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Friday, June 15, 2012

Permission (short post)

I recently had a conversation with someone who asked me why I'm going to self-publish again, as opposed to going the traditional route.  After all, if I believe in it enough to sell it out of my trunk if need be, why not sell it to a publisher?  My answer to that is simple; why should I ask permission?

By hawking my project to a traditional publisher, I am asking them to believe in my project enough to sell it for me.  In short, I'm asking their permission for authorship, handing creative control and marketing control to them.  If they deem my project worthy, they will offer me a small percentage of its profits.  There most definitely is an Oliver twist reference in there somewhere.  Think about it this way: Dan Brown's The DaVinci Code made him, let's say, a million dollars.  It made his publisher $30 million.

Through most forms of business and employment, we, the employee are asking the employer for permission to have a better life.  We ask for raises, for time off, promotions, more office space, new co-workers.  And those requests are subject to the whim of whomever we're asking; they evaluate our worth, consider our request, and approve or deny at their will.  I do that enough at my regular job.  I refuse to do it for my passion.

By no means is this a rant against the basic fabric of American culture, or against the evils of work as a whole.  It's simply me saying that this writing thing is mine, and I do it on my terms.  Anyone who works, works in customer service, no matter what your occupation.  And everyone has a boss, be it a manager, regional director, COO, CFO, CEO, the government, or the ultimate boss, John Q. Public, the consumer.   Whether you are a self-employed writer, or a 40 hour a week cubicle inhabitant, we are all beholden to the consumer.  In my model, I want to remove as much middleman between me and the consumer as I can.

I ask permission to work a regular job, earn a regular wage, take a regular vacation, have a regular sick day.  Writing is not regular, and I feel the rules shouldn't have to apply.  Why will I self-publish?  Because I'm sick of asking.

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