Writers love to write. Even though we struggle and sometimes we’ve got to beat a story out with blood, sweat, and a few creative curses, we can’t help but continue to write. Now, with the help of the internet and countless apps in the palms of the avid pen scratcher, not only the creation, but the distribution, of countless stories has become easier. Suddenly, it’s as if every one has realized that writing was never reserved for just the scholars and the students blessed by an ancient muse, but for anyone. If you don’t believe me, look at the free stories on Kindle or the growth of independent, online literary magazines. However, this begs the question: if anyone can publish their work on the internet and be a writer, what is going to set you above the rest?
My answer was to study and obtain a Master’s degree, but having already graduated with a Bachelor’s in English & Creative Writing, a part of me understood that even if I went back to school it still might not be enough. That wasn’t what was important to me though–I didn’t want the fast track to stardom, I just wanted to be a better writer. Which is why my father shakes his head and laughs when he calls to check up on me. He was the one who introduced me to the Fantasy and Science Fiction genres and we still recommend favorite books or authors for the other to read, but he doesn’t understand why I needed to go back to school to write. My father jokes and points out the authors of .99 cent Kindle books that he has been reading and says that they’re pretty good if you ignore the surface errors that occasionally pop up. Then he casually mentions that I should upload a few of my short stories; I’d make some extra money.
It’s tempting, but at this point I don’t feel like I’m continuously producing the caliber of work that I want people to read from me. Honestly, it takes a lot of courage and self-awarness as a writer to say, “I’m just not ready yet”, and I don’t think there is anything wrong with that. At the end of the day you have to remember that there are always going to be other writers that will create and publish amazing stories, and some will have a degree and some won’t. While I think self-publishing gives you the opportunity to get your stories out there, going back to school could give you the edge and the experience to set yourself apart from the other keyboard junkies. There are no steadfast rules on how to become a writer and that’s the best part.
Of course there are things that you always have to think about as a writer, self-publishing or not, like deadlines, grammar rules, peers to read your work, and then other peers to help spread the word, but we’ve all seen that before. This isn’t going to be a bulleted list with the “tricks” and “tips” to getting published, writing a novel, or staying motivated. Instead, this column is going to be the extra hands that you need when you are a writer thinking about (or already in the process of) self-publishing. Just because you’re going to publish your work on your own doesn’t mean that you’re alone, but when tackling self-publishing you have to be ready to carry more than just your title as a writer.
Do you accept this challenge? Are you ready to get your stories out and make them look good from cover to ISBN? Then the Writer’s Mentality is for you. I’ll bring the advice, ideas, resources, and details that a self-publishing writer should know about and you’ll bring the fabulous stories. Deal? Alright let’s get started.