Tuesday, January 24, 2012

A New Angle on Self Publishing

I have previously been quite vocal in my disapproval of self-publishing. Read my posts here and here if you don't believe me, or want to know why I am opposed to it.

However, I am starting to mellow. I have read several blogs which seem to think it's the future of publishing. With ebooks now making the process of self-publishing so much easier, more accessible and more affordable, forward-thinking types seem to think that the big publishing houses have had their day. "Indie" is the publishing of the future, they tell me.

I can see that there is an inherent unfairness about arrogant editors who reject submissions based on nothing more than the query letter while arbitrarily accepting others based on little more than their mood that day, or a hunch. I know that the success or otherwise of a book is impossible to predict and is largely a matter of taste. I see that many excellent books go unpublished while a lot of worthless dross is printed, distributed and hyped often based on little more than a "celebrity" author (read: ghost writer).

"Indie" is, apparently, the way to make this all fair again. And one of my initial objections to self-publishing - the fact that the reader cannot tell whether a self-published book is properly edited or well-written before investing their money in it - has largely been swept away by the opportunity to download a free sample. I download a lot of samples, and very rarely go on to buy the book.

People are, apparently, making good money from self-published books these days. I read one blog by a guy who had published his ebook through Kindle Direct Publishing. He was selling it at just 99p, but because a lot of people like a bargain and a large proportion of that came back to him, he was making good money from it. I don't write for the money, but hey, some would be nice.

What has really changed things, however, is that I am currently writing a book which is going to have to be self-published because no publisher would touch it.

The Saved Saint is the story of a returned LDS missionary who attends an evangelical church one Sunday and is "born again". Written in alternating points-of-view switching between the young man and his confused LDS mother, it examines the differences, the dilemmas and the difficulties when two people who love each other clash over religion. Although it won't go into apologetics or doctrinal issues, it will get at the heart of the often painful issue of the misunderstanding and mistrust between LDS Christians and Evangelical Christians.

I'm quite excited by the story, and although it's challenging both to write, and especially to research, it is coming along well. I feel that there is a need for it, because this issue is so common; several members of my ward (including me, actually) are former evangelical Christians whose loved-ones are unhappy about their membership of the LDS church, and three families I know of have been affected by members leaving the LDS church for evangelical pastures.

I have already approached an LDS publisher I have a "right of first refusal" contract with, and they have said that they couldn't publish anything with anti-Mormon subject matter in it. I suspect every other LDS publisher will say the same. Neither would the mainstream Christian publishers want it, because it has anti-Evangelical and pro-Mormon subject matter too. And the secular publishers are not interested in anything to do with religion.

So if The Saved Saint is ever going to see the light of day, I am going to have to self-publish. That's something I said I'd never do. But I think I need to, and it's a new adventure.

1 comment:

Stephanie Black said...

Hmm, I just wrote a comment and then lost my internet connection and my comment. I'll try again. Great points, Anna. One of the wonderful things about self-publishing is definitely the opportunity it gives authors to bring works to light that otherwise might not find a home--not due to quality issues, but to other issues. I have a project like that that I'll probably self-publish (doubtful that my publisher will want it, though the door is still open a crack), and I'm glad that I have another option for bringing it to interested readers.

And thanks for the tip about downloading samples! I don't know why I don't think of that more often.