I’m an indie author. Or self-published author … or whatever it is you call someone who wrote a book and decided to publish it through channels other than the traditional ones. At least, that is, as far as my debut novel, The Trouble With Being God, goes.
As you probably know, I’m working on my next book – albeit a bit slowly (we just had our second son, so I am obliged to take a break). This second book is definitely superior to my first – and is a rather marked departure from the contents of my first (there are no murders – so far). But the biggest difference with the new book is that I am probably not going to publish it myself.
Obviously I don’t have anything against indie publishing. After all, I’ve been waving the indie flag for quite a while now. But the thing is, indie publishing has a specific purpose and that purpose was to let books like The Trouble With Being God exist. It wasn’t a regular book – and I definitely took some big risks in the way I wrote it. I never expected it to be a huge success (and so far it hasn’t been) but the goal with that book was to write the story I wanted to tell – even though it wasn’t likely to be a hit with any sort of mainstream audience (in fact, I expected the ending to probably piss a lot of people off. It did – and for those of you who felt cheated, I’m sorry). Still, indie publishing is made for that kind of thing – trying something new to put it out there when traditional channels just aren’t ready to take that kind of financial risk.
The new book (which I’m currently calling ‘The Unfortunate Expiration of Mr. David S. Sparks’) is still something a bit out of the ordinary. It’s a futuristic kind of sci-fi tale – kind of a Philip K. Dick meets Aldous Huxley thing – but it’s something that I believe can hit a pretty major chord with a lot of people – and I’m planning on pitching it to publishers and agents.
With TTWBG I didn’t really bother with that. I did send out one agent query, but I published the book myself before I even received my rejection letter (it was the same agent that Dan Brown uses, by the way). The point was that I wanted to skip the back and forth and just get this first story out there. With TUEomDSS that’s not really the case.
This new work is something that I think has a chance for major success. It speaks to fairly widespread ideals, and is a mirror of our own place and time. It’s being told in a way that I think fits the storyline, and it’s something that I actually get excited when I read.
If you’ve been following me, you might think I’m some sort of speaker for the indie movement. I might be, but chances are I’m probably not. Here’s what I really think:
Self-publishing (indie publishing) is a decision you make. It’s not a last resort for those who can’t be published – and it’s also not a solution for those too scared to be rejected. The decision to self-publish is one you need to take absolutely seriously, and do so for the right reasons. There are a lot of reasons to do so – many of which are valid (less control over your artistic vision, to put out a work that might not have a mainstream outlet, to ensure a higher royalty per unit sold) but there are a lot of reasons not to.
The Unfortunate Expiration of Mr. David S. Sparks is a little over halfway done – and I already know I’m going to be sending this one out. It’s a damn good book (although it could definitely use some caressing), and it’s something that I believe a lot of people will like. It deserves, and hopefully will receive, the backing of the traditional press and to be in every major bookstore out there.
The Trouble With Being God was a good book and I’m proud of it … but it wasn’t right for traditional publishing.
This one is, and it’s where it’s going. (I hope.)