On Self-publishing, Writing my Novel, and Finding Inspiration: Part 1 of 5

This was posted on the wall of my personal Facebook yesterday:

Skimming through your blog, more specifically Leather to the Corinthians. Everything you’ve posted was f@#!ing unreal. Is it getting published? Cause I would buy that shit in a heartbeat. I would buy 10, and give them to friends to spread the word. You’re working on something special, good sir. – Nick E.

Talk about fuel for the fire! As I get closer to publishing my book, I get more excited with every step. But, it’s been an arduous and painful trek so far. Over a series of posts, I’m going to review my history with self-publishing and why I should never have even bothered with sending query letters to agents. Screw those people. F@#! ‘em in the ear. Call me!

My first foray into authoring books was my epic space opera, War of the Worlds. I wrote, illustrated, and published this single edition, single copy masterpiece in the third grade. I know that there is no reason why I should still have it, but here it is. I have also managed to hold onto a Cro-mags t-shirt I bought in 1986. Strange what follows you. As for the book, I have no idea what was on the cover, which sucks.

Making that book was a powerful experience. I was an avid reader – still am – and I loved to draw. To do something that was my own, to own the story – that was the stuff. I was locked in.

From that point on, I scribbled out little comics and stories. Those have all disappeared. They are out in the ether. Gone forever. Created and destroyed by time. But throughout that time, I made my stories for myself, and aside from the kid sitting next to me in 5th hour Geography, I was the only reader of those stories. Essentially, I was a medieval scribe.

It wasn’t until high school that I discovered the concept of the APA – Amateur Press Association.

If you’re not familiar with these, basically it worked like this: 40 people (or however many) would decide to create a collaborative publication. They would put in stories, comics, illustrations, whatever. Each member contributes their part. Then a Master Collator puts them together, and sends one out to each of the 40 members. 40 copies, that’s it. Just for the club.

MIND-BLOWING. What an idea. In 1987, this was a bold new idea. And with the technology at the time it was put together with Xerox machines and snail mail. This was wild stuff.

Unfortunately, I was not able to get into an APA, but I read the copies of a friend who was a major contributor. I loved the DIY aspect to it. Way cooler than bookstore mass-produced bullshit. It should also come to no surprise that I was very much into American Hardcore Punk at the time, and that scene was filled with fanzines, posters, stickers, and other self-published material – music not withstanding.

Here were people that weren’t trying to get big, get noticed, market and promote on a massive scale. They just wanted to speak their minds, create, and share it with like-minded folk. Sure it was great to get a name, get gigs, and get a following. They just weren’t prostituting themselves, and they were taking the means of production into their own hands. No gatekeepers, no agents, no minimum profitability. FREEDOM.

What was going to be my thing? WTF could I do? Due to a rocky teenage period, which included heavy socializing and experimentation, ahem, I had lost connection with my muse. But I still wanted to CREATE, I just wasn’t sure what that creation might look like. It wasn’t until college that I would begin to find my inspiration…

See you in Part Two (when I decide to become a journalist and where you will meet the mysterious Mr. P! and his Damn Dog.)

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14 thoughts on “On Self-publishing, Writing my Novel, and Finding Inspiration: Part 1 of 5”

    1. I was pretty stoked! I am currently in my final content revision before I hand it off to a proofreader. I have been picking away at this book for a long time, as you will read in future posts 😛 It’s hard to almost be excited about it, in some strange inconvenient way.

      Thanks for the kind words.

  1. Indeed, F agents in the ear. When the dust of new publishing settles, their bones will be fossil fuel.

    1. Nicely put. The means of production are no longer held by a precious few. We have the full capacity to do every aspect of production, and I intend to do so.

      I did the query letters to say that I did. Try the traditional route. While I was doing that, I began to research the DIY route, and you know what — it looks great.

      With more and more authors making the same decision, it changes the model. It does also mean that we have far more competition, and also have to devote the time to be successful. To find a way to stand out, make our claim.

      The one thing I had kind of hoped for was a guiding hand, almost a mentor. Oh well, I never had one before so fuck it. I’m putting it out there and at the very least, I can say I did it. Maybe I’ll sell some books, that would be cool.

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