In 2012, I launched my imprint Heathermoors Books with the intention of publishing titles such as a novel I had been working on. I named the company after the heather moors of England, the setting of my favorite novel “Wuthering Heights” by Emily Bronte. While researching the self-publishing industry, I was in disbelief when I discovered that celebrities and reality TV stars were landing lucrative book deals while “ legit” authors were getting doors slammed in their faces. That was one reason I leaned more toward independent publishing: it seemed that traditional publishers were making a mockery of who was a “legit” author and who wasn’t.
In independent publishing, one obstacle I encountered (speaking from personal experience) was the capital. It’s expensive to edit, print, and market a book (surprise, surprise😏) I initiated the process of publishing my novel but later asked for a refund in hopes of finding an agent and get traditionally published.
Then many life-changing events bombarded me, one after the other both professionally and personally. I won’t go into detail in this space, but let’s say that, that part of my life was a turning point.
After I climbed out of rock-bottom, in 2014 I published “Eve the First” as an ebook on Kindle. This was the second title of mind I self-published; my first was a collection of poetry “How Fate’s Confusion Connect,” which is long out of print save for a boxful of paperbacks I stored at home. Some time afterward, I made a few more short story ebooks of mine available on Kindle. Still, I dragged my feet in totally committing myself to indie publishing — again because of capital. It was also because of the stigma lingering in my head that self-published authors weren’t legit like the ones picked up by a Big 5 publisher.
Nowadays, I don’t begrudge celebrities without any experience or even passion for writing, who land book deals. I understand it’s a business decision: celebrities have name recognition, a brand, and a huge following both in real life and online. Therefore they prove themselves as more profitable for the publisher than an unknown author. Publishers can’t just think about writing talent alone (whether a celebrity hires a ghostwriter to pen books or sits down at a computer). It’s also about the bottom line.
Fast forward to 2021, and I feel as if I’m more confident in my burgeoning knowledge of indie publishing to pursue this without hesitation. I’ve been listening to podcasts and reading blogs about the writing and publishing industry, getting massive support from my writing community both online and in real life, and am more comfortable with the fact that I will make mistakes because everybody makes mistakes. It’s part of the learning curve.
So, what do I love most about self-publishing? It’s the control I have over my titles, my products. It’s being proud of being an “authorpreneur” who can grow not just as an author and as a businessperson, but as a person most of all. I feel more comfortable in my skin regarding my craft and having fun along the way! It’s acknowledging that I’m building something without needing to answer to anyone, let alone a publisher who’ll potentially wreck my creative vision. It’s also knowing that I’m shaping my legacy not only for myself, but for my family for years to come.
Teresa Edmond-Sargeant is an award-winning journalist and author. She released her first collection of short stories “Inner Demons” in October 2020. She is the author of the short story ebooks “Eve the First,”“For My Sister,” and “Sammy’s Butterflies.” “A Symphony of Silence” is her second poetry collection. She will release her debut novel “Warding Off Reality” in August 2021.