Why I Decided Not To Self-Publish

One month ago I was sitting in a Carl’s Jr. in downtown Salt Lake talking about how awesome self-publishing would be.  I was so convinced of taking this route that I was surprised, weeks later, to realize it’s not the route for me at all.

I have the utmost respect for the authors who have made it at self-publishing.  The amount of work and dedication those guys put into it is nothing short of astonishing.  As a father of four and the sole income earner in the family I don’t have that luxury of time and money that so many others do, however.

I want to navigate the murky seas of traditional publishing.  I want the validation of securing an agent.  I want the deal with a publisher.  I want these things because they let me know more than any number of sales or hits on a website that I’ve done something right.  That maybe I’m pretty good at this writing thing.

I don’t want to be the self-pub guy who sells a million copies of his catalog he churned out in a year.  I want to be the guy who tells the stories that are demanding to be told.  I may never sell a million copies in a lifetime, but that’s okay as long as I know that what I’m writing means more to people than “Oh, it’s cheap, why not?”

I want to tell stories.  Not sell books.

Maybe along the way I’ll discover I’m not all that good at writing after all.  And what do I do then?  Fix what’s broken.  There’s no other option.  I’m a storyteller at heart.  I was always the Game Master when I played pen and paper RPGs.  I’m the kid who built entire universes with game creation tool kits on old computers.  I got into the video game industry because that’s what I do: I create.  I’ve been writing since I was five.  If you’re not a writer it’s difficult to understand what a burden having so many stories in your head can be.  All of them trying to get out, but only having so much time in the day to dedicate to any one of them.  I write because I have to.

And when I write, I want a team of experts behind me, people who know the business, people who know what works, guiding me along the way and helping me refine my craft.

Does that make any sense?  How about the rest of you?  Anyone have a similar thought process?  I’d love to hear from both the traditional and self-pub guys out there.