There's a horrible stigma attached to self-publishing. It calls to mind arrogant, disconnected, entitled writers who, unable to pursue a "legitimate" publishing option, bind their words in a fancy cover and charge money for them, hoping that that act somehow legitimizes their sloppy, incomplete, amateurish, or often boring story. The stigma of self-publishing is so strong that, as soon as I decided to release my book, I started actively brainstorming euphemisms to describe what I'm up to here.
I still like those. After all, the idea that I'm publishing this novel using only my "self" is ludicrous. So many people have helped Cambridge Street across the finish line that I'll forever owe a lot of debts, no matter what happens next.
So am I self-published now?
Well, I can say with confidence that my novel is not sloppy, incomplete, amateurish, or boring. I can also say that I didn't take this step because I was entirely unable to pursue a more traditional publishing route.
As for the other pieces of the stigma--arrogant, disconnected, entitled--I'm not sure about that yet.
As this very important day arrives, I'm more than a little terrified that I am at least one of those things; that even if I have compelling, career-oriented reasons to get my novel out to the world, I'm still, underneath, a cubic zirconia guy. Maybe, in the footsteps of great historical monsters like Adolf Hitler and, say, Napolean, I'm even a megalomaniac who wants to see his name on the biggest stage possible--and won't accept any other reality. Absurd, that, but at the same time, my blog is entitled "I Will Be Famous Soon."
I find myself ending pensive, useless, overthought musings like this one with the following statement:
"Here's the bottom line."
The bottom line is that I want the following story to be told, and I want whoever's interested out there to be able to hear it, straight from the source and as unfettered as possible by expectations of market demand:
"Each day, Andrew Lawrence travels Cambridge Street with "the big college dorm buildings from MIT and Harvard and all those big shot schools" rising behind him. He has ambitions--to win the love of his beautiful, Harvard-educated student teacher, Eleanor; to teach his mentally disabled brother to defend himself; ultimately, to live life as a famous writer--but "here" keeps getting in the way. His determinedly honest, wildly imaginative, often naive voice guides us from "here" to Harvard: a place that looks different in dreams."
I would read that story. The question is whether or not the rest of the world would.
11/11/11, 11:11 am CST
Make a wish. This must be one of the luckiest moments in history. I hope so.
. . .
My novel, Cambridge Street is now available, "self"-published, at:
Discount code 3YDDCN5Z will get "like"-rs $3.00 off the cover price for the next two weeks.