Backing Into The Future

I’ve decided to self-publish Matcher Rules, my first novel, as an ebook. I’m also planning on a POD copy via Lulu, although I have more doubts about that.

Why self-publish? Well, this is the end result of a great deal of thought, self-doubt, and research. In an ideal world I’d be able to land an agent, and eventually sign a contract with a professional publisher. The more I query and send out manuscripts the less confidence I have in what is now the publishing establishment. Even for established authors, the publishers seem to be doing less and less. Authors are expected to do more and more of their own marketing and promotion, publishers are cutting back on the number of hardcopies printed even for popular authors, and books go out of print within months of publication. The publishing conglomerates are less and less inclined to take a chance on new authors — and frankly, would like those authors to fit in a certain demographic.

Ebook publication, I suspect, is being used as another filtering tool by the publishers. A few years ago self-publishing an ebook was the kiss of death: no reputable agent or publisher would consider any subsequent work. Now, successful ebook authors are being offered straight contracts, because they have, without costing the publishers a dime, demonstrated their ability to craft a tale and sell novels. Like all businesses, publishers like a sure thing.

All business aside, I’m publishing Matcher Rules on my own because I believe in the story. I have always re-read my favorite author’s works. I’ll remember part of a plot or a favorite character and I’ll re-read for pleasure. To my great delight, I found myself doing this with Matcher Rules. I was re-reading the manuscript because I loved the story and the characters and wanted to spend some time with them again. And, without false modesty, I’d like to give other people the chance to do the same.

Right now I’ve signed a contract with a cover designer and I’m vetting the manuscript one final time before trying the Smashwords conversion. I’ll post on how it’s going, and I’ll also post on the go or no-go decision on Lulu. Right now, a self-published print book looks like an enormous amount of work, but at heart, I’m a Luddite. If I can, I will, so I can hold the story in my hand — in paper.