So many folks have asked me how the heck I did this.
The answer? Bloody easily.
Well, not the writing/editing/formatting part - that's hard friggin' work, especially if you're borderline OCD like I am.
But the self-pubbing, that was a pretty easy decision for me to make.
See, here's the old way of doing things:
Write the best story you've got. Submit query letters to agents. Collect rejection letters for months, maybe years, until you find one willing to represent you. Submit queries to publishers. Collect rejection letters for months, maybe years, until you find one willing to publish you. Give up control of the creative process. Accept a crappy advance as a new author. Receive a mere pittance of the selling price of your masterpiece. Do your own marketing anyway because you've probably gone through a smaller house as a newbie.
Knowing all this, I did it anyway. Yes, I submitted Solstice to a publisher. I had to, on principle. Last November, I sent off the first three chapters along with a synopsis of the rest, and waited to see whether it would pass the gauntlet. Seven weeks later, I received a request from them for a full manuscript - a very auspicious sign indeed! I immediately sent the rest of the book and waited for more (hopefully good) news.
Turns out, two months later, the CEO herself emailed me to tell me the manuscript had somehow gone missing and would I please resend it, because she was very excited to read it and was glad it didn't fall through the cracks.
Of course I resent it, and of course I resent it immediately, and waited for what I thought would be the best news EVER.
I didn't have to wait long, though. Less than 48 hours later, I got the Dear John "thanks but no thanks."
After waiting FOUR MONTHS.
Needless to say, rather than waste my time repeating this heartbreaking cycle of total fucking nonsense, I went with the new way of doing things:
Write the best story you've got. Create an account on CreateSpace, Amazon's program for self publishers. (There are others out there, but I went with Amazon's based on the recommendation of another self pubber, Hugh Howey, who did a killer AMA on Reddit about the subject. Matter of fact, this whole spiel is a Cliff Notes version of the advice he gave on that thread.) Get a free ISBN. Download an interior template and a cover art template from the site. Create your interior file and cover art file. Upload 'em. Get a proof, either digital or hardcopy (I got the hardcopy - cost me all of $8 with shipping and I had it inside of a week). If you need to make changes, repeat. If not, set your price, pick your distribution channels, and hit the go button. Congrats, you're self pubbed, and your work is available for purchase within hours.
Now, make a Kindle version. (Not gonna lie, this process took me two nights to finish because the formatting for Kindle is different than the paperback, and then you gotta test it on all platforms. That was a trip.) Hit the go button. Congrats, you're self pubbed electronically, too, and the world is reading your book within hours.
Seriously, that's it. You retained control of the creative process, you set your own pricing, you called the shots on your distribution, you did it four days instead of four months, and it was totally free if you reviewed your proof electronically and didn't get the physical copy. A couple clicks, and BAM! you're out there.
But what about the stigma of self pubbing? you ask. Don't people assume you'd be with a publisher if your work was worth a damn?
Maybe, but the face of the self pub world is changing. Sure, anyone can do it, meaning there are works RIFE with typos, grammatical errors, and content issues, clearly thrown out there without regard to quality control.
There are smart, savvy authors out there (not that I'm counting myself among these geniuses - just because I did it doesn't mean I'm any good) who are not wiling to waste their precious time on the antiquated publishing process. They are confident in the years they've spent painstakingly writing, editing, proofreading, critiquing, advice-seeking, proofreading, revising, formatting, and proofreading, to put their own books on the market alongside those mass-produced bestsellers. They care about their craft, it shows, and now readers are more willing than ever to give these bleeding-edge artists a chance.
It's hard work, don't get me wrong. But I leave you with this: Gone are the days where we have to wait for someone else to deem our work worthy enough for the world. We can do it ourselves, and let the world be our judge rather than some publisher.
Why are you still reading this!? Start publishing!!