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Reflections on self-publishing


Self-publishing TBLP was not my first choice.  After I finished writing it, I spent the better part of a year peddling my manuscript around to agents and publishers with nary a flicker of interest.  To many experienced writers, a year doesn’t seem a very long time, but I confess it did to me.  In December 2006 I could see no evidence that I’d ever interest anyone in my novel.  So it was not with excitement or anticipation that I signed up online with iUniverse to self-publish TBLP.  No, I laid down my money with disappointment and a clear sense of unfulfilled dreams.  But those feelings dissipated in time.  My calculation was a simple one.  I convinced myself (and I’m glad I did) that it would be easier to build an audience for my work, and interest agents and publishers if I could actually put a published book in their hands (okay, a self-published book that didn’t look like many self-published books).  I was, and still am, fully aware of the often well-earned stigma of self-published books.  For many readers, self-published works cry out that this writing, this story, this book, is just not worthy of mainstream publishing houses.  The common refrain from critics is that if the quality is there, it will eventually find a home with a publisher.  Intellectually I know this is not necessarily true.  But it’s been true often enough to entrench this belief.  I knew all of this, but went down the self-publishing road anyway, feeling that it at least gave me a chance to get my novel “out there.”

So what’s my view of self-publishing now?  Well despite the success of my rather unorthodox journey to the published land, self-publisihing still wouldn’t be my first choice.  Being published by a mainstream house brings so many benefits that it remains the goal to shoot for if you’re an aspiring writer (as I still consider myself to be).  But, if that route doesn’t pay off, self-publishing is an avenue worth considering if the circumstances are right.  As for my charmed year in 2008?  None of this would have happened had I not first self-published TBLP.  Were it not for the TBLP podcast and iUniverse, there would never have been the Leacock shock, Beverley Slopen, Doug Gibson and McClelland & Stewart, and all that has come since.  So self-publishing worked for me.  But because it has worked and I’ve somehow found a home with M&S, at least for TBLP, I’m hoping I won’t need to resort to self-publishing in the future.  And that was the point of trying it in the first place.  So, not necessarily self-publishing but self-publishing if necessary…

4 responses to “Reflections on self-publishing”

  1. Bob Johnson says:

    Hang in there, as a former aide to the majority leader of the CA assembly (our equivalent of your provincial houses of commons) and and activist on several presidential, gubernatorial, and other campaigns,your work is great! Also, as one who, like your hero, has changed party affiliations (although much later in life), I can really empathize with the frustrations of your heroes.

    Bob Johnson
    Johnson Schachter & Lewis
    A Professional Law Corporation
    2180 Harvard Street, Suite 560
    Sacramento, CA 95815
    Phone: (916) 921-5800
    Fax: (916) 921-0247
    Cellphone: (916) 207-8595
    E-Mail: bob@jsl-law.com

  2. Terry Fallis says:

    Thanks Bob. Glad to see that the great fraternity of ex-political staffers transcends our national borders!

  3. Ivo Vermeulen says:

    Is the photo or image from you or sombody else? Since I want to use it for my website
    “http://www.vpi-office.nl/index.htm”, I need a permission from its author. Thank you in advance for your cooperation.

    Kind regards,
    Ivo Vermeulen

  4. Terry Fallis says:

    I found it using a Google image search. I do not own it but I’ve seen it used on many other sites. Hope that helps.

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