Well, after much thought, pacing and chewing on nails, I've decided to go forward with self-publishing my novel, Reintegration. Which will lead me to likely doing the same with my other novel, Free Dom. There are a number of reasons why I've decided to take this route:
Sanity - I currently have a lot on my plate and the way sending pitches to agents/publishers makes me feel is not healthy. It's a feeling of helplessness and meaninglessness. As if I need some sort of validation from these gatekeepers to get my writing out. This then bleeds out into my family life and I end up feeling miserable about where I'm at in life. But the moment I decided to self-publish and began planning the design of my cover, I felt alive. Formatting the novel and adjusting my chapter pages was addicting and I felt like I tapped back into the magic of my past four projects. Most publishers and agents are looking for people with a hefty platform, which means I might have to do this for a while until I build somewhat of a following, if I even can. But I feel better this way. Plus, I found out you can pay beta readers online to read your book and that is extremely helpful for me going down this route.
Freedom - With my second novel, it has heavy Christian themes and topics in it. This has limited me to the Christian market but all the Christian publishers and agents want these clean books and don't want anything that veers off the path of traditional Christianity. And regular, mainstream publishers/agents don't think they can sell such a product because of the themes. Plus, they are all looking for LGBQT and minority writers, which is great but it isn't me obviously. So, in a way I'm limited. And I have a couple more ideas that I want to write on when it comes to the church and Christianity, so self-publishing is going to be the best route for now. In my mind, after I get these out I have other ideas that could be more sellable to a mainstream market, but I'm not ready to write those yet. For now, I have the freedom to write what I want to write, without restrictions or limitations. When it comes to the things I'm writing about, it's a strong factor pulling me to self-publishing.
Mixtape Rappers - I love listening to rap. Right now the popular trend in rap is being independent and owning your own masters. It's inspiring to hear people taking ownership of their craft and not being robbed by the labels. It makes me wonder why I was ever trying to be apart of the publishing world. There's something still attractive and validating about it. But even as of this week, famous comic book writers like James Tynion IV and Scott Snyder (along with others) have finished their contracts with Marvel and DC to begin their own independent creator owned projects in conjunction with Substack. The market is slowly moving more and more independent. Another aspect of the rap world is the mixtape era of a rapper's career. This is where I feel I am currently. I feel like I'm continuously getting better. Reintegration is ten times better than Malcolm's Symphony and Free Dom is dramatically better than Reintegration. I'm still working on my craft and for now, that's what it is.
All in all, I'm excited for this next stretch of my writing journey. I plan to release Reintegration this October 2021 and Free Dom around Easter 2022. Then, hopefully, a novel I'm working on right now, Unfit: The Unofficial Biography of Connor Donahue (A Novel), in 2023. This gives me time to not rush and to also make sure I'm spending time with my family and what we've got ahead of us (something I still can't say yet!). In the meantime I will still continue to try to get short stories published and have articles up on Mockingbird. At the moment, I have a short story in the second round of debate for submission on a website I've been trying to get on for over a year, Daily Science Fiction. Hopefully, I make it on there, that would be huge for me.
But, until then, I will try to build my website audience and following. You can subscribe for free to get email updates whenever I post a new blog. From now until the end of September I'll be posting some favorite rejected short stories of mine every Sunday. I plan on trying to do something like that every month or every other month. We will see how life plays out, won't we? Thanks for reading and supporting, here's to the future of this writing thing!