On MAD AS A HATTER, being a teen author, and the decision to self-publish

This post has been a long time coming.

Let me start with some background: I first wrote Mad as a Hatter when I was fourteen. It was a significantly different book then, with different POVs, more graphic violence, and some significantly different plot points. I swung between rewriting it and querying it for a good three years. I got a fair number of requests, some pretty detailed critiques, and a lot of great advice. My last significant rewrite was at the end of last summer, and while wrapping up those edits, I experienced a pretty significant change of heart: I decided to self-publish Mad as a Hatter.

I can’t pin that decision down to any lone factor. I’ve never been opposed to editing my work based on the advice and critiques of other, and I’ve never had a huge social media following that I intended to use for marketing, and I’ve never been swayed by supposed horror stories about traditional publishing. As for the timing of my choice, it probably came down to a feeling of powerlessness, of a need for control: not because I’ve ever been a control freak, but because, when I made this choice, I was in a place where I had no control, sitting in the endless purgatory of boarding school, needing to take charge of something in my life, to make something happen.

This past October, I decided to self-publish Mad as A Hatter through FriesenPress, and so far, the process has been absolutely amazing– and almost done. I know I should have made this post ages and ages (and ages) ago, but I kept putting it off, because, well, I was kind of scared to make this announcement. I didn’t want to look like some kid who couldn’t get an agent so self-published as a last resort. This doesn’t feel like a last resort; call me arrogant, but I’m still confident that, if I’d just kept going with the traditional route, I’d eventually achieve success. In fact, a lot of my decision to self-publish comes from a newfound sense of confidence. Querying for me always held this sense of needing someone to justify my decision to write– in a way, self-publishing is my way of standing on my own, and saying, I don’t need to lay my sense of self-worth at someone else’s feet.

And so I’ve gone through this process, and it’s gone by both slower and faster than I’d ever imagined, and needless to say, I’m kind of freaking out a bit. Mad as a Hatter is on the verge of hitting the market, and all I can think is that I still haven’t made some sort of internet announcement, which gives me a strange sense of shame: I’m a member of the selfie generation, for god’s sake. Withholding information on the internet should be, like, the last thing anyone could accuse me of.

But here I am, at very long last, confession in hand. I’ll be back soon with my cover and my release date and all the other book related news– I’ve been feeling strangely incapable of posting anything, because anything I posted without having made this announcement felt likeā€¦ well, felt like a lie. As always, thanks for reading my inane babbling. I hope it wasn’t entirely dull.