the most important thing, you have to take ownership of it.” ~ Martin Baynton
More to come…
Yvette K. Carol
“Write as if no one will read it.” ~ Unknown. “And then publish it as if everyone will.” ~ Yvette Carol