So I’m reading Smashwords founder Mark Coker’s recent post, Indie Author Manifesto, and, as usual, he has familiar and terrific things to say about self-publishing, all of which I feel and think and believe and have contemplated and internalized at one time or another since the beginning of my self-publishing journey, and then he has a sentence that hits me like a brick to the brain:
INDIE AUTHORS ARE THE COOL KIDS CLUB.
By the time I arrived at the decision to create Laugh Riot Press and self-publish my funny novels—after being rejected by the traditional publishing empire for writing novels that were (what were you thinking, Rich?) funny—I had read post after post by writers who had self-published their books and were loving their writing lives, and I’d realized that self-publishing was not a second choice or even a first choice. It was the best choice, the smart choice, and the cool choice.
It was the best choice because not one traditional publishing empire imprint could possibly care as much about my novels as I could and would and will. The blogosphere is filled with horror stories of traditionally published authors whose books were mishandled, under-promoted, and ignored. That’s not happening at Laugh Riot Press, where a small community of funny writers—including me—is going to get full heart-and-soul attention every day of the year. I simply couldn’t have chosen a better imprint than my own.
It was the smart choice because as a publisher, I control my cover art, my editing and proofing process, my formatting, my distribution, my sales price, my promotion, and every other business-driven aspect of getting my books out into the world. That control, in addition to making me feel swell, allows me to make important marketing and sales decisions precisely when they need to be made, not when a traditional publishing empire imprint gets around to it—if they ever get around to it (see the above referenced horror stories). It’s the smart business decision to be in control of your business. And my business is my self-published funny books.
It’s the cool choice because my imprint, Laugh Riot Press, is cooler than any traditional publishing empire imprint. And even if it’s not, I think it is. I love seeing that logo in my books. It’s cool. I even feel that way whenever another self-published writer shows me their imprint. “You did that?” I say. “That’s cool.” You want cachet? I’ll give you cachet. Look at my imprint. I did that (with Laugh Riot Press co-founder and social media marketing wizard Heather Thomson). In Mark Coker’s post, he says, “as any indie author will tell you, the joy of self publishing cannot be distilled to dollar metrics alone. How does one describe the importance of independence, freedom and self-determination?” I know how to describe it: cool.
So with that thought in mind—best choice, smart choice, cool choice—I thought it might be time to play Laugh Riot Press 20 Questions. I’ll start at the beginning, otherwise known as:
Question #1: What is Laugh Riot Press?
Answer #1: We’re a genre-specific social media marketing and publishing company whose mission is to create a vibrant community of self-published authors who utilize LRP as an awesome digital hub, another landing in their online portfolio, and a place to participate in and benefit from a year-round social media marketing movement. Our bedrock is the belief that a 12-month/52-week, genre-specific, social media marketing movement is the most effective way to forge a long-term, online-marketplace presence and connect our writers directly with the largest number of readers looking for funny books.
Back to Coker’s manifesto, as spot on as it is, to me it seems more like a kind of wonderful Jeff Foxworthy You might be an indie author piece rather than an actual manifesto. (It’s possible that I’m not smart enough to recognize a manifesto when I see one—that I’m only smart enough for Foxworthy—but that’s a post for another day.)
Anyway, number three resonated with me big time: you might be an indie author if you believe in the guts of your guts that you have a right to publish.
Dude, pay attention, if nobody has told you yet, here it is in black and white: you have a right to publish. The traditional publishing empire has no right to tell you your book cannot, should not, and will not be published. They have no power over you and your books. Period. Turn on the lights; the power is all yours. And that is what you call cool.
And, if you’re a self-published writer of funny books, Laugh Riot Press is as cool as it gets.
I’d love to know what you think. Email me at email@example.com.
The more funny books in the world, the better.