Saturday, May 28, 2011

Why I self publish

A commonly held belief seems to be that a self-published author is self-publishing because he/she isn't a strong enough writer to "make it" in the traditional publishing world. The writer has worn out all his/her options through traditional channels and just can't get that novel published--so he/she self-publishes as a last resort.

That's not true in my case. I'm only self-publishing because I don't like the idea of some editor standing between me and the reading public. I don't like the idea that one person, or a handful, wants to decide whether my book is worthy to be read by the world-at-large. I don't think we need gatekeepers. In addition to writing, I read a lot. And I'm perfectly capable of deciding whether or not I want to read something, or whether or not something is well written. I don't need an editor to pre-screen stuff for me. That's why I self-publish. I do it out of rebellion. Much like Pee Wee Herman, I am a rebel.

In the past, I have made the attempt to be published through traditional publishers. But it was a half hearted attempt, and I only submitted a small portion of my writing.

For example, most of the short stories in my collection Phantoms of the Mind were submitted to magazines such as Asimov's, The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, etc. And they were rejected.

And I submitted my novels The Last Legend, Demonspawn, and Billy Barnaby's Twisted Christmas to a grand total of about one or two publishers each. I queried a few agents regarding A Hijacked Life, with no interest from any. By no means did I exhaust the list of agents and publishers that are out there.

So out of the seven novels I've written, only four of them were ever submitted, and to only few publishers. The other three, I never bothered submitting. And I've written other short stories that I haven't submitted anywhere. Why? Because I decided I didn't like the "game" of traditional publishing, i.e. you send out a manuscript, or a query letter, and wait for months before hearing any response and then, on the off chance that they buy your manuscript, you wait another few years before the thing is actually published. And on top of that is my dislike of "gatekeepers" deciding whether my writing ever sees the light of day.

I don't know whether my writing is actually good enough to be published traditionally. And I don't care. What I care about is whether my writing is good enough to interest a reader to buy my books. I'm going to continue writing regardless, because it's in my blood and I can't stop. In the past, I've tried to stop myself from writing, but I always come back to it. What I like about the new digital revolution that's sweeping the publishing world is that the reader gets to decide whether they like my writing. Not the editors of the big publishing houses. That's the way it should be. Editors, in my mind, should only do one thing: edit a writer's writing. Check the grammar and spelling, perhaps suggest a few plot improvements and the like. To me, an editor should just be a glorified version of MS Word's spelling and grammar check. They shouldn't be empowered to withhold writing from the public if they don't deem it worthy. We don't need gatekeepers.

That's why I self-publish, and that's why I'm celebrating the earthquake that's shaking the foundations of the traditional publishing world.

Friday, May 27, 2011

What I'm working on now

Here is a list of what I've done this year and what I plan to do, in regards to writing.

For most of this year (2011) I've been writing and publishing erotica under a pen name. Not something I'm proud to admit, but there you are.

For the rest of this year, I've got several projects I'm working on. Normal stuff I'll publish under my own name, not erotica.

The first is a collection of short stories set in the same universe as my novel, The Big City. The collection will be called Tales From the Big City, and will be published sometime later this year. The first two stories are already evailable. I've got another Big City novel planned (called The Big City: Trace's Tale), but that's further down the road.

Also in the pipeline is a novel tentatively titled Flames of the Sun. It's a sort of Jay-Lake-ish clockwork novel about a geocentric universe where the sun orbits the Earth and there are two types of people: those directly created by God (called God-made) and those who are accidental by-products of evolution (called Earth-born). This should be available later this year.

Also planning a novel adaptation of my screenplay, The Miracle Brigade, which will actually be the first book in a series.

Currently working on a novel titled Inferno that I plan on publishing later this year.

Also planned is a novel/novella titled The Christian Mortician.

I'm also thinking about adapting my comic book series Snowybrook Inn into a collection of short stories, or possibly an episodic novel in the vein of Cugel's Saga by Jack Vance. This is the one I'm most excited about doing, because I love the world I created for the comic, and have a lot of stories planned out that were never drawn. Hopefully I'll get around to doing this.