Friday, May 3, 2013

Is It Your Cup of Tea?

Yes, the wait is over and I'm happy to announce that my debut novel "The Forsaken" came out May 1st! This is three years of hard work realized, and I couldn't be more thrilled. This is a huge accomplishment for me. Self-publishing is a lot of work, but I believe it is very rewarding and empowering as well. One of my biggest concerns this last year while submitting my work to publishers was how much control I would retain of my book. Well, with self-publishing from Createspace, and utilizing freelance professionals, I was able to keep total control of my book and still produce a quality product.

I read a blog recently that said "Self-publishing is ruining the industry" and I got to say I disagree. I think it's amazing that we live in an age where technology makes it possible for everyone to have a voice, for everyone to find an audience. In another blog a reader made a comment, "It's the job of the book reviewers to help the readers find the cream of the crop and the garbage will stay at the bottom of the heap." I partially agree with this statement. However, different critics have different tastes and their opinions will reflect those tastes. Likewise we listen to the opinions of others who have similar tastes to ours. I'm a big movie fanatic and at one point in my life being a film critic was my dream job, so I want to liken the publishing industry to the film industry for a moment.

There are countless production studios out there. Every single one produces different movies across all the genres. Isn't it fair to say that not one studio has a flawless record? What I mean is not one studio can boast that they've never made a crappy movie. At some point or another, they've all had a box office flop or been criticized by the critics. So, similarly, I have to say that just because a film (or book) is produced by a big company doesn't mean that it’s quality, or does it guarantee that it's everyone's cup of tea. There are a lot of big budget films out there that make me wonder what the big guys are thinking! I often say to my husband, "Who read that script and said, ‘Wow! We've got to give this guy a couple million dollars to make this piece of crap!’” However, the same movies that make me question my beloved film industry's integrity are the same movies that others rave about. Likewise a lot of the books that are produced by big publishing houses and get worldwide acclaim, I personally can't stand.

I recently read a book that I thought was just awful that was traditionally published by a smaller press. I went to leave a review for it on goodreads and was surprised by how many glowing reviews others had written of the same book. I thought, "Either these people have awful taste, or they see something I don't." Somehow books like these find an audience, but not because they’re better than others, or have a fancy name attached to the cover. There are nearly seven billion people living on this earth, and every one of them responds differently to the same things. So, of course, we don't all love the same movies, music, or books. We all have minds of our own.

The books that get published traditionally are ones that appealed to a particular person’s taste at a particular time. J.K. Rowling's manuscript "The Sorcerer's Stone" was rejected ten times before she was offered a publishing contract. Now she's a world renowned author, with a best-selling, critically-acclaimed series, and box office hit films based off of her books. I bet those other publishers wish they had taken a chance on her book now, but at the time Harry Potter just wasn't what they were looking for.

So what am I saying? I'm saying that, yes, it's nice to have a big publisher behind you. There are advantages to having someone else invest big bucks into your book to get it on the shelf and in the hands of readers. However, it doesn't guarantee you'll be a success, nor is it the only way to get your work out there. Self-publishing has been a great experience for me and I'm glad I did it! I believe there is an audience out there for my book, all I have to do is get out there and find the readers that are waiting for my words.

That’s enough of a rant from me today. You can find me and "The Forsaken" (The Children of Cain Series, Book #1) on goodreads. Now, go forth and visit to just read up on my book or to get a copy of your own. I think it's awesome but you don't have to take my word for it. Read it for yourselves and then let me know what you think.

R.J. Craddock