The other day I came to this fork in the road and had to make a decision.
But once I made it, it was like a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders.
I decided to self-publish instead of seeking an agent and publisher. The whole idea of going through the Industrial Literary Publishing Complex is daunting, and the more I read about it, the more distasteful and rigged the whole thing seems. Especially the NYT best seller list.
I hate the idea of having to constantly be out there promoting yourself, going to events, doing readings and much of it, on your own dime. The publishing company does not do diddly-squat in terms of promotions and lays that burden on you, the author.
The money is shit, even if you get a $100,000 advance, there are agent percentages, taxes, travel fees, etc etc etc and after all has been said and done, it whittles down to a pittance. The publisher only gives out the money in increments, ½ up front, ¼ on delivery of the manuscript and ¼ upon publication.
I have done DIY since high school, and I have never once regretted it. Rather than kiss up to the “gate keepers of cool” and hope they include me in their reindeer hipster cool games, I prefer to go it alone.
Being an independent rather than trying to curry favor with people who are in some semblance of power is not something I have ever done nor will I ever put myself through it. It isn’t worth it.
I am part owner of a publishing company, Brennan Dalsgard Publishers which publishes and distributes my posters and the book Circus of the Scars. I realized what the fuck, I should just keep doing what I am doing because the company is already set up and is working beautifully.
Once I made that decision, wow. It was like a window opened and I was free from all these fears, these imaginary self-imposed constraints I was putting myself into and it was actually affecting my output in terms of thinking about what “they” (the agent and publisher) would be looking for rather than what I want to put out there.
I feel I can totally do this, it will be less work to self-publish on my own terms rather than being roped into something an agent or publisher would think would be better. I keep thinking of the term: Design by Committee which is why so many book covers look like crap.
Also, I honestly don’t think my book would fit with any publishing house or agent right now, it is just too - out there. There really isn’t any category for what I am working on, so rather than wasting precious time even trying to appeal to first an agent and then a publishing house, I would prefer to use my time wisely and go with DIY.
I decided to publish only 1000 books, a nice, tight small run and if they do well, I have the option of reprinting and if they don’t, well, at least I can say I tried. I might fail, it might suck, but at least I tried.