So I said, “Screw it. If this industry won’t let me in the door, I’ll kick the damn door in.”
Because here’s the thing… why not me? Why not you? All of the people who have managed to turn their passions into vocations, weren’t they just ordinary people before they made it? Of course they were. They weren’t sitting around prepping themselves for success and waiting for it to show up at their door. Hell no. They were working like dogs to make it happen, probably working two jobs, maybe three, while raising kids and waking up early every morning to put in a few hours of writing, or painting, sculpting, developing software, baking cookies, or whatever else that drove them, all the while thinking, why not me?
It’s worth repeating: why not me?
Why not you?
So I self-pubbed my books, the long and short of which goes like this – you know that thing you have some serious passion for? Yeah, well, if that thing is writing and you choose to self-pub, you’ll spend pretty much all of your time doing everything but writing. It’s kind of like dreaming of opening a bar or restaurant. You imagine yourself standing behind some counter, toweling down glasses while cracking jokes with the regulars, who just love every minute of coming into your joint and show up everyday because they’ve got nothing better to do with their lives. Reality is, you’re in the back working on the books or running to the bank, your mopping floors, hiring and firing people, dealing with the FDA and so on for eighteen hours a day. Then you sleep for five seconds (boy, it sure feels good to get those boots off), the alarm blasts, and you get right back to it the next day. Standing around cracking wise with the regulars? Yeah, right. Even if you had regulars at your bar, they’re probably hitting you up for a tab they won’t pay because, after all, they’re a regular at your stupid bar!
Point is, self-pubbing seems pretty awesome because you’re in control of everything, but this is the main reason why self-pubbing is a drag. You’re no longer a writer, but a typesetter (read: software developer, because that’s what it takes to turn your written work into an eBook, trust me), a graphic designer, a publisher, and every other little detail you can think of.
What you do the absolute least is write.
Still, I put my stuff out there. I parted with thousands of dollars for publicity and all sorts of things, justifying it by assuming my totally awesome books would soar into the stratosphere and publishers would call me, crying about how they can’t believe they missed the point of my transcendent work and how they’re so sorry to have rejected the next great American novels.
It was pretty cool for awhile, I’ll admit. I did some radio interviews, got some really nice reviews from people I didn’t know, and basically felt like an author for the first time. I even got to get all pissed off at bad reviews, like, “These idiots don’t know good writing. Hmpf!”
I suppose I could have kept grinding in that direction and probably put my family in the poor house in the meantime, but I knew that splitting my time with all these other things just wasn’t for me. I wanted to write.
So I started querying literary agents again…