The Journey of the Unpublished or "A Self-Publishing I Will Go"

So it has been a grueling battle trying to find an agent that would be interested in my series. It has actually been several years and several book offerings without any takers. There were a few moments where it seemed like a possibility, but then it never happened.

My father says that only about 1% of all submitted manuscripts have ever been published by a real publishing house (i.e. Random, Tor, etc.), which makes the likelihood of me being represented even less likely.  Compound to that the fact agents only make money when they can sell something, and since there are so many writers out there, agents have to be choosey in what they think they can and cannot sell.  Readers are fickle creatures and their tastes change often, so while my stories are well written and enjoyable (so say my limited fans), they are not "marketable," and so I fall into that 99%.

Another problem I have with getting an agent is the moniker of "unpublished" that I carry around with me (hence the blog title). It's not the same as "new writer" because as I said before, I have written many different things, including 3 books in a 7 book series. But sadly, or rather truthfully, it amounts to nothing in the eyes of the rest of the world. To many, I haven't really arrived until I have my name in print (or e-print) on a page somewhere. Even this blog doesn't really count as arriving.

No, I need a physical (or electronic) book with my name on it. Not only to prove to others that I have "arrived" but to myself as well.  So when someone asks "what have you published?", I can pull out my phone and point to an entry on Amazon. Then I can act like a poor beggar and panhandle for reviews (but that's a discussion for another time).

The result of this diatribe is I have determined to self-publish.  It was taboo no more than 10 years ago to say that you've self-published. The idea was equated with boutique shops that stole your money and gave you an inferior product (or none at all). But with the advent of Amazon and Google, the boutique has become the mainstream. And anyone with a good story and cover art can publish it.

On a side note, I remember a funny article a while back about a guy that published his left foot. It was to prove anyone could become an Amazon Best Seller and therefore the term was meaningless.  He accomplished this by putting the book in a couple of obscure categories, and then got his friends to give 5-star reviews and boom: Amazon Best Seller.

I certainly don't anticipate wild acclaim from my stories, simply an interest in what I have written.  I love the world I have created: I can tell you about the things that live in the deserts near Xwaniratha (there are none due to the fallout from a divine war 10,000 years ago). I can tell you what a Bumblefruit in the mountainous community of Iburdeen tastes like (sticky and sour).  And what it feels like to gaze up at the towering Gaokarena tree at the center of the world.  I know all this because I have been there, everytime I'm in front of my computer recounting another tale of Mahrahspand, I am there. It's a wonderful and terrible and incredible place and my hope is that others will wish to visit as well.

That is why I have decided to publish on my own.  The moment I click post on that self-publish website (CreateSpace, IngramSpark, NOOK Press, etc.), I will no longer be known as an Unpublished Author. I will be a Published Author, just like every other person on Amazon. It certainly sounds insignificant when phrased like that (small fish - big pond, comes to mind), but it is an important goal to me and something I can achieve.  So regardless of whether it will lead me to fame and fortune, I will publish, I must publish.

And that's that.