This interview gives me a reason to write about something I’ve wanted to touch on: the idea that self-publishing will hurt your future chances in publishing. Saying that self-publishing will ruin your career prospects is almost like saying that the only reason to write is to make money – i.e. that career is the only worthwhile ambition.
How does this apply to the interview? Because it shows things happen when you get the word out there. I had the same experience when I released my novel – I was reviewed several places then as well. Starting up this website has gotten me in contact with very interesting people throughout the web. If I hadn’t bothered to publish or start up this site, this dialog would never have had a chance to happen.
The thing I like best from the interview is this, sort of my version of Asimov’s laws of robotics. This is the Self-Publishing Review’s laws of self-publishing:
She asks: What three things should every self-published author know?
- Don’t expect to sell a lot of books.
- That doesn’t matter because connecting with new readers – however many – is the goal.
- There’s no shame or defeat in self-publishing if you satisfy #2.
The idea of writing is to find readers, to connect with people. Not to make a lot of money (usually). So if you’re connecting with readers you’ve accomplished what writing is supposed to accomplish.
One of the great correspondences I’ve started up is with the songwriter RW Hedges. He found me on Myspace and bought a copy of my novel. He then sent me his CD. We now have an email relationship (He’s in the U.K., I’m in Los Angeles). If I had never released my book, this relationship would have never happened. And I got a copy of a CD that I think has the best songwriting I’ve heard in the last decade. The value of self-publishing was determined by that one exchange. So anyone who says it will mess with your career has a skewed set of priorities – they’re ambitious to a fault.
The same goes for this interview – it wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t put myself out there. So don’t leave a book in a drawer if you think it’s worth attention.