Why I self-publish

Part 1

When you look at the world of publishing, it’s not like it used to be. Then again, who said things always have to stay the same? The world changes, and so do we.

However, as much as people grow and mature, what doesn’t follow in growth is perception; what doesn’t change are assurances we learned earlier on about how the world works. But when the world changes in some respect, should our perceptions of it not change as well? And when does what we learned at a younger age stop being reassuring and start being irrealistic dogma, to be repeated and propagated despite reality?

One dogma that’s ingrained in pretty much anyone who knows anything about writing and publishing is that you have to receive many rejection letters before getting that one acceptance. It’s a lovely, reassuring thought while many major publishers exist – same for minor publishers who hope to break into the majors one day. However, this is an assumption of a by-gone era. Right now, there exist only five major publishers worldwide, and they are mainly concerned with grand sagas and blockbusters – in other words, Bestsellers – and this is their right. They can focus on whatever they choose. But whereas there used to be independent publishers which attempted to be majors, most have now become imprints of said majors, specializing according to category – again, this is fine, as a business needs a focus.

On the plus side, other smaller publishers have started up over the past 30-40 years, though some have since closed for good (thinking Key Porter Books here). Most of these small publishers have their own specific criteria and only accept certain genres of fiction or fiction from certain parts of the population. This is good for the literary community overall: Some previously ignored or side-lined genres and/or literary voices may now have better ways to be read and experienced by the wider world. And a greater number of literary voices published can only serve to enrich the world, not diminish it.

Additionally, publishers do not have deep pockets and cannot accommodate every author with an idea, hence them focusing on certain criteria. Again, this is fine.

It’s with all that in mind that I’ve decided to go at it on my own and not to crowd the publishing playing field.

Of course, there is more to consider when it comes to self-publishing, but I’ll leave that for Part 2.

Published by khmcmurray

Born in a seaside town in BC and raised in the Greater Vancouver area, I started writing not long after moving to Montreal in 1987, where I've lived for the most part since. A few of my earlier poems were published in student newspapers and in an anthology in the first half of the 1990s. In 1997, I published a chapbook titled "A Visit" which was once a chapter to my upcoming novel "Boomerangs and Square Pegs" but now is a stand-alone work. "Boomerangs" is now available via Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and via a general search. Print form is available via this website. My second novel, "Then Let's Keep Dancing", is also available on Smashwords. My third novel is due out in July 2023. Reading is an escape for me, while writing is a kind of release. Writing enables me to get things out in the open in a way that I couldn't through other media or situations. My writings deal with plausibility -- if I'd wanted to write my life story, I'd have written an autobiography, and trust me, my life just isn't *that* interesting. No, I'm more interested in the in-betweeners, the damaged goods, the beautiful losers, the broken poets, the taken-for-granteds: I consider myself among these types. When I don't write, I teach English as a second language, edit texts, and translate from French to English (and sometimes the other way around). I also get involved in social and environmental causes from time to time.

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