For some, I suppose, there is no question. They've dreamed of being a traditionally published author. Or they just don't have the time, energy, or desire to take on the roll of (or seek out) editor, designer, graphic artist, publicists, etc.
For others, self publishing is more appealing. They want complete control over the finished product. They don't want to settle for a measly percentage of sales. Or, in the case of David Beers, author of the recently self published The Devil's Dream, these four simple reasons made self publishing the only way to go....
I remember being unsure about whether to traditionally publish or self-publish. I remember being unsure even after I self-pubbed my first book. I remember being unsure after my second. I remember being unsure up until about 2/25/2014, which, at this writing, was three days ago. Three days ago, I understood without a doubt, that regardless of the economics underlying either one of the choices, I wasn’t going to traditionally publish. Here are the 4 reasons why:
1. I can’t work for anyone else. I mean, I’m almost unemployable. I hate being questioned; I hate being talked down to; I hate being told what to do. If someone even ASKS if my data could possibly be wrong, I almost have an aneurysm. My jaw opens slightly, my eyes turn into boiling pots of hate, and I stare at them…until they leave—and, that’s about a job I really don’t care that much about. I can’t imagine what it would be like to have a publisher tell me I have to change something in my novel or it’s not coming out. I can’t imagine an editor cutting huge chunks from my novels to make it fit their word counts. There is no doubt, in any of those two situations, that I would end up in jail for murder. So where does that leave me? I’m unable to take order from anyone else but I can’t stop writing? Self-publishing.
2. I don’t want to just be a writer. This goes back to not wanting to work for anyone, but it also extends from that. I want to produce, and I want to produce things that I’m proud of. In self-publishing, writer is not your only title; in the beginning, CEO of a start-up would be more apt, and when you reach Konrath status, CEO of a one-man corporation. When you begin to think of self-publishing like that, at least for me, it revealed a whole new meaning of what I was actually doing. My job wasn’t simply to write novels. It was to control everything, from the first words I type on my computer, to what I’m reading to keep myself educated on the industry. Which leads me to my next point.
3. Control. Not over just your business, but of your destiny. I’m not at the whim of a manager who may or may not like me. I’m not plugging away at making my numbers for the quarter so that the corporation’s stock rises a few points. I control my life. When I wake up, when I go to bed. How hard I work and in turn, how much success I have from that work. I write what I want. My covers look how I want. I implement the edits I want. When I think about it, longer term, I can’t imagine failure if I’m in control, because, quite simply, I won’t quit.
4. Hard work. I’m addicted to it. Literally, I may end up in some kind of twelve step program someday, but not until I’m rich. They never tell the unsuccessful that they’re work-a-holics, they just say they’re trying to make ends meet. Right now I work sixteen hour days, Monday through Friday, and a little less on the weekends. I end each day completely spent, with maybe only a few minutes to read the current novel I’m on before my eyes shut. There isn’t any other way I would want to live. Now, I know I can work that hard for a corporation, or as a teacher, or any other profession, but with self-publishing, I get to do what I love. I get to write. I get to speak with fans. I get to create, and I get to do it all day, every day, if I choose.
Those four reasons aren’t for everyone and, to use a cliché, self-publishing isn’t for everyone. They’re for me though; they fit everything about my personality. This isn’t a choice for me anymore—I simply won’t traditionally publish.
Unless they offered me like an eight figure deal. Then I could probably throw those four reasons away.
I used to deliver pizza. I was pretty good at it, too. I mean, it's not that hard, but if I'm not going to brag, who is, right? Anyways, so I'm delivering pizza while I'm in college, and my boss has been in the pizza industry like six years. He's supposed to graduate from college this year, and I ask him, what are you going to do after college? We're all supposed to go out and conquer the world right after college, so this guy has to have some kind of plan. He looked at me like I was delusional. "I'm a writer, man." Those four words changed my life more so than anything else ever spoken to me.
I'd always written, since I was twelve participating in online-wrestling forums in which you acted out your character. I wrote because it came naturally. Never once, in the entirety of my nineteen years did I think that writing could be a career though, until a Pizza Sage said those four words to me. So what did I do? I went home and wrote a short story and immediately understood that I was the greatest writer to ever touch a keyboard. I brought it to the Pizza Sage and he told me what anyone could have told me--it was horrible. I might be dumb, probably am, but I'm also tenacious.
I spent the next seven years writing almost every day. My first novel grew to the length of 40,000 words, then I threw it away. My second novel grew to 140,000 words. I didn't throw it away, but it was rejected about 50 times by agents. My next novel ended up at around 55,000 words, which I showed to a few friends and shelved. Then I wrote Dead Religion, which received amazing reviews. I just put out my newest novel The Devil’s Dream! (Get in touch with David through Twitter or Facebook)