This week I’ve readnumerous blogs, articles and personal comments from writers and wanna-bees, tryingto downplay, and almost frighten people of self-publishing. In everything I’ve read, I walked away with areally, funny feeling and a constant, nagging question: Who are you trying toconvince…me or you?
The current popularityof what was once known as the “vanity” press has gone from the household noveltyto a tool for the everyman to stake their claim in the writing world. Several authorswho chose to go the independent route have made a name for themselves, and evengarnered a “traditional” publishing contract. Some gained the attention of prominentliterary agents and had their work further shopped and sold for movies andtelevision as well as books.
So, what’s the problem?
The articles, whilewell written and often quite amusing; have a tendency to come off as antagonisticand abusive, like meeting up with the local bully on the playground who youknow deep down is jealous and intimidated by you, but in their fear beat youdown.
So…why are you afraidof me…the independent writer?
I didn’t write and self-publishmy novel to become famous or rich. Nor did I write and self-publish my novel togain notoriety or steal your fifteen minutes of fame away from you. I wrote andself-published my novel because I love to write and had something to say aboutthe world I live in. I have something to say, I want to shout it from the rooftopsand no one, and I mean no one, evertells me “no.” That’s why I write,and that’s why after 400 plus rejections from literary agents and publishinghouses, I chose to go the independent route and self-publish. I didn’t do itout of spite or to give my rejecters the finger for not taking me on…I did itbecause I was tired of reading the same implausible stories over and over againthat didn’t reflect people the way I know them to be. Selfishly, I did it for me.
Toni Morrison, authorof Beloved and many other wonderfully real and honest books, once said, “If there's abook that you want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must writeit.”
Andif that doesn’t sit well with critics, don’t wait for me to apologize becauseit isn’t going to happen. Not now, and not while I publish my next eightnovels.
Incase you are curious, take a look at this list of some pretty famous self-publishedbooks. I think I might understand whythese bullies are so scared.
Remembranceof things Past, by Marcel Proust
Ulysses,by James Joyce
TheAdventures of Peter Rabbit, by Beatrix Potter
ATime to Kill, by John Grisham
TheWealthy Barber, by David Chilton
TheBridges of Madison County
WhatColor is Your Parachute?
InSearch of Excellence by Tom Peters
TheCelestine Prophecy by James Redfield
TheElements of Style by William Strunk, Jr. (and his student E. B. White)
TheJoy of Cooking
WhenI Am an Old Woman I Shall Wear Purple
Life’sLittle Instruction Book
Robert’sRules of Order
Here is a short, butimpressive list of other famous writers who self-published:
Deepak Chopra, GertrudeStein, Zane Grey, Upton Sinclair, Carl Sandburg, Ezra Pound, Mark Twain, EdgarRice Burroughs, Stephen Crane, Bernard Shaw, Anais Nin, Thomas Paine, VirginiaWolff, e.e. Cummings, Edgar Allen Poe, Rudyard Kipling, Henry David Thoreau, BenjaminFranklin, Walt Whitman, Alexandre Dumas, William E.B. DuBois and Beatrix Potter
And last but not least,check out this list of rejected writers…
PearlS. Buck - The Good Earth - 14 times
NormanMailer - The Naked and the Dead - 12 times
PatrickDennis- Auntie Mame - 15 times
GeorgeOrwell - Animal Farm
RichardBach - Jonathan Livingston Seagull - 20 times
JosephHeller - Catch-22 - 22 times (!)
MaryHiggins Clark - first short story - 40 times
AlexHaley - before Roots - 200 rejections
RobertPersig - Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance - 121 times
JohnGrisham - A Time to Kill - 15 publishers and 30 agents (he ended up publishingit himself -- My hero!)
ChickenSoup for the Soul - 33 times
Dr.Seuss - 24 times
LouisL'Amour - 200 rejections
JackLondon - 600 before his first story
JohnCreasy - 774 rejections before selling his first story. He went on to write 564books, using fourteen names.
JerzyKosinski (The Painted Bird and Being There)- 13 agents and 14 publishersrejected his best-selling novel when he submitted it under a different name,including Random House, which had originally published it.
Diaryof Anne Frank
Duringhis entire lifetime, Herman Melville's timeless classic, Moby Dick, sold only3,715 copies.