The following transcript is an attenuated Q&A from my recent interview with Thom Chambers in the premier issue of Micropublisher magazine.
Thom Chambers: I believe I’m correct in saying you were working on your fiction titles before the launch of The Minimalists. Have you tried the traditional route of finding a publisher or literary agent for your work?
JFM: Actually, when I left my job, that was the plan. I’ve been writing fiction for nine years. I wanted to go the traditional fiction-writer route: find an agent, sign with a publisher, recollect my thoughts in a dark room each morning, and allow the guys in suits to flesh out the details. But to my surprise, The Minimalists took off, and that plan went by the wayside. Perhaps last year was simply a beautiful accident, but it allowed me to self-publish three books and make money on my own.
With the audience you have now, are you a self-publishing evangelist? Are you happy to continue self-publishing for the foreseeable future, or does the draw of being signed to a publishing house remain?
I am a writing evangelist. I self-publish because it’s currently the best option for me and for my readers. I wouldn’t sign with a publisher just for the sake of being “a published author,” which by itself is an empty endeavor that reeks of pretense.
That said, I’m not allergic to money either. There is nothing wrong with signing with a publisher, and I’d be happy to ink a book deal if it made financial sense. A publisher can be a great partner for an author—they can help authors in several ways. I’m not, however, going to lose any sleep if the publishers don’t come knocking my door down with bags of cash. As long as I continue to add value, my audience will support my work with or without a publisher.
Now available: How to Write Better: JFM’s Online Writing Class.