Site icon MJ James – Writer

Publishing Independent

Image of a left hand with painted black nails writing with a pen and spiraled notebook. The left hand is holding a mug that reads “BE Happy.”

There are many components to writing a book. A debut novel is a time to learn about all the nuances. As I near the end of this draft, my thoughts have been turning to the next steps. I have been researching agents, submitting directly to publishers, and independent publishing.

I have decided to publish my book independently.

The most important thing to me is to put together a good book. I want to create a book that readers want to read. However, I also want my voice there. There is a reason that autistic authors are not domineering the market. Who wants a book celebrating neurodiversity? Readers do, but publishers do not seem to know that.

Then there is my neurodiversity. The idea of having to navigate the social interactions of traditional publishing fills me with anxiety. On the other hand, the idea of handling the same interactions independent publishing makes me excited. It is a power dynamic. In traditional publishing, the publishing house is in control. In independent publishing, I am in control.

However, that also means that I have to do a lot more work. I have to research editors, then enforce my deadlines. Next, I have to work commissioning cover art and copy editing. Then I have to determine how I want to go about formatting and ultimately publishing. Even obtaining the ISBN now falls to me.

These detail-oriented tasks are where being autistic is a benefit. I know how to work hard on projects that are important to me. I may not like editors tearing apart my book (who does), but I know I must grow as an author. I know all these steps are essential to bringing a quality book to print.

I ran a book blog for many years before deciding to move entirely over to bookstagram. I learned there are a lot of horrible independently published books. It turned me off the idea of publishing independently for a long time. Yet, I have since realized that there are a lot of really amazing independently published books as well. Those authors have put in the time and effort to tare down their work to make it even better.

There are still many steps before my book can grace your shelves, but I have a newfound sense of excitement having made this decision.

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