I published a book today. It’s a collection of fairy tales I got tired of trying to sell to agents/publishers, so I took them in-house and used my local team, and got illustrations from some of the kids I teach, and their friends, and voila! Here it is:
It’s good. It won’t win a Pulitzer, or make me rich. But it’s a fun collection of tales, some serious, some not, some quite dark and painful. I think the target market will like it, and if they like it enough, maybe I’ll do another one someday.
Steven Pressfield gets this, but even after I had the book done, proofed, ready, and sitting there, it took me half an hour to press the “accept proof” button and make the book live. I surfed Facebook. I read a blog. I dithered. Resistance rose up and smote me and told me I’d be wasting my time and end up laughed at and ridiculed. But I pressed “accept” anyway, and Heaven help me, I think I did right.
There are three reasons why, in circumstances like mine (I have a novel in front of agents, and I have six more in the editing process, getting ready to go, and four more that will be finished by spring) it is better to publish than not:
- You can’t make money if you don’t have something for sale.
- You can’t represent yourself as a working writer if your work doesn’t go up where people can buy it.
- Courting ridicule by doing something stupid is better than playing it safe.
Yes, it would have been lovely to have been picked up by Penguin House or one of those, but this wasn’t ever writing that had that potential. It was just something I wanted to do. I love fairy tales, and fables, and whimsical writing. I love not having to explain how squirrels can build robots, when they lack opposable thumbs.
Today, that’s a win.