Self-publishing: red-headed stepchild, or golden opportunity?

The idea of publishing work sans any sort of professional assistance is alternately thrilling and horrifying. I recently got deeply immersed in researching and learning more about the world of self-publishing, and without further ado, I found myself deep in a state of flow. For those not acquainted with this New-Agey, term, “flow” is defined as a state of productivity also known as zone. It’s the mental state of operation in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity. (I stole that definition from Wikipedia.) But it boils down to being so lost in something that you’re trying to understand or master, that time passes almost unnoticed.

I’ve written, queried, gotten rejections/requests for partials/final rejections over and over for the past 15 years, and have always looked at self-publishing as a last resort. But with the access we all have to the internet, ebook publishing tools, and platforms like this little blog I’ve got going here, we have the power to make our own destiny as authors. I’m fully aware that it takes more than just writing a solid book (oh, believe me, the things I’ve read in the past few weeks have made it crystal clear that luck, professionalism, talent, and hard work are all equal parts of this equation!), but with some self-awareness, patience, and gumption, the possibilities are endless. There are some great resources if you’re interested in finding out more about people who’ve done it successfully (J.A. Konrath’s blog; David Gaughran’s blog as well as his excellent book for newbies: Let’s Get Digital), and lots of opinion and how-to info from others who’ve gone the self-pub route themselves.

In an effort to understand how to turn a word processing doc into ebook material, I compiled four of my own short stories that I’m fond of, and then I rolled up my sleeves and got to work. I commissioned a cover that I liked from goonwrite.com (I’m a sucker for tropical colors and flowers), and attempted to put together a mini-ebook. I did it this way first because A) I had no idea what I was doing and a short book seemed like a good way to figure it all out, and B) I was hoping that by the time Holly and I were ready to publish our story together, I’d actually have it all figured out. (I’m sure I won’t have it all figured out, but hey–a girl can dream. And I’m lightyears ahead of where I started.)

After a full day of caffeine, confusion, and confounded frustration, I got my first book of short stories up in the Kindle store. I messed around with a bit, had some people download it, and then realized that I don’t love having it linked to the author page that I have with my daughter. I think I learned enough from the experience to make paying for a cover worth it, but I want to get our first collaboration up there and available, so I really need to focus on that!

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