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Self-Publishing: The Creative Revolution

09-07-15a cover_jun09Jess C Scott the author of ‘EyeLeash’, talks about why she made her decision to self-publish.

I have to say that I was rather naïve in the past. I thought whatever writing talent I had would be instantly recognized by the “professionals in the field”.

Surely, I thought, despite my lack of qualifications (no MFA here), and publishing credentials (I have some now)—surely there was SOMEBODY out there with the vision and courage to give aspiring talent a chance. It’s happened in the past to authors. All it takes is that one person to believe in you. So I boldly took that first step.

I completed EyeLeash, my first novel, when I turned 21. I was determined to have it published by the time I was 23 (which I will be in September this year).

I went through the whole gamut.

I drafted (and then tweaked) my query letter, in late 2007. I went to AgentQuery.com, searched for agents who handled my book’s genre, personalized the queries, and sent agents exactly what they wanted [“first 10 pages only”—“first 5 pages only”—“first 50 pages”—“first and last chapters”—“TNR font and font size 12”—“sample chapter and contact info in body of email only”—“add last name and title of the novel, on the upper-left corner and page number on the upper-right corner of each page (both in font size 10)”].

So on and so forth.

The furthest I got with EyeLeash was a discussion with an editor for 6 months, before he decided to leave for another publishing house.

Yes, I started all over again. Because I used to think having my manuscript accepted by a literary agent/editor/publisher would be the hallmark of success.

Perhaps I was influenced by what a literary agent had/has to say about self-publishing.

From the 2008 Guide to Literary Agents:

“…the extra effort and expense smacks of trying too hard…it conveys the sense that the material may already have made the rounds before—else why the desperation to self-publish?”

~ Rob McQuilkin (literary agent)

 

“Desperation to self-publish.” Initially, I took that phrase very seriously.

I only realized (once I tried it out myself) that self-publishing nowadays is POD (print-on-demand) – this means little, or no costs upfront. Which obliterates the “extra effort and expense smacking of trying too hard.”

I didn’t know about the long list of authors who have self published their own works, at some point in their lives: e. e. cummings, Beatrix Potter, William Blake, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Ernest Hemingway, D.H. Lawrence, Anaïs Nin, Edgar Allan Poe, Alexander Pope, Beatrix Potter, Ezra Pound, Marcel Proust, Gertrude Stein, Henry David Thoreau, Mark Twain, Walt Whitman, and Virginia Woolf (and many more!).

So in June 2009, I finally decided to self-publish my debut novel. My praises for it were instantaneous.

I love having full creative control – from designing the book cover, to the actual book’s content, to deciding when/where/how I’d like to market my work.

What I love more is the speed and relative smoothness of the whole process.

No need to wait eons, to hear back on the status of one’s manuscript.

No need for hopeless trips to the post office.

No need to worry about warehousing and inventory (since it’s POD).

No need to wait one to two-and-a-half (bleepin’) years, before the book is available to the public.

There’s an article on Publishers Weekly, on the current state of the publishing industry.

As quoted from the original source:

a) “2009 (will be) the worst year for publishing in decades…”

b) “this means…the willingness of publishers to invest time and money in developing new projects and of retailers to risk stockpiling unknown authors may drop precipitously…”

c) “under these circumstances, some writers may be willing to…establish a direct relationship with a retailer such as Amazon, thereby undermining the exclusive role of publishers in the long run.”

Full article: http://www.publishersweekly.com/article/CA6626103.html

One has no real need to lose sleep over point (b), because of point (c).

And the part about “undermining the exclusive role of publishers in the long run”?

I have to say: I like it!

………………..

 09-07-15b tabdiced2

Jess C Scott is the author of EyeLeash: A Blog/IM Novel.

She is getting ready to launch her second book, by her 23rd birthday.

+ Main Website: http://jesscscott.com

+ EyeLeash Book Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jnRoFDRwMmw

+ Twitter: http://twitter.com/jesscscott

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11 comments to Self-Publishing: The Creative Revolution

  • Hey thank you for sharing that Shack, the publishing industry is floundering around at the moment I think, trying to work out all of this new-fangled stuff.

    As one who has done the “try to get it published bizzo” with publishers, I know haw frustrating it is for a writer. When I self-published my little book “Dig it! Gardening tips for Dogs”, it was much more fun. The illustrations were done by a friend of mine, and the connections with real live people when I sell them a copy is lovely. I have heard the nicest and most terrible stories about what dogs have done to gardens.

    But the distribution part of the self-publishing thing is hard work, even if some of it is fun.

  • Lee

    So this is your new website…hahah did not realise!!!! Sorry!!!! Lovely to see you and Angela last night…thx for coming over :) x

  • Jess has just announced that she is combining with SmashWords and for a limited time is giving away EyeLeash for FREE, (which is what giving away means).

    The link is http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/2864

    Please, will anyone taking the time to look at her book and at how she manipulates modern media into a new story telling experience, take the time to write a review so as to help others gauge the book when it is no longer free. (short is better than none.)

  • [...] Guest posted on fellow writer Andy Shack’s blog, on my thoughts on self-publishing. Filed under: writing   |  Leave a [...]

  • Best of luck to Jess and people like her who are refusing to allow the gate-keepers of traditional publishing to deny them admission to their select and in-bred club. Agents and editors are the OLD way of doing business–now, thanks to new technologies, we can bypass them and go directly to readers. And if we are successful enough, the publishers come to US. Here’s but one recent example of an author using their own resources to achieve publication and exposure:

    http://www.mediabistro.com/galleycat/authors/book_deal_for_selfpublished_kindle_author_121371.asp

    And don’t forget the story of Terry Fallis, who self-published his novel BEST LAID PLANS through iUniverse and ended up winning the prestigious Stephen Leacock literary award…AND THEN securing a major literary agent and mainstream publisher for his book.

    Self-publishing/indie press requires sacrifice, incredibly hard work, a strong faith in one’s abilities and, above all else, perseverence. I’ve been doing it for over 20 years now and it’s still a struggle. BUT…I maintain control over my work, my vision, and can present readers with intelligent, literate prose that is accessible to them wherever they are in the world, from Toronto to Timbuktu.

    In that sense, I feel I’m a lucky, lucky man…

  • Carolyn, Thanks for taking the time to comment. I for one had forgot about the ‘human rewards’ that can come with self publishing and actually being out there with your ‘public’.
    Is there a hint of gaining more material that way for any follow up book?

    Lee, Hi, yes ditto, still too full to move this morning. Smaller portions next time please.

    Cliff, Thanks for the comment and the link. The book before the deal scenario, is something I have been using to argue against the self-publishing stigma. The houses with their large distribution networks don’t care about any stigma if they smell money from any enterprise.

    Just a bit of blatant cheekiness, I wonder if you might have a list of things to do, not do and warnings that might help Jess and any other readers? Very happy to post such wisdom up on this blog or cross post a link to your site(s)

  • Andy: I’ve written quite extensively on indie writing and self-publishing on my blog–here are a couple of my more pointed essays:

    http://cliffjburns.wordpress.com/2008/04/29/nobodys-fault-but-mine
    http://cliffjburns.wordpress.com/2009/01/20/preserving-the-future-a-modest-proposal

    And let me recommend two other sites (found on my blogroll) that celebrate all things indie and literary. I had a long conversation with author Pat Bertram about our experiences in the publishing world and why that motivated us to go it alone. Here’s that conversation:

    http://ptbertram.wordpress.com/2008/10/20/writing-discussion-with-cliff-burns-part-i/

    And Zoe Winters has a terrific site called Publishing Renaissance where she shares helpful tips and resources with fellow writers:

    http://publishren.wordpress.com

  • Thanks Cliff, Interesting reading there, I will add your posts to the Wash-up. As for the writers you reference; am I that hard? Nope. Am I that weak? Time will tell.
    I had come across Zoe Winters and her brilliant site before, often one of her posts gets linked on a Sunday and her site is well worth subscribing to. Which reminds me, my blog roll is way overdue for an update.

  • Hi Andy, well, I won’t be reprising the gardening theme, but in my book, there is mention of another book coming about about Sex from a dog’s point of view. I have a male dog who think he is gods gift to lady dogs, and I’ve been breeding dogs since 1989.
    I know a bit about the subject. I’m not sure if that one is ever going to get written though – the illustations could be tricky, and my illustrator is busy having a working life, so who knows. I do know there is one woman in Mallala who really wants to read the sequel to “Dig it” though!
    I’m not sure why she’s so keen, and I don’t want to know why!

  • Well, I honestly think it’s quite likely that the publishing industry will go the way of newspapers, some time in the future.

    I had this little hierarchy system a couple of years ago:

    If there weren’t any writers, there’d be no editors, and no agents.

    So if there were no writers, editors/agents would be out of a job. If the latter two were obliterated, I wouldn’t highly doubt that it’d make the world a better place.

    I’ve had people say to me that I’d “better watch what I say”, etc., in case I “hurt my chances of getting a book deal with these people who could help me in future.”

    If I *am* already selling many copies by then — those are the exact people who’d be knocking on my door, due to the scent_of_money.

    If they’re still around by then, that is.

    * Andy, I might extend the free deal for the blog novel (just noticed the coupon other than the one Smashwords set for their sale during July, lol!) — my top priority right now is getting my name/work out ^^. It’d be easier for teens/young adults to get their hands on it that way too.

  • [...] with the sex lives of teenagers as their subject matter. She writes a blurb about why Self-Publishing is the new revolution, or as on her website, “kicks [...]