I originally put a question mark at the end of this blog’s title. Instead of Author I felt that it was only right to describe myself as Author?. And even after self-publishing a book on Amazon’s KDP, I still feel obligated to question my status.
What I keep asking myself about Kindle publishing is simply this: Is it cheating?
I waffled for a long time about whether I should publish the book myself on Amazon.com or if I should suck it up and keep plugging at doing it “the old fashioned way”. There’s a proud part of me that truly believes if my novel doesn’t go through an agent’s hands, then into a DTB publisher’s hands, and then into a brick-and-mortar bookstore, then all I’ve really done is manipulated the system, avoided hard work, and committed an act of self-aggrandizing vanity. Am I embracing the future of the publishing industry? Or am I simply taking the easy way out?
I’d like to tell myself that more than anything else, what I’ve done is an act of self-realization. Since my wife first got pregnant three years ago – and especially since my daughter was born in the fall of 2010 – I’ve been keenly aware of the hole in my life that used to be my dream of becoming an author. It’s something I’ve wanted since I was fourteen. And it’s a goal that I’ve done far too little to actually pursue. Granted, Rottweiler is not the first novel I’ve written. Nor is it the first one that I’ve tried shopping around to agents. But it is the first one that I think is worthy of being shared with the world and that – to me at least – needs to see publication.
For me, though, the querying process is where the wheels always fall off. Every time I finish a reread and revision of my work, I sit down with the loftiest goals and the best intentions to send out queries until somebody bites. But after a dozen or so emails and just as many rejections and non-responses, I lose my momentum. I don’t know if that’s cowardice. Or if it’s impatience. Or if maybe it’s a consequence of having a video-game era brain that’s been hard-wired to expect instant gratification and a constant stream of rewards and incentives.
Maybe it’s laziness.
Or is it simply reality? The title of the blog is Husband, Father, Teacher, Coach, Author. On top of teaching English, coaching high school football (essentially a second career – my wife considers herself a widow in the fall) and high school rugby, being a responsible homeowner, and doing my best as an attentive, dutiful, and loving husband, I now put in overtime being a devoted and adoring daddy. I barely have time to write, let alone go through the rigmarole of reading, noting, dog-earing, and sticky-noting yet another copy of Writer’s Market (I’m ashamed to admit how many I have) just so I can spend my productive hours sending out a deluge of letters and inqueries that will most likely lead to nothing but rejection and frustration. In Amazon’s KDP, I’ve found a way to side-step my biggest weakness and to allow myself to focus on the thing I really want to do: Write.
In spite of all that, I’m still riddled with guilt every time I look at my book’s page on Amazon.com. And, yes, I do look at it. The novelty hasn’t worn off yet. I’m all at once awash with alternating sensations of relief and long-awaited victory tempered by a ponderous sense that all I am is a conniving charlatan playing writer on the internet because I’m not good enough to make it in the real world.
Are these feelings normal? I’d love to know what you think.