For most of my adult life, I’ve worked with self-publishing efforts. I enjoy creating my own appropriate artwork for my stories, and I like to put my own hand-crafted touch to my finished products.
When I wanted to advertise my products, I used a self-interview to help gain an audience (and a website now no longer in use). Here is a portion of what I said in the interview some years ago:
BP (BAT Publishing): What is BAT Publishing?
BAH (me): BAT is I. The letters b-a-t are simply family initials. I conceived BAT Publishing as a way to self-publish.
BP: Why did you choose self-publishing?
BAH: The big publishing houses had closed their doors to newcomers, for the most part. A new writer needed either an inside string to pull, or an agent to get published by the bigs. So, I began to think smaller and that led me back to myself. Of course, publicized success in any other career, these days, assures book publication for anyone, even those who can’t write a lick. The big houses use name power to their profit advantage. It’s business. John Grisham was a lawyer. Carol Burnett was a comedian. Kirk Douglas was an actor. Billy Graham was an evangelist. But any big publishing house would grab their stories in autobiographical form. Name power. That puts the rest of us who love writing at a great disadvantage. We don’t have a name.
BP: You’re obviously opinionated on this subject. Any pet peeves in particular about the writing industry?
BAH: Not necessarily about the industry, really. It is a business. If I have a pet peeve, it would be to hear writers, published writers, I mean, say how much they hate the writing part. Success, money, fame, sure, that’s nice, but they hate the grind of writing. Why, then, I ask, do they torment themselves? Why lift a pencil again? I write because I love it. It’s no grind. It’s a joy. I’ve done it all my life. So, self-publishing, having the ability to use my own touch, is very appealing to me.
BP: But have you always yearned to be a published authoress in the traditional sense?
BAH: I am published. I’ve been published since I put the words “The End” to my first story, aged six. (See my blog: http://www.mywritinglifexposed.wordpress.com.) Also, I’ve submitted some of my finished self-products to the Ohioana Library in Columbus, Ohio.
BP: Ohioana? What is that?
BAH: It’s a preservation library open for submissions from Ohio authors, artists, and musicians; an institute in which all our work can be preserved as reference material. Submissions are used only in house.
BP: Interesting. Your beliefs concerning self-publishing must have had other motivations?
BAH: You mean points of beginning? Yes. I was influenced by Edward Uhlan’s book “The Rogue of Publisher’s Row”, First Edition, 1956, written about vanity publishing; “The Publish-It-Yourself Handbook — Literary Tradition & How-To”, 1973, edited by Bill Henderson for Pushcart Press; and others like those who spoke about how you can control things yourself when it comes to publishing your work. First for yourself, and for the thrill of it.
BP: So you don’t dream of commercial publishing success?
BAH: Oh — yes and no. I’ve thought about it forever, but I didn’t really want my life to go there. Extreme changes? Not for me. I’m an old farm girl who values her homey privacy. The greatest thrill for me in writing is not just having written. It’s the work itself. The process. Writing, planning more, revising, playing with it. I have stacks of files, ideas in various stages of completion. I play with it constantly. My day jobs are always my existence, but writing always is my life. Writing pleases me.
BP: What have you self-published?
BAH: Novels In A Nutshell — they are stories of various lengths shorter than the accepted 60,000-word novel; short stories in booklet form; and poetry, which I began tinkering with later in life. All of those include my creations of artwork and the handcraft work that make them uniquely my own.
BP: And would you recommend self-publishing to other writers?
BAH: Absolutely! It’s good for the writing soul — it’s you, your work at your time, with control. Everyone has to find their own way in the writing game. Self-publishing can remain self-satisfying all one’s life, or, perhaps, help one’s confidence to launch himself into the writing world in other ways.
BP: So self-publishing is mostly about controlling your own work?
BAH: Yes, and having fun. Self-publishing is a great way to learn to have fun with your craft of writing. And that’s the main point — control and having fun. My goodness, it should be fun!
Self-Photo and Self-Interview from the personal and copyrighted collection of Barbara Anne Helberg
For more on self-publishing, also see: