This blog was featured on 02/24/2020
Why I Will Continue to Choose Self-Publishing
Contributor

There's no denying that it would be pretty awesome to sign a contract with a major publisher and end up on a bestseller list.  

Obviously that's totally out of reach for the vast majority of people, though.  As a new (or newish) writer, one could go the route of pitching to agents/publishers to get traditionally published, or alternatively one could self-publish.  Traditional publishing has more prestige, but is it always the best way?

When I published my first book a year ago, I didn't even consider traditional publishing.  I didn't think of myself as a "real" writer, and it just seemed like something that was totally out of my league.  Aside from that, I write non-fiction about mental illness for an audience of people with mental illness, and I'm active in a few different online mental health communities, so self-publishing seemed like a reasonable way to target the audience I wanted to reach.

There was more to it than that, though, that gets a little deeper.

I don't do well with rejection.  The fact that I live with depression most certainly doesn't help with that.  Trying to go the traditional publishing route would inevitably involve numerous rejections; it happened to many top authors when they were starting out, so I have no doubt whatsoever that it would happen to me.  Some rejection, like the occasional bad reviews here and there, are manageable.  But to face having my baby (aka my book) rejected by multiple publishers would likely be a real hit to my mental health.

Speaking of my mental health, my illness is quite unpredictable, so working on other people's timelines can be challenging.  If there's a looming deadline, I couldn't exactly tell an editor sorry, no can do, my brain's not generating sufficient output at the moment.  I do best when I can work at my own pace without any expectations.  For me, motivation isn't an issue; mental functioning is.  Self-publishing works well for that combination.

Self-publishing offers full creative control, and I like my writing to be fully mine, even if there are ways that it could be objectively better.  I don't like the idea of having my voice diluted by someone else. 

I've now self-published three books, there are two more in progress.  I still don't feel any desire to take that step towards looking to get traditionally published.  Perhaps that makes me not a "serious" author, or just a writer who plays it safe, but to be honest, that doesn't bother me.  I enjoy the self-publishing experience, and my books are selling.  So I'm going to keep on doing what works for me.

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