Monday, March 15, 2010

Madness and Self-Publication

About ten years ago, I got my life back from the Kerfuffle Monster (otherwise known as the Day Job and Other Life Issues). That beast had pretty much shut down my writing for over a year, and I had finally battled my way back from the abyss. I got back my time, and sanity.

I needed to get my good habits back, though. I needed to throw myself into something, but since my skills were rusty, I also needed to shut down my inner critic. I needed to do something fun, with full permission to fail.

So I started my first novel dare. I was going to write a "trashy romance" in two months. It would be just an experiment and pure fun - something that broke some rules. And not big exciting rules, but a quiet rule; I was going to write something that concentrated on the drama of the story, and which contained none of the elaborate "world building" I'd been trained to do by my SF writer friends. This story would be set in a simple, sketchy world that was almost like a theatrical backdrop.

Which meant, of course, that it would be unpublishable. It wasn't historical, and it wasn't fantasy, and it wasn't realistic. And me being me, it was also not in the least bit trashy. Sigh.

But there was something magical about it, and everyone who read it was enthusiastic about it. Still, other than trotting it out and doing a little rewriting on it, I just left it in a drawer.

However, I have two drives in my life. One is writing, the other is entrepreneurship. I come from a long line of entrepreneurs, and I often hear the internet business sirens call. I expect to start self-publishing ebooks one day, probably reprints of short fiction for free as a promotional thing. Or at least so I thought.

The thing is, there are two rules of entrepreneurship: The key one, the most important one is: Start Now. The other is: Experiment (i.e. fail a lot before you succeed).

What, oh what, do I have in my arsenal that I could possibly experiment with? I need to save my mysteries for the "legit" publishing world. One day I will self-publish that not-trashy romance, but it really isn't something I should do before I have a good reputation, should I? But maybe I could publish it under a pseudonym!

So I pulled out the book and took a gander at the opening page, and kept reading. And reading. I couldn't stop. So... I'm thinking I may even put my real name on it.

This week I will be defining the task ahead of me. I will need not only to proof and edit the manuscript properly, but have a professional looking cover, and good catalog copy, and register the copyright and do layout and figure out what website to send readers to in the author note a the end.

By the end of this week, I will have set my goals and time line.


Jessica Bell said...

Why don't you try and publish it the tradional way?

The Daring Novelist said...

Short answer: because it was never designed to be published the traditional way.

I'll go into other reasons as the Dare wears on (especially when I talk about pseudonyms) but that the big one. You could say I wrote this novel specifically for self-publication. I just had in mind that I would pull it out long after I established myself in my main genres.