It’s true. There are self-published authors out there who are disparaging the process of self-publishing, while still—begrudgingly—trying to sell their own self-published book.
As someone who is embracing the indie author movement the same way she embraces dessert, I don’t get it. It seems like some of these folks are jumping on what they see as a self-publishing band wagon because they don’t want to miss out on what it might bring even though they don’t seem to even want what it brings. And like any self-fulfilling prophecy, many of these authors are posting sales stats that seem to prove their resistance right. After a few weeks or months of half-hearted marketing combined with negative comments about self-publishing, they show their low sales as if to say, “See? See how bad this is?”
Self-publishing is not like a one-size-fits-all Halloween costume. It’s not going to fit everyone. For some authors, the dream of being a writer includes having an agent and a publishing contract, and they won’t be happy unless that is what they have—even if they are selling books on an indie platform. And when they self-publish instead of following their dream and querying agents, they are doing themselves a huge disservice.
I remember when I was a kid and I lost a tooth, I’d put it under my pillow and go to sleep. The next day, I’d wake to find a fresh dollar bill, which went right into my Incredible Hulk piggy bank.
As a kid, I had no concept of the value of money. I understood that I could exchange it later for some kind of material object, but in the now—which is what mattered most to me—it didn’t bring any satisfaction. Now my neighbors, well, I thought the tooth fairy liked them better because she left each of them a piece of gum under their pillow instead of a stupid dollar.
A. Piece. Of. Gum.
Naturally, I complained about this disparity to my parents, who seemed to have a direct line of communication to the tooth fairy and all other powerful, gift-bearing beings. I remember them being shocked that I would complain over this injustice, because while they saw a dollar as much more valuable than a piece of gum, I didn’t.
This is what self-publishing and being an indie author is for me. While those who strive to get contracts with the ‘Big 6’ might look at me in horror, I want nothing more than to be an indie author. I get the biggest thrill out of having total artistic and financial control over my projects. That means more to me than notoriety, advances, approval—whatever. And personally, I believe that being an indie author is like getting a dollar AND a piece of gum from the tooth fairy, because I get the artistic satisfaction of controlling my creation NOW, and the money as my reader platform grows and I create and sell more books.
Don’t worry about what everyone else is doing, getting, selling, making, whatevering. Do what you want to do—what makes you feel fulfilled. I honestly think it’s the only way you’ll come anywhere near meeting your own definition of success. Oh and if you see the tooth fairy, tell her I still stand by my decision to take the gum. After all, I remember having it and enjoying it—but I don’t remember anything that happened to all those dollars she sent.
Evelyn Lafont is a proud indie author and freelance writer. Her debut novella, The Vampire Relationship Guide, Volume 1: Meeting and Mating will be published for e-readers on March 31st. You can read the first chapter at her website, Keyboard Hussy.