Why Did Timeless Self Publish?

NaNoWriMo continues full force, and writers are furiously pounding away at their keyboards to reach their deadline. So far I’ve been encouraging writers to look at the big picture, and to have an idea of where their project is going to go. That leaves a big open question, and that is why I chose to self publish. Quite frankly the reasons resemble a stampede, but one of them is the leading bull.

First thing’s first, my inspiration to get serious about writing came from a friend. We were playing a couple World of Darkness campaigns and he was awesome enough to run some games in a similar setting to a book he was working on. As time went on he got further and further along in the project until it was ready for release. We had a lot of fun, and as a gaming group we got to share in the joy of his first book coming out.

I had to get a copy, so soon after I grabbed a copy of the The Tale of the Wisconsin Werewolf. This is the book that I mentioned most recently. I saw a friend with his name on something. Something to be proud of, and that book offers this amazing quote:

“If you have a dream, my advice is this; never give up on it. It might take years, and it will certainly take lots of work.

“But it’s worth every moment to finally say ‘I did it.'”

-Edison T. Crux

This was very inspiring, it has been motivation to finally pick up those projects I’ve been writing as a hobby and finish them. It’s hard to understand just how damaging it can be to motivation when a project sits in “perpetual development.” It’s certainly redundant but something that will never be done will never be done. This experience was my motivation to finish these projects but by far not the best motivation to self publish. Enter another friend with big dreams.

Kaan Emirler is an extremely talented comic book artist who has been working on making his TrenchVerse a reality. The coolest part of this project is that it is a multimedia experience. Not only is there culturally rich and crazy world in the comics, there is a short movie in production, books, and even a tabletop games.

Although we tend to butt heads a lot, this fellow has done more to inspire me than anything else. He is the poster child for doing everything it takes to make your dreams come to life, no matter how twisted and unique those dreams may be. I got advice from Kaan early on that the world of publishing is changing, and that going out there and getting your stories out there yourself is the future.

The truth is that publishing is not only changing, the traditional world of shopping for publishers is tough. It is hit and miss at best, and great stories can get passed up every day for nothing more than a lost e-mail or a bad relationship. A question asked recently at a fun little writers group posited what would happen if famous authors had to shop for publishers in today’s industry. Would their masterpieces ever get published? Well I answered as honestly as I truly believe. The industry back then was probably just as tough, and asking them to try again from scratch today, or then, would still risk their works never making it into the spotlight. It seems the only certainty is rejection.

With that being said, I’d like to say that I’m covering up for the fact that I was rejected so often that I gave up and did it myself. But the fact of the matter is that I didn’t even try. It wasn’t right for me. After taking the week to read everything I could find about polishing a manuscript, querying for literary agents, how long to wait, and what writing changes to expect that publishers will demand, I found that was not the fate that I really wanted for my works.

I have special needs as a writer. I am not a novelist. I have a novella for no other reason than it provides a great back story for a game. It is intertwined with the game. Traditional publishing would cause such a rift between what this story really is, that it is not the right direction to go. Similarly the world of RPG publishing is not fit for such an experience. Certainly the publishers help to polish gameplay and create the most beautiful rule books possible, but Timeless is not a single rule book awaiting editions or modules.

But my needs as a writer are even more unique than this. I do not write to make money. This is my hobby, I write because I want to help people tell their own stories, albeit through role playing games. That is the heart and soul of story gaming. I will never write the next supplement or novella because money calls for it. It will always be driven by stories that need to be told.

In my first post on the subject I tried my hardest to convince NaNoWriMo participants that there is no such thing as “just writing”. The worst thing that I have ever done to one of my friendships is to tell someone that I’d rather “just write” and let them do the formatting/editing/promotions. That’s like eating a 14 inch pizza by yourself and telling someone else to exercise for you. I was naive and I don’t believe I every really apologized for it.

But as a hobbyist writer, that’s essentially all I’m doing. The rest of this is what you do when you want to make money off of it. Like a voice actor who spends 90% of his time working with agents and doing casting calls. All of that effort is so that 10% of the time he can have fun and still make money. If only writers could “just write.” For me, self publishing is the closest thing to “just writing” while staying a professional.

And herein lies the rub. All professional writers are limited. Either you are spending most of your time fixing your work for sale, or you are spending most of your time writing things for others. The smartest become editors and make money doing the same things they would be doing anyway! But how ever you slice it you are caught up in a world of responsibility, where the act of writing is rare and its rarely free enough to tell the real story.

This is why I think that all writers should be jealous of web writers. Amateur short fiction authors on fiction websites and fan fiction writers are the true artists. Within this world there truly is a lot of crap, but for every single story in which john is the demons there is a freedom of thought and expression that inspiring writers enjoy. Self publishers can’t enjoy this, but we’re as close as we can be. So with this small effort, I try to let my stories roar.

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