Is everyone sick of talking about the piece in the New York Times on David Mamet and his decision to self-publish? I hope not, because I’m dying to talk about it. So I’m going to…I hope you’re not already bored. If you haven’t read it, you should, especially if you’re a traditionally published author, but here’s a quick synopsis: Mamet is tired of feeling like he’s been kicked around by traditional publishers, so he’s self-publishing his next book. That’s it in a nutshell.
I read this piece and felt my pulse accelerate because, I, too, have been toying with the idea of doing my next book myself. The last time I was at Writer Unboxed, I talked about how demoralized I had felt by my experiences with my most recent novel, The Song Remains the Same, and how it nearly permanently derailed my interest in pursuing fiction. I managed to rediscover my love of writing but also swore that I would write my new novel – which is now finished – only for the pure joy of doing it…and I wouldn’t allow the system and the politics and the ever-shifting uncertainty within the industry to beat me down. So…it was (and is) with this in mind that my agent and I began chatting last month about the idea of publishing the book on my own. I resisted immediately and forcefully until I started reading up on how to do it and how to do it well. And then…the seed was planted and has started to grow. BUT. But. But. But look, I was/am nervous about the idea. And full disclosure, because my career was born and raised within the framework of traditional publishers, I have never been a big fan of self-publishing. But times are changing, and I don’t like to think of myself as someone who can’t and won’t acknowledge that things need to be shaken up. So this Mamet piece couldn’t have come at a better time for me. Maybe it is time for a change. And if it is, I’d like to think that I’m the type of person who would embrace that change rather than dig my heels in deeper.
A few things, before we go further:
1) I am exploring all options now. Talking with traditional publishers but also doing my own research on how to best go about indie publishing. It is DAUNTING, and I have yet to see a lot of people do it WELL. There is a very big difference between self-publishing and self-publishing well. Also, this post is not meant to take away from the fact that I have a lot of respect for many of the people I’ve worked with and many others with whom I hope to work with within the industry. There are some amazing, amazing minds at traditional houses, and that needs to be said and acknowledged.
2) David Mamet has a platform. I think readers would be imprudent to ignore this. He can self-publish because he has built-in readers. Self-publishing as a debut/untested/unknown author is very, very different experience (I would guess), than self-publishing as an author who already has a following. I have long maintained that the marketing and publicity angle of publishing is the most difficult, and I really can’t stress that enough. Self-publishing your book almost has nothing to do with getting people to buy it. Those are two really different things – and Mamet already knows that he has the fans to buy it. I think that makes the difference here. [Read more…]