I’ve been seeing a few articles here and there lately, both old and new, about the business of self-publishing. They’ll come from both sides of the conversation. Some say the field has never been more robust and user-friendly, so it’s worth checking out; others will admit that it’s a viable avenue, but hint that you’re probably better off building up patience and going pro. [I usually avoid the oh god don’t do it, you’ll shoot yourself in the foot and will NEVER BE A LEGITIMATE WRITER EVER articles. In fact I usually avoid any article that hints that Everything Is Ruined Forever.]
I’ll admit, it’s not for the weak, and it’s not for the Day Tripper either. You’ve got to dedicate time, space, and money to it. You’re doing most of the work yourself, or at least farming it out to freelancers, and that doesn’t come free. You’re essentially producing, funding and recording your own album, in musical terms.
But that’s not to say that the non-writing part of it is like pulling teeth, especially if you’re going it completely alone like I am. It’s career knowledge, and it will definitely come in handy down the road, even if you end up going pro and signing with a publisher and/or an agent.
Formatting can be a tricky bastard, both for e-books and physical books. Both have their own idiosyncrasies that need to be ironed out and tamed before they should be sent out into the wild. Editing is just as tricky; there’s a reason writers joke about reading their own work using their Editor Brain rather than their Writer Brain. The cover may not be tricky to put together, but you certainly need to have an artist’s eye (and again, not the Writer Brain looking at it). In essence, you’re looking at the same object from multiple and often conflicting angles.
As I’ve said here before, I haven’t been doing all the work on the Bridgetown Trilogy on my own because I don’t trust outsiders toying with my work (or worse, that I think I can do it so much better than the pros). I’ve been doing it because I want to. I want to learn how to do it, and how to do it right. Okay, I admit, there’s a streak of selfishness there, that I enjoy being self-taught rather than shown how to do it, because that’s how I understand it more fully and completely. But the point remains: it can be done, if you’re willing to dedicate the time and faith to it.
After all, that’s the whole trick to writing, isn’t it?