Recently, a reader wrote that my first novel, The Polar Bear and the Palm Tree, screamed “self-published.” The one star out of five and the rest of his review confirmed that P. from Ohio did not really enjoy reading my book.
Did this comment sting? Yes, of course. A little. But mostly, it got me thinking. Over the past two years, about 1000 copies of my book were purchased in Australia, the Middle East, Europe, Africa…and Cincinnati. That alone deserves a pat on the shoulder. But it also made me realize how inferior we, self-published authors, are considered.
When I wrote my novel, in 2016, I had no degree in creative writing (I still don’t, but that’s not the point). I didn’t know anything about plot, structure or characters’ arcs. I wrote it in a foreign language. I formatted it myself, created the cover, uploaded it on different platforms, dealt with tax, financial and legal issues, took care of self-promotion and marketing.
Could my novel be better? Of course! Could I have worked on it for years and spend a fortune hiring a professional editor? Probably. But in 2016, I simply had a story to tell. And I did. With my own voice, with my memories, with my guts. With the little knowledge and resources I had.
Self-publishing gave me the opportunity to tell a unique story. That story has been read by close to a 1000 readers around the world (thank you!). So, if that screams “self-published”, let me scream loud and clear how happy and proud I am.
And so should all those who have a story to tell.