Wednesday, May 1, 2013
The Insecure Writer and Deciding Whether to Self-Publish
Today is May's contribution to Alex Cavanaugh's Insecure Writers Support Group.
Why am I an Insecure Writer this month?
Because I don’t know which route I’m going to take—traditional or self-publishing.
Now it might seem I’m jumping the gun here a bit, especially when you consider I’ve only recently begun working on my first potentially publishable manuscript. Even if my productivity were to suddenly skyrocket, it will be at least a year before the story is polished enough for publication. And by that time, the publishing world may have changed so much that any decisions I make now might be irrelevant.
So why worry about it now? Because I’m wrestling with a few questions about my story—questions whose answers may depend upon the route I take to publication. .I know what my story is about and I know the setting (magic, castles, humorous characters, etc.), but I still haven’t decided on the age of the main character. Right now, he’s fourteen, making it an upper MG story, which means I need to write with an upper MG style. I have no problem with that, but I can also envision the story with an older MC, one who has recently graduated from college. In that case, the style would be different—something like Harry Potter meets The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. (If you haven’t read either one of these series, you should.) As it stands right now, I haven’t decided which style plays more to my strengths, or which style would be more interesting to potential readers.
Now I could just let these things sort themselves out as I write, but I worry that the correct choice may ultimately depend upon the method I choose for publication. Most of the self-published books I find on Amazon involve older characters*, whereas most of the MG stories are traditionally published. From what I understand, libraries and parents are less inclined to buy self-published MG books, unless from an established author, since there are no assurances a self-published book wouldn’t be full of profanity or other topics unsuitable for MG readers. In other words, if I write the story with a MG MC, I better hope I find an agent and publisher. Then again, I've heard many adults enjoy reading MG books, so who knows?
Perhaps I’m getting the cart before the horse and should just write whatever version of the story most appeals to me and worry about the publishing route later. But that’s what being an Insecure Writer is all about, right?.
If anyone has any thoughts on the subject, I’d love to hear them.
*BTW, I’ve ignored YA in this analysis, since I suspect I’d be terrible at writing YA.