True that. Sometimes, in order to be happy, you have to step outside of your comfort zone. Today, I did just that and started to work on the cover for a book I’ve decided that I will self-publish, hopefully on September 30th, my birthday.
Why is this uncomfortable? Well, mostly because I’ve got the ‘only real authors are published by proper companies’ way of thinking still firmly entrenched. I’m working on digging it out, because so many more people are self-publishing their works.
I’m also uncomfortable, because many people view self-pubbers as … a bit shit. They’re viewed as the sort of person that has been rejected a number of times but is absolutely convinced that their book is the book, despite the fact that it is actually a bag of utter shite.
And to be honest, there is a ton of utter shite in the self-publishing world. Mostly because the self-pubbers think that it’s fine to bang out a story, give it the once over, stick a crap cover on it, and then upload it. However, I’m not like that. Blaise Maximillian: Bitter Defeat will be edited and critiqued by people I respect, and who don’t give two figs for my feelings. If I’ve written a bag of absolute rubbish, they’ll not only tell me, they’ll frog march me out to the bins to make sure I dump it.
Granted, the cover’s not the best, but I’m hoping to address that once I’ve got a bit more money to put into the project and can pay a cover artist proper money. Not just offer them ‘exposure’, or a percentage of royalties that might never actually come into being. Naturally, I’m hoping that all of you will rush out and pre-order the book when I announce it, but there’s always the chance that you won’t. And I don’t want to find myself in that position.
One reason that I’m self-publishing this book is because it’s an anthology of short stories, and publishers don’t really go for such things unless an author is already well established. The other reason that I’m doing this is because my kidney issues have hammered home just how fragile life is. I refuse to waste more of my precious life waiting for publishers to get back to. Some have asked me to send them proposals and books, and I’m still waiting after more than 1.5 years for them to actually read them.
Authors and editors reading this might be thinking that I’m just being impatient, and that it demonstrates I’m rushing into things. But, when you’ve been ill, it well and truly makes one aware of mortality.
The final reason that I’m uncomfortable is because I’m doing this on my own. If there’s something wrong with it, it’s going to be my fault. I can’t blame the publishers, their editors, or their PR. I can only blame myself. Plus, if I publish it and people really do hate it, it’s going to suck. As with all authors I’m going to be careful not to engage with readers how are somewhat negative in their views, and I’m not going to concentrate on the one star reviews on Amazon. No, really. But it will be my baby. It’s a character I’ve had out there for a couple of years and I’m attached to him, and to have people not like him in such a way that they don’t want to read about him will hurt.
But, I’m still happy, because I’m doing two things. The first is that I’m actually getting off my arse and writing. The second is that I’m stepping outside of my comfort zone. By doing so, I’m forcing myself to grow. The next book I publish will be easier, the one after that even easier. And then it will be time for me to step outside of comfort zone in another way.