There’s something to be said about doing things on your own terms. For a long while creative people have had to deal with record companies, movie studios, and publishers in order to get their art to the masses. There are certain advantages to going that route. If you’re lucky and talented enough to get in good with the Powers That Be, there’s quite a bit more money involved. The odds of more people seeing your work increase dramatically. These are all good things, but there are two big problems with that system.
The first problem is that you don’t only have to be talented, you have to be lucky. Your work needs to be put in front of the right person at the right time. Sometimes this happens. Sometimes it doesn’t. The second problem is that you lose control of your work. Studios have been known to buy scripts with no intention of ever making the movie. Sure, it’s nice to get a paycheck, but most writers I know would rather see their work produced.
The good news is that modern technology makes the old system an option and not a requirement. As I write this, I have a friend who is producing an album with another guy on the other side of the country. They’re both using Macs with a few inexpensive accessories. Last year some friends of mine used Kickstarter to finance their movie. Their budget? Four hundred thousand dollars. That’s almost half a million dollars with no studio involvement. Sure, that’s not a lot compared to the budget of a MichaelBay movie but you’d be surprised how much you can get when you’re not having to deal with studios. More to the point, there’s no bosses telling them that they need to throw on a happy ending or make sure that there’s a sex scene. They can tell the story they want to tell.
This is why my next book is going to be entirely self-published. It’s not because I don’t like the system. It’s because I want to have complete creative control.
And that’s where the ‘bad news’ comes in. It’s a lot of work. Yes, it’s possible to just throw together a manuscript and have it published and tossed up on Amazon.com. Thousands of people do it every year and it’s largely what’s responsible for making the word ‘self-published’ seem disreputable. But the truth is there is no reason you can’t make a book every bit as professional as anything the big six publishers put out. That’s my goal.
My plan is to have my novel available for purchase by my birthday, December 5th. It’s not going to be easy. The key to doing anything well is realizing when you can’t do something and hiring someone who can. In order to do this right, I’m going to need to set things up for more than just this book. I’ll need to start my own publishing company. As I go through this process, I’ll write about it here, along with anything else I feel like writing about.
Welcome to 2013. It’s going to be a good year.
– Jack Cameron