Sakina Murdock writes about why she’s invested in independent publishing. “The problem is that proper ‘big’ publishing is broken. Not in a way that readers might consciously notice, but its systems are running on empty. Empty promises. Empty marketing budgets. Empty of innovation. Not completely empty, but running on fumes.” And she mentions our friends at Fox Spirit Books! (Thanks, Kate!)
Yes. Yes! YES!!
When I sat down to write Interrogating Memory in July 2017, I was naive enough to think that the combination of a great story well told and my strong academic credentials (albeit in three unrelated fields) would guarantee a decent publishing contract. (I also thought it would take six months, tops. Heh heh.)
Wow, was I wrong. About as wrong as one possibly could be.
I completed IM in late January then queried 100+ agents and smaller publishers…with nary a word in return, except for one particularly nasty response. You may read more about this journey here (https://justbearwithme.blog/2021/07/18/moving-non-publication-and-dada/).
As a result, and after much soul-searching, I decided to – gulp – self-publish. Happily, I am already a superb editor (nobody else is going to toot my horn, so I have to) and came up with a terrific cover design; my wife Nell was a huge help as well. I formally copyrighted the book and made it available as a PDF on my Just Bear With Me website (https://justbearwithme.blog/2021/08/17/interrogating-memory-now-available-for-purchase/). The yawns were almost as loud in response to this. 🙂
The next step is to obtain ISBN#’s and figure out how to make 1,000 or so hardcover copies of the book – if you are going to do something, do it well – so I can start selling a tangible thing, not an admittedly-hard-to-read PDF (I was trying to make *something* available). We shall see how *that* goes…because I have two more books along the same lines as “interrogating memory” already planned.
While I think Sakina Murdock nails a great point – How does a new, high-quality author overcome the stigma of “self-published?” – I think she misses a larger point. Those of us trying to bypass a fundamentally-broken traditional publishing system need to band together and support EACH OTHER – with follows, recommendations and retweets, yes, but also with dollars and sales. Small independent presses are great, but they can only realistically put out a few titles each year.
I am not sure precisely what this new model of artist-supported self-publishing looks like – it evolves even as I write this – but it is time to put some serious thought and energy into it. Because, again, if we authors (and artists in general) do not support each other, how do we expect anybody else to do so?