SJ Duncan

The Tipping Point Blog


First, I meant to have this post up like a week ago, but the Bash deadline is looming and I had perfectionist stuff to do, and so here we are.


Second, I'm starting a vlog on Youtube, but not today, so more on that later.


Third, why I (probably) won't sign with a major publisher.



I've been at this awhile. My entire life, you could say. I have stacks and piles of work that will never see the light of day. Notebooks and journals full of poems, prose, ideas, and rants. Five or six (maybe eight, idk) novels that I'll never release for one reason or another. It takes a lot of time and effort to find your voice.


When I first started, there was only one real path to success for a novelist. You wrote a manuscript, you sent out query letters, and you waited for an agent to give you half a chance. Self publishing did exist, but this was before the digital revolution democratized the process. It took thousands of dollars to even begin, all of your books had to be printed on the same run, and most people who went that route ended up with a living room full of books they didn't know how to sell.


Then, technology. Print on demand. And the "self-publishing gold rush".






Now, to be honest, I never tried that hard to get an agent. I knew my work wasn't where I wanted it to be (perfectionist problems). It was good and the few people I shared it with liked it, but there was a lot of room for improvement. I talked to a few agents, but I was very young and had a lot of growing to do. They knew it, and so did I.


So I lived life. I grew. And I continued to write. Day after day. Year after year. Novel after novel.


There's a long story here, but that's for a different blog/vlog/auto-biography or whatever.


The short story is that by the time I felt my stuff was ready, the internet was a thing, and with it came the power to publish, promote, and engage with fans from my freaking living room! What a marvelous time to be alive.


So that's the route I went.



Now, it's not all Doritos and PJs at 2 in the afternoon. There's work involved. Lots of it. In fact, the amount of work required to successfully self-publish is insane. There are things you can outsource (assuming you have the funds) but most (all, if you broke) generally falls on your shoulders. Writing, editing, graphic design, marketing, promoting. . . it's all on you. And the learning curve is steep. MS Word, Photoshop, a half-dozen lesser known programs, formatting for print, formatting for E-reader, social media, website design, the works. There's a lot to learn.


So why have I put myself through this?


Creative control.


I'm a control freak. I have to oversee every aspect. It has to look right, and feel right, and be right, or I'm not alright. And with a major publisher I can't have that kind of control.


Not yet, at least.


Perhaps if I grow my audience big enough, I could demand more control from a traditional publisher, but that's for the negotiating table. The bottom line is this: I'm happy self-publishing, I get to be involved in every step along the way, I set my own schedule, and I don't have to split my royalties with twenty divisions of Big-Time-Publishing Incorporated, New York, New York.



Plus, now that I have this thing rolling, I'm really curious to see where I can take it.   




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