Have Dumpster Fire. Send Marshmallows.

I hit “upload” recently to submit my manuscript for a final round of editing. But this time, I’m editing with a self publishing outfit, which means I’ll have to pay for all the things a traditional publisher would do. The trade-off is that I get to keep my rights, have more creative control over the project, and keep more profits in the medium and long runs.

Why did I decide to go this route?

I think about life in two juxtaposed ways. In one way, I believe in Making Shit Happen. I’m a schemer and a worker, and it’s my nature to pour (too much) effort into making life goals, and making life goals happen. My husband, who is the powerful and steadfast water to my sometimes unpredictable fire, studies Taoism. (Please note the link leads to a paid program. I’m not in any way recommending that; I simply like the way this page explains the way of Tao.) To oversimplify, Taoists believe in walking the path in front of you. When you encounter obstacles, sometimes you can climb through or over. If those obstacles make the path supremely unenjoyable or impassable, step off onto a better path. This doesn’t mean the path of least resistance necessarily! Well, I mean … it kind of does. But not in a way that means you shouldn’t put forth effort for what you believe in.

marshmallow toasting over flaming log
When life is a dumpster fire, get out the marshmallows. Its the Taoist way. Photo by Hanna Morris on Unsplash

Case in point: my book, Haints. I was prepared for difficulties and setbacks, because my years of research and work as a professional writer told me to be. But when two negative interactions with traditional publishers, on top of countless (ok, I counted, but let’s just assume legions) agent rejections and/or crickets (which amount to the same thing) all piled up over the past two+ years, I decided to stop running along this bewildering path and take a breath. And make a new choice.

I’m self-publishing instead. When I opened up discussion of self-publishing in my personal world, I was given even more insight by authors who’ve published both traditionally and self-published. They prefer the latter. They also had negative interactions with their traditional publishers, and came away with a bad taste. To paraphrase, “I hate that the only thing a traditional publisher does for you is print a book. You still have to do your own marketing, and you don’t get to keep as much of the profit.” And if you don’t sell as many copies out the gate as they want you to, they’ll drop you. So you’d be back to square one on the trad publish/self publish game board (trademark pending.)

I believe in my book. I believe in the characters, the setting, the creepy/whimsical atmosphere of it all. I’ve come too far to let it all die because so many traditional publishers are unscrupulous.

Expect Haints in your hearts and hands before the year is out — hopefully, by sometime August/September. And don’t hesitate to leave a comment/DM to add your voice to the conversation!

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