Kevin Brennan Writes About What It's Like
I’m a novelist. Can’t help it. And when my first novel, Parts Unknown, was published by William Morrow in 2003, followed by the HarperCollins paperback in ‘04, I thought I could call myself that with no sense of irony or wannabe about it. Unfortunately, traditional trade publishing is a cutthroat business, and I haven’t been able to break through with a second contract in the intervening years — an all-too typical tale for mid-list, literary authors. Since 2004 I’ve had three different agents, four different books, and no takers.
Reluctantly, I’ve decided to experiment with self-publishing a new novel, Yesterday Road. There aren’t many avenues available to us indie writers who don’t intend to stop writing just because the desk jockeys in New York aren’t big on second chances, but the new possibilities of self-publishing (or “direct-to-reader” if you prefer), especially with the growing success of ebooks, offer us a way to find an audience, even if we’re forced into activities we’re not completely comfortable with to sell our work. Marketing, platform-building, social media, “putting ourselves out there.” It is daunting, fraught with obstacles, and probably next to impossible, but it’s the only route we have if we want our stuff read by others. If writing isn’t just a pleasant hobby, you need those eyeballs.
Here, with What The Hell: Kevin Brennan Is Self-Publishing His New Novel, I’ll be describing my preparations and research, laying down my impressions of the business of self-publishing, and offering whatever I can in the way of advice for other writers considering this option.
Yesterday Road, in fact, was published in October 2013. You can buy it via any of the sites listed here.
I must confess that I’m going in with low expectations but plenty of last-chance determination. Even if my ever-changing expectations aren’t met, there’s no reason not to do the last possible thing you can do. And if this doesn’t work out, at least I can look my fifty-something mug in the mirror and say I tooks my shot.
As they used to say in old Rome, Disce pati. Learn to endure.