With all the talk I've made lately of my trouble with getting my writing anywhere close to publishing, I've had a lot of people point me toward self-publishing. I don't know if I'd call it the elephant in the room, because usually people don't tug on your sleeve, point, and say "LOOK AT THE ELEPHANT. LOOK AT IT. LOOOOOOOOK."
I've never wanted to self-publish, because my writerly dream has always been to be like the people whose books adorn my shelves. I want the career. I want writing to be what I do, my entire job, the thing I'm known for if I'm known at all. I want my books out there, on shelves and in shops, where people can pick them up and read a little and decide to take them home.
This is the part where I can't continue without acknowledging that the world has changed. I know that digital sales are big and will continue to grow. I don't know if they'll ever take the place of physical books, but that's beyond me right now. I know there's generally not a stigma to self-publishing anymore; I know it's no longer the realm of the desperate and the painfully amateurish.
But I have real trouble seeing myself getting what I want out of writing by doing everything myself.
From what I've read about self-publishing, it means being in charge of a whole lot of things that I know nothing about. I know that, were I to get traditionally published (insert bitter laughter here), my job wouldn't be limited to just writing. But I know that there would be people whose entire job is to handle aspects of publishing that aren't my job, and I'm good with that. Hell, I'd much rather have it that way.
Full disclosure: a lot of why I don't want to self-publish is it would feel like giving up. I know that's ridiculous, but it's what I think. The whole thing rings of "nobody wants it, so I'll put it out there myself". And I have enough trouble with the 'nobody wants it' aspect that I know, I know, that if I self-published and it went poorly, it would absolutely crush me.
It's one thing to query agents and hear back "no" or silence. It's another thing to put your stuff out there and get the same thing back from your would-be audience.
On the other hand, I posted a story series online years ago. Never promoted it, never advertised it, just threw it onto a fiction-posting site and let people find it. I posted the final part of those stories almost eight years ago, and they still get hundreds of hits per month from all over the world and have racked up hundreds of reviews, every single one of them positive. (I didn't think that was possible on the internet.)
So it's entirely possible that I just need to get my work out there.
This is hard for me to consider, since there's no way to know how things are going to go and no way to take something back from being self-published if I go that route and it goes poorly. For now, I'm going to focus on editing STARWIND (two days in and it doesn't suck, so that's a plus) and see how things go with that. I have some agents noted down who might be interested, and I have some small presses I'm looking at if that road goes nowhere yet again.
For the future, as per usual, I have no idea.