Saturday 16 July 2011

It's Later Than You Think: Why I Decided to Publish ebooks.

I've been writing for a number of years and have had numerous short stories published, both mainstream and erotic. I've published poetry and articles and even had a couple of plays put on. My first novel The Man with the Horn was published by a small press that immediately went out of business. Nothing to do with me!

Over the years I've sent novels out to publishers and agents and had some good feedback but never an offer of publication. It seems these days you have to be a celebrity already, or a literary sensation, to grab the attention of a publisher. I'm certainly not the first and I'm guessing I'm not the second.

I never considered self publishing when DTP was all the rage (apart from some 'pomes') because it was expensive, too much effort and not well thought of. Ebooks have changed all that.

It's easy to publish an ebook (details here), free at point of entry, and doesn't smack so much of desperation as traditional vanity publishing does. Why this should be so, I have no idea.

Debate rages online as to whether it's appropriate for ebook writers to class themselves as 'Indies' the way independent music makers do. I say, Why not? There's a long and respected tradition of writers and other artists putting themselves out there at their own expense, or with a little help from their friends: Virginia Woolf, James Joyce, Irvine Welsh...

So, if nobody else is willing to do it for you, what's your option? To leave your work festering on your hard drive? Well what's the point of that?

The other instigating factor for me was the passage of time. You can wait months for a response to a submission to an agent. Publishers may not even bother to reply. Years of your life - decades even - can slip past while you wait for someone to recognise your genius. Well, that's what happened to me, anyway.

Then one day I thought, If I don't get my work out soon I'll be so old and decrepit I won't be capable of doing it. And if I succumb to mortality before anyone has had a chance to read my books, what a waste of a life that will have been. So I decided to grasp the opportunity of epublishing while I still have the ability to upload a file to KDP or Smashwords.

Of course, I'm sure the world could have got along quite nicely without my contribution to literature. I'm not putting myself in the same category as James Joyce or Virginia Woolf (or even Irvine Welsh, come to that), but at least I feel better now. My literary (I use the word loosely) outpourings will soon all be out there in the world fending for themselves. And that'll be a weight off both my mind and my hard drive.

So get epubbing.

It's easier (and later) than you think.


See my guest blog on epublishing courtesy of the wonderful jjmarsh


Anonymous said...

I like your reasoning, Barbara. I'm writing a piece about self-publishing on paper that says much the same thing, but with a tad more angst!

Anonymous said...

Good for you, Barbara.
Your thought process makes absolute sense.
I think it's great that people can read your work now, rather than waiting years until traditional publishing recognises your undeniable talent.
I look forward to Don't Look Down and Poetic Justice soon.

Barbara Scott Emmett said...

Thanks laydeeez! I might have to look into paper publishing as well for those people who say, 'Oh, I'd love to read it but I'm hopeless with anything technical.'