It’s time I came out of the closet. I have been suffering with this secret for years. While society is more accepting of people who dare to follow their hearts and be different, there is still stigma attached to this secret I have been harboring. Once I reveal it, I know my parents will love me the same. My sister and brother, too. Even my friends. But there are narrow-minded, prejudiced and discriminatory people who will shun me. But still, I must be true to who I am. Therefore, I am officially coming out of the closet as a self-published author.
Did you think I was coming out of the closet as a lesbian? I already did that twenty years ago. It was and remains very natural for me to present myself to the world as a gay woman. But coming out as a self-published author has been more difficult.
Why is that so when the following are true:
Self-published writers can marry, foster children and adopt children in every state.
The children of self-published authors do not get bullied in school.
The spouses of self-published authors can collect their social security benefits.
Writers who are self-published are allowed to be by their writing partner’s bedside if she should become sick.
Hate crimes are not committed against self-published authors.
Why did I hesitate to come out of the closet as a self-published author? Why did I allow myself to feel inferior since I am not traditionally published?
The answer: I was afraid and embarrassed not to fit into the expectations of society.
But what I know now - what I have always known - is that we are all the same. Living, breathing, loving and creative people who want to be happy.
I also know that self-published authors are just like those who are traditionally published:
We have our books edited.
Our books are properly formatted.
The covers of our books are expertly designed.
Our books are available as eBooks and paperbacks and for distribution on-line and in brick-and-mortar stores.
Our books are marketed and publicized.
Sometimes our books sell and sometimes they don’t.
We do book signings, speak at events, appear at book groups and write blog posts.
We have fans.
Where we differ from those traditionally published is that we do not have to send query after query hoping an agent finds us worthy, we don’t have to wait for that agent to sell our books, we do not have to hang on another two years after that for our books to be available to readers, we have full editing control, and we do not need the approval of a publishing community that looks to copy the latest successful novel. In other words, I do not have to write a Fifty Shades of Grey knock-off to get published.
Looking back, I don’t know why I feared coming out of the closet as a self-published author except now that I am out, I am never going back in.
To all of you self-published authors who are hiding in the literary closet, I encourage you to step out. You are collecting more royalty payments with each book you sell. You keep all of the rights to your books and your cover art. Editors and publishers who work for traditional houses are culling the Internet looking for self-published authors. Hollywood is watching us too.
Shout that you are self-published and be proud. Wave a flag. March in a parade. After all, we – the self-published writers of the world – are here to stay.
To read my story of going from traditionally published to self-published, click here and read my blog post: Alchemy.