Monday, June 5, 2017

Announcement! (Don’t Get Too Excited)



I hate disappointment, so let’s cut to the chase: This isn’t some life changing revelation. Not for you anyway.

However, after being asked my opinion on publishing online, I discussed my decisions about how Stories of the Wyrd, Mighty Morphin’ Canine Tales, and my blog came into existence. In recent months, as many of you well know, I’ve been begrudging the evolution of my worry on the judgment of others, growing more and more afraid about “WHAT WILL THEY THINK?!” leading to some questionable (generic) choices on my part. My solution to this was to trust my own tastes a little more and be logical about what I was trying to do and what I wanted to happen.

In this process, I’ve come to the conclusion that I would spend the next five years writing exactly the books that I wanted to create, pushing them to meet my, albeit ridiculously high, standards, and working to get published. If, in that time, I do not end up getting my novels out to the world, I will sincerely consider self-publishing my actual manuscripts. (This is not my announcement.)

If I were to do so, I would do it right. There’s no telling how the industry will change in that time. The difference between publishing from 2008, 2013, and 2017 was astounding, literally the three times I actively pursued the process. But I do know that I will hire a trusted and experienced editor, that I will market it like a professional, and treat it as if I am actually my own publisher. This means some savings, risk taking, and just behaving like it’s a business and I'm my own client. Unfortunately, I'm kind of a demanding one.

One of the bigger reasons that I want a traditional publisher is my lack of experience in the field. I’m not a great sales person or business woman; I’ve never really done those things. So, sitting here, thinking about how little money I have, how little I try to get my work out there, the fact that I make excuses to avoid certain goals, I have come to the conclusion that I should follow an idea I had long ago (Wait for it…)

Next year I will be publishing the script Molly Aire and Becca Ette Do Theatre.

Ba da da dum!

I know. You're fascinated and want to know all about it. How did I come to this fantastical conclusion? Well, the evolution of thought followed like this:

For several years I've been talking to people (friends, foes, and complete strangers alike) about my work, my intentions, and just writing in general. How do you feel about online publishing? they asked. Why don’t you self-publish? they want to know. Just recently, I received this question online, and my long winded response?

I post episodic short stories on my website, offered for free to readers. A lot of factors went into this decision.

Mainly, I’m a prolific writer but a terrible submitter. I’ve only recently (two years ago) started to focus on being published after fifteen years of writing and numerous manuscripts stashed away. By the point that I said, “I need to be read! I can’t keep writing in isolation!” I knew that traditional publication would still take years to achieve, even in the best of circumstances, so I wanted to have something that I could share with the world in a timely fashion, just to keep my morale up.

Also, I was building up my social media and kept getting asked where my books were. I had some short stories published, but advertising them wasn’t the same. Now I can advertise my ‘big’ project, direct them to my online serial and not feel embarrassed about that question.

Part of it is emulation of success. One of my favorite authors I found via a free short story online. I was completely enamored with it and solely because of that bought her novel. I also stalk authors’ websites, and they keep my attention longer if they have new material (blog posts, fan art, Tweets, new books) fairly frequently.

I like indie authors, and I don’t believe that if something couldn’t be traditionally published it’s not any good. I think a LOT of self-published books are half-baked and impatient, but trad publishers and agents would be the first to tell you they reject plenty of good books simply due to time management or marketability.

I’m probably going to start self-publishing my plays, just to get some hard copies to offer up to theatres. Publishing in theatre works differently anyhow (they want to see some productions and reviews before they’ll consider it), so I don’t think this is a bad option.

Self-publishing is not out of the question entirely, but there are many things I currently prefer about the trad process, and would rather get the option to work with other people who can supplement my knowledge without breaking (my) bank. In five years or so, I might end up self-publishing, but I’d definitely want to save some money to do it correctly.

I decided these things right as I typed them out.

Of course, I had been considering them for some time, but it wasn’t until I said it that I began to realize it was something I wanted to do.

Self-publishing, I preach, is more difficult because you’re on your own without any credibility. If I ever go that route, it would be with full conviction; not a plan to get publishers attention, not a last ditch hope for validation, but because that was the path I was committed to. I don’t want to self-publish over working with an experienced investor, but I’d be lying if some of the process didn’t appeal to me. Having a self-published flop is not an option.

Having hard copies of my plays available online could potentially make reaching out to theatres easier. They could easily buy my work without having to go through me and I would have nice version to send out to any party interested in buying the work. And because theatre publishing is so different than novels, it’s success won’t be marked by sales of the specific copies, and the overall impression of being produced by an unknown publisher won’t be as influential.

At first, when I remotely considered it some years ago, all I wanted was to have an easy link to sell them on my website, but now I like the idea of seizing control, experimenting with the process, and learning more about publication in what I see as a lower stakes situation. I’ve talked to agents on a casual note about producing theatre in L.A., and they were intrigued but very confused on the process. My biggest fear about sending out something to the ether is having it lose me credibility, which we all know is a possibility.

I’ve learned a lot about self-publishing, and I’d like to put it to the test now. First is that marketing early is important, so that’s why I'm sharing this with you.

I am planning on having Molly Aire and Becca Ette launch in May 2018. I will be spending the next year working it into shape, getting outside opinions, workshopping with actors, hiring a good editor, and making it something I know I’m proud of. Good news is I’ll be able to talk about the process with you as I go, remind you of the long awaited play, but mostly show some insight into the process for anyone who is possibly considering online publishing themselves.



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