I have had a life-long love affair with writing. There is something about creating fiction that makes me feel whole. It’s therapeutic and thrilling. When I haven’t done it in a while, my world is off-kilter, and the only remedy is to find a quiet spot, power up my laptop, and open a blank Word document. That’s how I know I’m meant to be a writer.
But am I meant to be published? I’m about to find out.
I have fought the idea of self-publishing for 10 years—since I finished my first manuscript. Back then, I thought self-publishing was a less than desirable path to take. Anyone can self-publish, after all, and some just shouldn’t. I always had it in my head that I would know I had arrived as an author when I was picked up by a publishing company. Self-publishing meant no one wanted me, right? And if I wasn’t good enough, why would I put the book out anyway?
Man, have things changed. More and more indie authors are taking their destiny into their own hands instead of waiting around to get “the call,” and they are succeeding big time. What seemed like an unattractive option 10 years ago now looks like the quickest and easiest option.
Don’t get me wrong: self-publishing is not easy. As a self-published author, you have to wear all the hats: you have to write the book, edit and revise the manuscript many times, find beta readers, hire a professional editor, hire a book cover artist, format the manuscript for publishing, research publishing services, build an audience, and create a marketing plan. And then you have to put all these things into action. If you’re like me and you work a full-time job, it all seems very daunting. I have gone back and forth since the new year over whether I really want to pursue this.
I keep coming back to that little Jennifer, age 9, trying to write her own Laura Ingalls Wilder-esque story on her mom’s old typewriter. And Jennifer, age 12, hiding in her room, writing her first novel. I owe it to her to try, even though I have no idea how I’m going to pull it off.
My biggest fear is that I will fail. That life will get in the way, that I won’t meet my deadlines, and that all this effort in trying to build an audience will be for naught. How embarrassing—to have to disable my Facebook author page or shut down my blog, right? But then I realized this: as a self-proclaimed writer, isn’t it more embarrassing to have never tried? So here I go.
It’s going to be a wild ride—this self-publishing adventure. As a magazine editor by day and a freelance manuscript writer, I know some stuff about writing and editing. I’m also surrounded with a lot of professional writers and editors who are happy to share their knowledge. If you’ve ever thought about self-publishing, join me on this journey. You’re sure to find something helpful you can apply to your own writing goals.