Why I’m Choosing Self-Publishing

Humans have been telling stories for thousands of years and they’ve existed long before written record. From cave paintings to folktales and from novels to screenplays, a good storyteller has always been admired.

I’ve been a storyteller for as long as I can remember. As a girl I used to entertain myself by creating my own worlds and adventures. I would spend hours peddling my bike up and down our apartment complex reciting my new stories out loud. I’m sure the neighbors thought I was disturbed.

I started writing more of these stories in junior high. Through my writing I could go anywhere, be anyone, and do anything I wanted to. No one knew what I was up to at that time other than my mom. Although, the first time I worked up the courage to read her something I wrote, she fell asleep halfway through!  I still love you though Mama if you are reading this.

In my twenties I switched to writing Lord of the Rings and Shannara fanfic (yes, I’m that old). I also shamelessly wrote self-inserted stories set in what would later become the fantasy world I’m currently writing in. Thankfully the only copies of those stories exist on floppy disk somewhere in storage where time has hopefully corrupted them.

But it wasn’t until my thirties that I started thinking about taking this storytelling stuff seriously. I started reading instructional books, watched videos, listened to podcasts, and joined a few writing communities. I developed characters and plots for the fantasy world that I’ve always carried in my heart. I began to believe I had what it took to be an author.

In 2020 the whole world changed and things never quite went back the way they were. Writing took a back seat while I battled not only the fallout from Covid, but my own separate medical problems and chronic pain, as well as depression and anxiety. It took a few years, and medication, and therapy to find my way back from the dark waters that had attempted to drown me.

And like an old friend, my writing had been there waiting for me. “Instead of worrying about what you cannot control, shift your energy to what you can create.” – Roy T. Bennett. World building and creating was the one thing that I could always count on to calm my anxiety. I slowly discovered the joy of writing again and with it, a fierce passion to publish my stories.

Becoming a traditionally published author would be a huge achievement and there is a general consensus that it is still the best choice for any serious writer. I can’t deny that it would be pretty awesome to sign a contract with a major publishing house or end up on the best seller’s list. But I don’t need or want that validation anymore.

I prefer to go about this on my own terms. It’s never been easier in the history of humanity to publish your own work than right now. There is nothing a publishing house can do that I can’t do on my own. I can hire my own editor, cover designer, formatter, and handle my own marketing. I get to set my own release schedule and pricing for my books. Most importantly, I will have creative control over my characters and worlds I’ve created.

I truly believe this is the future of publishing. So I’m choosing to be the master of my own destiny. I’m not going into this with rose-colored glasses. At the end of the day I know this is more than just a hobby. What I’m really doing is starting a small business. This means I have to be willing accept responsibility when I mess up and have no one else to blame but myself. A lot of risk, but with the potential to be a lot more rewarding than traditional publishing.

It is one of my goals to document the journey here on this blog. Mostly because I find writing to be therapeutic but also because I enjoy reading about others rising above their challenges and finding success. If I can be just one person’s motivation to chase their own dreams, then it will be worth it.