Self Publishing, Hybrid Authors, Liver Transplants, and Opportunity Costs

Wow. There are so many things I had planned to do for my book launch. And then life intervened.

About 9 weeks ago, my dad had a quadruple bypass. It was all quite unexpected.

About 2 1/2 weeks ago, my mother received a liver transplant. No matter how long you’ve been on the list or how many times you’ve been called in, I think the actual T-day is always unexpected.

Instead of teaching 16 hours this semester, I am teaching 20 hours. This was not part of the plan.

All illustrations for my 2015 picture book had to be redone. It’s a ratio thing. The deadline looms.

And, of course, all the ordinary life stuff – kids’ schooling, housework, husband’s work – keeps spinning. Have you noticed?

But I have a book publishing in less than one week! It is surreal. Unlike the picture book, which is due through Anaiah Press, the novel due on Monday is self-published, independent, or what have you. I have a generally difficult time with labels, so call it what you will. I call it a book.

While I don’t fancy labels, I do adore the options now open to writers. I love that I can choose what I believe is the best path for a specific work and run with it. The partnerships between and among professionals are amazing. This hybrid author thing, just like every author perspective for all time, has often touted its opportunity costs.

In choosing to publish TFoJT myself, I chose a whole host of things I have learned along the way, including a certain set of opportunity costs. But none – so far – has hit me as hard as my non-writing life butting into my writing life. Beta readers have read. Revisions have been implemented. The cover has been designed. My book is uploaded to Amazon and Smashwords. Previews are available. Things are in motion. And now I feel very alone.

I am not alone, of course. I have my circles of family, friends, acquaintances. I have contact with beta readers and my cover designer. I had meant to drive all these connections toward a spectacular book launch, with giveaways, supplemental information, a blog tour, maybe even streamers. It could have gotten crazy. I mean, streamers, people!

My support structure is tapped. I am tapped. We are thrilled with the way the last 2+ months have gone, but we are weary and unable to decorate with streamers.

I’ve never yet published with a major publisher, but I have this fantasy in my brain. In my fantasy, an enormous marketing machine is cranking out incremental momentum toward book launch day. Fantasy-me enjoys the prestigious company of author siblings and layers upon layers of professionals invested in my book. And then I drop back to reality and realize I am a single voice in the deep that is ye olde internet.

Despite this unnervingly quiet and still book launch season, I have no regrets. None. The book is exactly what it needs to be, which is not to say it could not have been better built or differently built. It is the right book, though, at the right time. It is as available as my resources allow. And I would not trade the gifts of the last many weeks for anything in this world, certainly not a bigger book launch.

As opportunity costs go, these are doable.

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