Welcome to another stop along the Read Self-Published Blog Tour!
I'm going to take a moment outside my regular, more lighthearted blogging nature, to speak seriously about what it means to self-publish my books.
It all comes down to choice.
There's something truly empowering about choice.
There's a perception that still lingers around authors choosing self-publication. And I say "choosing" deliberately because often the perception is that it wasn't a choice, that instead it was a matter of "settling" – settling for second best maybe. Or not even second best. Maybe just settling for what we could get.
But I know so many authors today who made a deliberate choice to self-publish and I stand proud as one of them. For us, it wasn't about settling. It was about empowerment. It was about taking control of our own careers, of having choice when it came to matters surrounding the art of our souls.
It's no little thing to allow someone else the power to choose the cover of your book, the artist to illustrate it, the marketing it receives (or doesn't), the manner in which it's formatted, even the types of stories you'll write, anything from their length to their plots to their very genres. Having those choices stripped away is like a form of death. To our art. To our visions. To our worlds.
I emailed a traditionally published author, one of my favorites, about eight years ago, asking why she'd chosen to switch sub-genres. I absolutely loved the historical romances she'd been writing for more than a decade, but now she was writing romantic suspense, and I didn't enjoy them anywhere near as much. At the time, I read both genres voraciously and felt that, although this author was exceptionally gifted at creating her historicals, her romantic suspense novels lacked their depth and charm. Her reply to me (and I was thrilled to receive a reply) was that her publisher wanted her writing in the romantic suspense genre because they felt that was where the readership was.
What a tragedy.
I wanted to ask her if it was what she wanted to be writing. Was she happy following this new road? I didn't want to rub salt in the wound, though, in case she wasn't. Maybe she was fine with it, but I was truly disheartened to think that maybe she'd given up her passion to follow the demands of her traditional publisher.
Self-published authors make choices every day that more traditionally published authors don't have to make. Or don't get to make. It depends on your perspective. From my perspective, getting to choose my illustrator is worth everything to me. I have the most amazing illustrator in the world for both my Tyrabbisaurus Rex and Shifter High series. I wouldn't give up Jeanine Henning for the most lucrative, traditional contract in the world. It would be like stripping those books of their life, the characters of their personality. It would be like peeling them down to the barest of bones and leaving them to wither and die.
None of this is to say there's anything wrong with choosing to go the traditional route. After all, that's the point I'm making.
It's our choice. And no matter how we choose, we own it because it's ours. Whether the choice is for a more traditional route, a completely indie one or a hybrid path, we choose.
As for me, I'm thrilled to have made the choice I did. I'm honored to be a part of the self-publishing community. I hold my head high and when people ask about the choice I made, I always tell them it's because I get to make choices that I made the one I did. I choose the length of my books, their subject matter, which taboos I break, which genres I write in, which illustrators I work with, which covers I approve, which book I write next and which book I'm not ready to write (or never want to write).
I choose. There's nothing more empowering than that.
Read self-published works. I guarantee you'll find an amazing array of gifted authors whose choice to break from tradition has meant that their works are anything but traditional. They break all the rules and in the doing, give their readership the gift of unique and varied reading choices.
Thanks for visiting my stop on the Read Self-Published Blog Tour. You can go back to the beginning here or head on to the next stop here. Find out more about events planned during Read Self-Published Month here.
Best wishes and happy reading!