Follow Your Arrow-
A few weeks ago, the Horror Writers Association passed a referendum to allow self-published authors that earn X amount of money from their works to ascend in their membership. I think when joining the HWA, you’re joining to become a member of the community, a member of the family. I joined in 2012, the year after I started writing. I was instantly and graciously welcomed. Eventually, I started to make some sales and was able to go from supportive member to affiliate member. That accomplishment felt nice. I made a new goal: to be an active member. I haven’t quite gotten there yet, but I will.
So why do I want to go “Active”? Well, for one, it’s a goal and I like to attain the things I set out to accomplish. Two, I would love to have the privilege of being able to cast votes on future referendums and Stoker nominated works. And three, within the organization, it’s the one that says, “Hey, I’m a professional writer!” Not to say that anyone who hasn’t earned that status from the the HWA is not a pro, but it’s my little motivator. At least, that’s what it means to me. I’m sure the self-published authors in or considering joining the HWA, who make sales out there, would love to be allowed those same privileges and status (if they so wish to). The successful self-pubbers work their tails off to get those sales. There’s no reason they shouldn’t be afforded the same opportunities as the rest of us. That’s why the referendum passed. As it should.
Where am I going with this?
While self-publishing is not nearly as taboo as it once was, there is still a dwindling part of the writing community that can’t seem to get the shitty taste out of their mouths. To them I say, fuck off. Yep. I know. I usually preach about niceness, but you can’t be the good guy all the time.
I come from the punk rock scene. The land of nihilism, anarchy, doing things your own way. For better or worse, I love to learn the hard way. You can tell me until your lips turn blue and your head explodes the way things should be done, but if I’m convinced there might be another way, you can be damn sure I’m gonna try it. I loathe the land of black and white. To me, there’s always shades of gray (maybe more than 50 even!). I have both self-published and ventured the highway of traditionalists. I won’t shit on either one (I reserve that smelly treat for the ones who bark at either or). I busted my butt on the self-pubbed work I had out there before I eventually took it down. It was full of errors, but they were my errors, and I learned from them. Would I self-publish again? Yeah, I think I would.
If you are going to self-publish, try and do some research first. Grab Scott Nicholson’s The Indie Journey: Secrets to Writing Success. It’s fantastic and this guy tells you what works for him. Note: what works for him. He doesn’t preach and he doesn’t say this is the blueprint and it’s the only one that works. Nicholson is producing like a madman and earning his way through life on his words. That’s the fantasy, right? He does it his own way. He follows his own arrow. And so should you.
Self-publish, go the traditional route, do whatever works for you. Just be true to yourself, true to your story, and gracious enough to those who lend you a hand. You don’t have to join the Horror Writers Association, but if you choose to –traditionally published or otherwise–, you’ll be welcomed with open arms.