Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Why I've Decided to Self-Publish

For those of you who have asked about my decision to publish my novel myself rather than attempting to go the traditional route.  This is why I think self-publishing is for ME - not for everyone, of course, but for me.

I'm in the midst of making a few final revisions which I should have done by the end of this week or next. After a LOT of soul searching and pondering I've decided to forego the agent querying thing and go for self-publishing.

Had it not been for Celia Miles, Judy Greber and Earl Staggs I doubt I ever would have even thought about writing a novel - and I thank them for having the faith in me that I didn't have.  They're my angels walking the earth disguised as just plain ol' regular human beings.  and I love 'em to bits.

 I learned a lot about myself during the novel writing. I loved writing it. Loved it! I hate rewriting and revisions. I know a lot of people love it. Not me. And the more I do it, the more I tend to not want to do it, which has shown me in bright brilliant lights that I am not one of those "I HAVE to write every single day!" writers.

You all know how I feel about writers - they're my rock stars.  I admire and respect them greatly.  I'm not one of them.  I'm just not and I know it.   I don't possess the talent or the pure need and stamina to write as well as my friends Louise Penny, Margaret Maron, Judy Greber, Hank Phillippi Ryan, Deborah Crombie and so many others. 

That's not meant as false modesty - I do think I'm a fairly decent writer.

My decision has nothing to do with what others do or want to do, and it certainly doesn't reflect how I feel about traditional publishing.  These are, to me, all separate issues.

I have no desire to be a career writer. And if I were, my choice would not be fiction - as much as I dearly love it.  And you all know how very much I love a good novel.

I, myself, am at my happiest writing memoir pieces for my blog.  And the pieces I wrote which were accepted for two anthologies edited by Celia Miles and Nan Dillingham which I remain immensely proud of. That seems to be the type of work that fills my heart and soothes my soul.

What I decided during the holidays while we were busy driving here and there for Christmas festivites and a lovely wedding in Meridian is that truthfully, even if I were one of the lucky ones to find a good agent who was able to sell my work, I don't want to wait two or three years to 'see' my novel. I want to see it now. I feel like I've worked hard and now I want to see the end result out there. 

The feeling isn't based on impatience - I've never had any illusions about making a big splash and making a lot of money - I just wanted to write a novel. Now I'm done and honestly - just want to move on. I don't want to write a book every year, I don't want to have to travel around doing promotion, and I don't want to lose control of my own writing - the writing I've done or the writing I might still do. I just want to do it for "me." Just for me. 

I've written the novel I wanted to write. It's not everyone's cup of tea and that's okay. It has magic and best girlfriends. There's pretty clothes and great food. There's laughter and love. Art and a perfect gallery on a lovely little idyllic island in the Lowcountry. There's a ghost or two and a pixie named Earlene who happens to be partial to Christian Louboutins.  It's impossible to put a tag on - kinda like the most interesting people I know who refuse to be placed in a single category. Eccentric and flawed. and fun.

The next novel, when and if it happens, may be a sequel or it may be something a bit more serious concerning the Freedom Riders who came to my hometown of Cambridge, Maryland in 1962 when I was a teenager. That was a time that helped mold me to be who I am today. My 64 year old self who now just wants (as I've said so many times) to spread my wings and try a whole world of new things.

I want to continue practicing and improving my photography, I have bags of needlepoint and knitting which I've missed working on the past couple years while I've been writing "Whimsey" - there's just a whole wealth of things I want to do. Pottery. I really want to try my hand (again) at pottery. Maybe paint a little.

There are still lots of experiences I want to have along my road to Ithaca (and my thanks to my friend Hank Phillippi Ryan for introducing me to this perfect poem).


When you set out for Ithaka
ask that your way be long,
full of adventure, full of instruction.
The Laistrygonians and the Cyclops,
angry Poseidon - do not fear them:
such as these you will never find
as long as your thought is lofty, as long as a rare
emotion touch your spirit and your body.
The Laistrygonians and the Cyclops,
angry Poseidon - you will not meet them
unless you carry them in your soul,
unless your soul raise them up before you.

Ask that your way be long.
At many a Summer dawn to enter
with what gratitude, what joy -
ports seen for the first time;
to stop at Phoenician trading centres,
and to buy good merchandise,
mother of pearl and coral, amber and ebony,
and sensuous perfumes of every kind,
sensuous perfumes as lavishly as you can;
to visit many Egyptian cities,
to gather stores of knowledge from the learned.

Have Ithaka always in your mind.
Your arrival there is what you are destined for.
But don't in the least hurry the journey.
Better it last for years,
so that when you reach the island you are old,
rich with all you have gained on the way,
not expecting Ithaka to give you wealth.
Ithaka gave you a splendid journey.
Without her you would not have set out.
She hasn't anything else to give you.

And if you find her poor, Ithaka hasn't deceived you.
So wise you have become, of such experience,
that already you'll have understood what these Ithakas mean.


Hank Phillippi Ryan said...

I can never read it without crying, dear Kaye. And today is no different!

Thank you! And have fun on the voyage--it'll be a treat to be on it with you.

Judy Bobalik said...

Good for you. I can't wait to read it when it is ready.
I've loved that poem since (Caroline, I believe) read it at Jackie Kennedy's funeral.

Deb said...

Ah, Kaye, I applaud you. NOT because I don't think you could sell your novel through traditional means. But partly because, selfishly, I want to read it SOON. And because, as privileged as I feel to be traditionally published and fairly successful at it, I envy you the freedom to write what you want, when you want.

And you, my dear, are so multi-talented, and I want you to have the chance to explore all those things that make your heart smile.

Bless you for being Kaye. (And I really, really want to read that book!)

Lillian Stewart Carl said...

I thought I was the only one in the world who knew that poem by Cavafy! I've loved it for years. Well said, Kaye, as always. And the best of luck with your novel.

Unknown said...

I think you'll be happy with your decision. I've done a few e-books, and one thing you get is (almost) instant publication and gratification. No waiting for decisions by other people.

Julie said...

I think it's an excellent decision.

Ellen Byerrum said...

You sound very sensible, Kaye. And the truth is that the publishing world is changing so radically, almost daily, that we don't know what will happen. While my books have been and are being published by one of the big publishers, I decided to self-publish a middle grade mystery. I congratulate you.

billie said...

Can't wait to read your novel! I am doing the self-publishing thing with all of mine and have zero regrets about the decision. I had two brilliant agents who kept saying "keep writing; it will happen," and although I believed them, I just didn't want to spend years waiting for readers. I have them now and I'm happy. The wonderful thing is that there are now viable options for writers - congrats on looking at all of them and picking what is right for you!

Shells said...

I think you've made a great decision that works for you perfectly Kaye. And like others before me have stated, it means we'll get to read it that much sooner. I do hope you'll continue to share your journey through self publishing.

Unknown said...

I can't wait to read it!

Anonymous said...

Kaye, I agree with Deb's comments and admire your courage and staying power and confidence in the only person who matters in the final day, what you have been yourself! God bless and tons of us look forward to your book. Thelma Straw in Manhattan

Unknown said...

Kaye, I can't wait to read your book. You've got a life full of wonderful things and you're right to not want to give up the things you love. Yay, Kaye!

Eve Barbeau said...

I can certainly understand wanting to do all those other things too, like, photography, and painting, and potting, and knitting, and omigosh, look at that other shiny thing.

Bon chance, I look forward to reading your e-book.

Pat Browning said...

Kaye, I'm picking myself up off the floor. I was sitting here struggling with Blogger, wondering why my photos won't post, when I noticed a blog roll -- and ever curious, I clicked on a link and good golly Miss Molly -- there you were!I swear I don't remember ever seeing that blog roll, but I won't complain.

I'm so glad you decided to publish your own work and get it out there while it's still fresh in your mind. Many congratulations, and best of luck, and big hugs!
Pat Browning

Pat Browning said...

Good for you, Kaye. I'm glad you decided to put your book out there while it is still fresh in your mind. Congratulations, good luck and big hugs from here.
Pat Browning

Meredith Cole said...

Love your confidence and conviction Kaye! Look forward to having a chance to read your book.

Carolyn J. Rose said...

Kaye, from my point of view, you're making the right decision. I've had no regrets since I went this route in 2011. The instant gratification of seeing that someone, somewhere, bought a book and is reading it, keeps me charged up and working on the next story. And if, for you, there isn't to be a next story, then that's okay, too. Connecting your imagination with that of readers is what it's all about.

Earl Staggs said...

Kaye, I'm almost as anxious as you for Whimsey to get out there. Everyone who reads it will fall in love with it as I did.

Tonsahugs, darlin'.

Kaye George said...

Very interesting post, Kaye! I wish you the best with the novel, and the pottery and the needlework, and the photography. It's true, you can't do everything, and when you're writing you sometimes can't do much else. Good luck with WHIMSEY! (from the other Kaye, once of TX, soon of TN)

Sandra Parshall said...

Kaye, I think you have a lot more stories to tell, and I envy your freedom to tell them in the form of your choosing and at your own pace. I look forward to reading your novel.

Wendy said...

Well Kaye, good for you! This is exciting, and what an accomplishment!! Congratulations on all your hard work coming to fruition.

Wendy said...

Congratulations, Kaye! This is wonderful news!

jenny milchman said...

Kaye, I'm sorry to be late to the party, but I think your making your decision for all the right reasons. And I wish you the very best along it--and hope I can meet you walking one of these days again!

Sounds like a Made It Moment to me...?

jenny milchman said...

I'm not sure if my comment got swallowed, Kaye--just meant to offer you all the best along this road. Your reasons for choosing it make so much sense. I admire your writing, your revising (when it's hateful :), and all that comes next!

Mary Welk said...

I applaud your decision, Kaye. At 21 I thought I had time to do anything and everything I wanted. Then I turned around and suddenly several decades had flown by with me hardly noticing their passing. I've been fortunate to have had a wonderful life thus far, but there are still a lot of things I haven't done that I want to do. I get the sense that's what you're saying, too. Life shouldn't be a job that you slug away at every day. It should be an adventure, a hilly one maybe with ups and downs along the way, but an adventure nonetheless. I hope that at the end of every day, you can say you're enjoying your adventure along the way to Ithica. Best wishes always!

Beth Hoffman said...

I just read the synopsis of WHIMSEY and sounds like a fun read!

Best of luck to you, Kaye!

Jan Brogan said...

Congrats on the novel and your courageous decision!!

it sounds right up my alley!!

Britni Patterson said...

Congratulations on your decision! (And the book!) I recently made the same decision, after being offered a horrible publishing contract. I had to turn down my first offer, but I made myself a much better one. :)