Creativity With Purpose: Self-Publishing
“When I first started writing novels, I had no expectation of success. People thought writing a novel was pointless, but when I finished the manuscript and had editors and agents read it, they encouraged me to self-publish it. To me, it was a big statement that I really wanted to succeed and show other people what I could do. Now I have a wife and a son, and have published a second novel, so I’m on the path that many people start out on.” — Matt Johnson, author of “Sold”
J.K. Rowling on Self-Publishing
The author of the Harry Potter series J.K. Rowling published her first book about the Wizarding World, “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” in 1997 and later wrote two more of the very successful series. She was able to succeed by independently self-publishing her books as she was self-supporting, but was also able to receive some money to help out her family.
William Faulkner, Haruki Murakami and Patricia Highsmith wrote their first books in their twenties, but didn’t publish them until their thirties. Highsmith wrote a novel about a brothel in the 1920s, but found it difficult to get published because of the content. “In Cold Blood” was the first time it would be published, in 1951.
Although it may seem that the success of the creators of the stories and novel is due to their pasts, it’s more important to realize how the difficulty of writing can lead to taking unexpected paths of excellence. There is something special about taking risks and failing but succeeding in spite of it. When individuals learn how to identify the successful outcomes for their ideas and then push themselves to discover those ways of doing it, they seem more likely to succeed.
You might think that you’re going through the same experience, but your results could be completely different. You can learn from the writers’ successes and failures and become more successful in your own life.
Some Writers Record and Publish Their Work on their Own
Admittedly, self-publishing your work is the best and most direct way to know if your work is good enough to be published, but finding a publisher is certainly the most powerful and direct way of gaining recognition.
John Green is one of the best-selling young adult authors of all time. His “Looking for Alaska” was published in 2002 and has since been optioned as a television series and a film.
Sally Gardner is a Victorian novelist and memoirist. Her best-known work, “Upstairs Below,” was first published in 1906 and later made into a book by TV film company Melaguera. Gardner wrote “I Sat by the Window” in 1985, in which the young wife of a royal house was bombarded with questions by a fictitious reporter, recounting her own experiences.
Marilynne Robinson is a writer and novelist, best known for her collections “Gilead” and “Lila.” In 2006, Robinson wrote a memoir of her own life, “The Lark and the Dove,” which includes the following passage.
“Of all the questions I have been asked in all the places I have been to and in all the things I have been asked, maybe the most important has been: What does life mean? That is a question everybody asks when they meet you. Yet I know that answer to itself. My life has come to mean the way I live it, because of the books and films and plays and poems and plays that have been read and shared with me. I am living that life.”
Why Do I Care About That?
We live in a world with endless choices of what we can do and what it means to be alive and to have a better life for ourselves. We can live in fear and anxiety and be afraid of failure but that is rarely a good thing. A greater degree of fear and anxiety comes from changing what we believe about our ability to succeed and become better than we have been in the past.
If writing is fulfilling you and revealing new dimensions of yourself, take those stories home and share them with the world.