Let me just be clear about one small point. Writing a novel was on my Bucket List. What was not on my list was publishing a novel. I wrote for myself, my family, and my friends. Those same people kept encouraging me to find a publisher for my work. Blame them!
The problem came with the “who and how” for publishing. Who would be interested and how would I find them? I submitted a blurb in a contest and wound up being asked to submit the full manuscript, but that resulted in something less than a satisfying experience for me. It wasn’t about being rejected, but it was about a level of arrogance on an executive editor’s part that was uncalled for. That’s a story of its own. But take a look around and what you’ll find is that there are very few print publishers who accept unsolicited manuscripts and finding an agent is its own unique search.
What I’m not interested in, is being treated like a commodity. The simple truth is that I prefer to be responsible for my own destiny. Even in the military, I was frequently in one-deep positions. I had a boss, but I worked alone for the most part. My time was my own, and my responsibility was to accomplish my assigned duties. Being an author is a lot like that. I don’t need someone else to impose deadlines and restrictions – I’ll do it myself.
It’s also not about being able to work with someone. I’m quite capable of getting along with others – most of the time. And, for the record, I’m not afraid of criticism. There are about ten people who beta-read for me, and trust me on this, they are not afraid to criticize me. Sometimes I wish they were. I listen to them (they’re smart people) but in the end, the person who decides what goes in is me. That’s why I’m careful to only work with people who I respect. The coolest thing about being on my own – I chose my own editor (poor Marcia is regretting that one), my cover designer, and the rest of my team. Also for the record – I love my team.
There are two other reasons for me to do it this way. They go hand-in-hand with each other.
Marketing and earnings. I’m watching wonderful authors who have traditional publishers, and they are working their butts off to market their own books. If I’m going to work that damn hard, then I want to keep a little more of the money. Hold your mail – if you’re happy with your publisher, then I’m happy for you! It’s not about you and your deal – this is about what makes me happy.
So as always, I’ll go my own way. Being on my own, writing what I want to write, selling less, but making more on what I do sell, and working with a team of people that I respect and love. For me, it simply doesn’t get any better than that.