Why I chose self-publishing (Part-One)

When I wrote Dark­house I had cer­tain ide­al­is­tic dreams on the hori­zon. Once the shock of actu­ally writ­ing a novel wore off, I started fan­ta­siz­ing about the next step. I would rewrite, rewrite, rewrite. Edit, edit, edit. Then send off query let­ters to agents and pub­lish­ing houses…maybe do that for six months and hope I got a bite some­where. Then lo and behold, some­one would see the genius in my idea and my series and want to sign me to a book deal. Cha-ching! Dream accomplished.

Only it didn’t go that way. See, I had decided that I wouldn’t rewrite or edit Dark­house until AFTER I was done Red Fox. I wanted to put a lot of time and dis­tance from the project so that when it came time to utterly demol­ish and remodel it, I wouldn’t be as attached. I also fig­ured that by going on and writ­ing the sec­ond book in the series, I would get to know the char­ac­ters even bet­ter which in turn would help the orig­i­nal rewrite. And finally…I just really wanted to keep writ­ing. Dex and Perry had places to go and peo­ple (or skin­walk­ers) to see and like hell I was going to hold them back. I was more than happy to go along for the ride.

The ride ended up tak­ing me nearly a year. It was worth it. I had a lot of other things going on, eat­ing up my time and dis­tract­ing me. But when Red Fox was fin­ished in Novem­ber 2010, in a condo in Palm Springs, it meant tack­ling Dark­house. And when that was done (at least the sec­ond rewrite was), it was time to send out query letters.

Oh. But wait. That’s not what hap­pened. I didn’t end up send­ing any query let­ters at all because I had stum­bled across an arti­cle about self-published won­derkid Amanda Hock­ing.  It wasn’t the fact that she was mak­ing money that inspired me (though I found the fig­ures to be stag­ger­ing), it was the fact that despite her being a self-published author, she was find­ing an audi­ence. An audi­ence that wasn’t dis­mayed or put-off by the fact that she wasn’t pub­lished through Ran­dom House or Pen­guin Books.

There’s a stigma attached to self-publishing, and I can’t say it is unjus­ti­fied. If any­one can pub­lish any­thing, then where is the bar set? I can only imag­ine that actual well-written books are hard to find in the self-publishing world.  Just take Rebecca Black and her god-awful “Fri­day.” That’s a prime exam­ple of the musi­cal equiv­a­lent of self-publishing.

But through Hocking’s tire­less mar­ket­ing and self-promotional strate­gies, and the fact that she is a good writer and churns out good sto­ries that peo­ple like to read, I thought, “Me too! I can do that.” Add in that, as a self-publisher, she was able to get her books out there ASAP (instead of the 1–2 year time­frame at tra­di­tional pub­lish­ing houses), and I was sold.

And thus, I never queried any agents. Now, I know haters are gonna say, “Ah, well she only self-published because no one else would pub­lish her” and I have to say NOT TRUE. I didn’t even try. I didn’t con­tact one pub­lisher or one agent. But you know what? Say that wasn’t true and I did con­tact them and they did turn me down… so what? Peo­ple get rejected all the time for dif­fer­ent rea­sons. The list of famous musi­cians, authors, actors, etc who were all told at first that they sucked balls is astound­ingly long. Did they quit? Did they throw in the towel? Fuck no.  If you really believe pas­sion­ately in some­thing, don’t let a few naysay­ers stop you. Even if your name is Rebecca Black.