Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Why I Won't Self-Publish

I am a snob when it comes to certain things: I'll always choose authentic Mexican food over TexMex chain stores, I refuse to acknowledge "urban" books as real literature and Reality TV, even though I immerse myself in many of those shows, is what is killing the industry. In the same vein, I don't put much stock in self-published books.

Since I was a little girl, dreaming of seeing my books on the shelves at Barnes & Noble, never did I imagine that the industry would change so much and become so dependent on technology. I will probably be the last hold out at the store buying books while everyone else has a Kindle or an iPad; I'm fully aware of this and accept it as my lot in life. However, just because computers are now dominating the world does not mean I will chuck any dreams of having Random House publish my book and sell glossy novels I've printed myself out the back of my car.

Self-publishing would be like me saying to myself: "Raquel, your book ain't shit, and all of the publishing professionals of the world think so, too. Therefore you might as well just save the manuscript as a pdf, copy & bind it at Kinkos and hand it out at the barber shops of BedStuy."

I understand others don't feel this way. Some might even argue that I'm putting too much stock in others' opinion and validation of my work, and that if *I* believe it's good why not cut out the middleman and just publish it myself? Point taken. But listen, I'm an artist. Writing is my art, my craft, and I'm pretty conceited about it. I need my ego stroked about how great I am. What better way to feed that need than to have your books accepted by the professionals that govern the industry? The positive write-up in the NY Times Book Review and Publisher's Weekly? I want all that MORE than I want to meet and marry John Cusack.

Others might say ebooks are the future and I should get on board now or get left by the side of the road with 8-track cassettes, VCRs and electric typewriters. Again, I get that. But I'm going to hold out for the agent that believes in my work as much as I do that they eat, sleep and dream ME; the editor and the big old publishing house that will finally answer my agent's many calls and read my first three chapters; the call I will get saying I have a meeting at 1745 Broadway to discuss a possible book deal; the subsequent book release party (which we've already discussed) in Brooklyn.

As I've gotten older I've let go of the Victorian Mansion w/a wrap-around porch dream, and the career as a Radio City Music Hall Rockette dream, and even the finally learn to play my own damn guitar dream. But this one, this published author dream, this give young inner-city Dominican girls someone to relate to dream, this put my people on the map for positive things dream, this show The Man where he can shove his racist agenda dream, this make my grandparents proud of me dream... I can't give that up without a real fight.

It's all I've ever wanted.

*smooches...striving to make this a reality*
although, once I have my media empire I suppose I will be self-publishing all the time, right? Under one of the Jaded Empire Media imprints, of course...