Personal Journeys with Gramma

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Self-Publishing Madness by Susan Adair Harris

Surviving another broken wrist surgery (the other hand)…from tripping on an asphalt pothole as I was running this time…and several minor strokes that temporarily scrambled my verbal skills wasn’t enough challenge for me. I had to complete my fourth novel, the first since 2020, and attempt to self-publish while anticipating imminent cataract surgery in both eyes. I’m beginning to question more than my command of vocabulary. What’s up with my sanity?

I like to write fast-paced novels that hover over unusual occurrences reported as factual by credible sources, whether or not the general public accepts them as such. The reader doesn’t have to believe the premises to be entertained. My first novel, DEATH LOST DOMINION, began with political torture that was all too historical in Argentina and followed the fictional life of an American child of political rape. Thoughtful. My second novel, THE WOMAN WHO SAW SOULS, played with the theory of the spirits of traumatically killed people attaching to nearby living persons. I’d never heard of such a thing before. Creepy. In my third novel, THEY’RE IN YOUR MIND, my point of view was colored by conditions in the United States at the time—openly violent hostility, manipulation, and degradation. Behind my story, I tucked in a belief from the kahunas of Hawaii—that there are invisible entities that invade the minds of otherwise reasonable people and cause them to go to the dark side, away from empathy. An excuse for bad behavior? The newest manuscript, RETURN TICKET, centers on the changes that occur in those who endure deep near-death experiences which impact all aspects of their subsequent lives. I consulted more print resources than in any of the other books…and personal accounts, as well, and consolidated the information I gathered. I had no idea how difficult the writing would be when I wanted to represent the hopeful perspective I encountered in an engaging, realistic fictive narrative without offending either religion or those disaffected by religion. Nearly impossible when even naked facts offend.

Why self-publish? My main reason is my age and impatience. I’m not willing to spend precious hours, days, and months of my life seeking an agent who may or may not represent my work well because I can’t prove how many readers will love it. I’m not a celebrity whose work attracts an automatic following. Locating a kindred agent mind would be a daunting, time-consuming task for someone who lives rurally, separated from professional contacts. I went down that road when I was younger and anxious to please. I found life-long friends but not wide readership. Currently, when I want to be discouraged, I watch the news. I don’t need rejections—if such would be my fate. I accept marketing as my inborn weakness.

Another reason to self-publish is related to the first. My subject matter has massive appeal primarily to an open-minded audience that seems to be growing but doesn’t include mass market agents. My characters are diverse while my backgrounds sometimes touch on controversy. One reader called to tell me she thanked God I’m alive. Another called to tell me he cried, he was so touched. I write hope. My most enthusiastic reviews aren’t on Amazon. My readers take my work personally and want to be private. I’ve been assured that ambitious marketing is far more important than the quality of the writing in the success of the book. Oh dear.

Anyone who’s wealthy will have a lovely experience self-publishing, because abundant help is available when you can pay for it. However, those of us who attempt to do as much as possible ourselves have to be at least partially mad or technologically gifted. I am neither. I’ll report back when the final product becomes available. (My other books are on Amazon in Kindle or print.) I’ll do my best to finish this year. Please send positive thoughts and energy. I thrive on the kindness of strangers.

One comment on “Self-Publishing Madness by Susan Adair Harris

  1. Frances Sullivan
    February 26, 2023

    Your writing is flawless and your imagination equal to the great authors, in my humble opinion. And although 3 is purported to be the magic number, maybe it is 4 for someone who thinks, lives, and chooses to explore the realms your narratives open for us. My fingers are crossed in that regard. Whatever the case, however, well done and thank you for your work. You continue to touch, teach, and challenge not only me but countless others with your talent, perspective, and example.

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