Ever since Worldcon, I’ve been wondering whether I should self-publish my novel.
I even thought about some pros and cons.
Reasons Not to Self Pub
Lack of respect from the traditionally-published. Although they already probably don't respect me since I'm non-published, so there's not really anything to lose.
I am totally inexperienced at this. Of course, I'm totally inexperienced at writing novels in general.
I suck at self-promotion. Hence this blog: my feeble homegrown attempt to stake out a presence.
Reasons to Self Pub
The Martian did it.
In fact, lots of people do it, even successful ones.
No book tours, press releases, airports or other unnerving manifestations of publicity.
Traditional publishing seems to be enmired in a culture war, judging from the Puppy Incident, and I’m not partisan enough to appeal to either side.
In fact, I’ve probably already got enemies due to my lack of partisan fervor. After all, I voted for a couple of puppies, and I no-awarded other puppies, thus nuking all kinds of fanbases before even getting out of the gate.
And finally, if I am self-pubbed, I have Complete. Creative. Control.
Which leads to the Great Big Colossal Elephant in the Room Reason to Self Pub:
My work is weird. I don’t have a fanbase yet, and I’m not even sure anybody will want to read this stuff.
- It’s non-dystopian, which could lead to accusations of not taking gloom and apocalypse seriously.
- It’s YA, which could lead to accusations of warping young minds.
- It veers away from the expected tropes in that it's sci fi without space, or aliens, or an all encompassing fascist government and not a whole lot of robots. It's got some deoxygenated oceans and all kinds of bioengineered weirdness, but it's not a space opera.
- It straddles the puppy war, with a diverse cast having wholesome adventures.
- It goes on for thousands of words. This may or may not be a good thing.
- It’s about as plot-driven as I could make it, just to spite the guardians of good taste.
- Something for everyone – and something to piss everyone off, too.
I have these fears that a big fancy publishing house will seduce me with the alluring lure of Real Authordom until I start signing things, and discover it’s a trap. And I will be expected to do silly things in the name of marketing, and make pleasant small chat, and visit airports, and write the kind of things where I feel like I have lead weights glued to my fingers.
Maybe they will also say things like, “Say, your protagonist is a very nice youth, but could you maybe make him a sparkly vampunicorn, because marketing is projecting those will trend in the third quarter? And also, could you do something about those long run-on sentences and those occasional stealth Tom Swifties?”
And I just couldn’t.
I found a very nice cover artist on the interwebs and right now I’m trying to get up the nerve to just email him and just do it.