There is a wonderful song called The Princess Who Saved Herself by Jonathan Coultron about a princess who blows off the handsome prince and decides to live happily ever on her own, thank you very much.
I was listening to that song the other day and it struck me how that’s what we are as self-publishers. Writers who saved ourselves. No more sitting around waiting for some handsome publisher to come and rescue us. We’re making things happen for on our own.
Back in the days when I was a screenwriter, the whole screenwriting process seemed totally overwhelming and completely impossible. Indeed, the odds of succeeding as a screenwriter are even worse than making it as a traditionally-published novelist. I remember being member of an online message board about screenwriting and just feeling completely out of my element. Many of the writers on that board actually lived in Los Angeles, which is practically a requirement if you want to be a success as a screenwriter. It’s also recommended that you actually work on set as much as possible, starting at the bottom as a Production Assistant (PA). Though that kind of thing is critical if you want to make the right connections, but I always thought that was a very dumb requirement. Being a PA means you can be on the set for as much as 12-14 hours a day! When would you ever have the time to study your craft and actually write a screenplay? Other than schmoozing, working as a PA has nothing to do with being a writer. Seems like an awful waste of time to me. Somehow I managed to get a couple of screenplays optioned despite living clear across the country from Hollywood, but nothing ever came of it.
The “who-you-know” element isn’t quite as bad in the world of traditional publishing. Sure, literary agents and publishers are far more likely to consider your work if they know you personally or if you are referred by another published writer, but it’s not a requirement. There are plenty of agents who will consider unknown writers, but it’s still a crapshoot. The line between success and obscurity is very thin, and luck plays an awfully big part in your book being considered for publication.
That’s the beauty of self-publishing. We’re not waiting for somebody to come along and rescue us and tell us we’re beautiful and worthy. Any book that is professionally crafted and written with lots of heart is worthy of publication. The readers will then decide if it’s an ugly duckling or if it will turn into a beautiful swan.
Okay. Enough fairy tale references. What are you waiting for? Get out there and save yourself.
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