It was not easy, there were moments of hell and my head still hurts from all the hats I wore (and I am still wearing) but my writing partner Brody Thomas and I did it. We self-published a book and we own the rights.
Where “The Passion of The Christoph” had a content editor and an imprint behind it, “Great White House” was myself, Brody, a copy editor, luck, and a lot of hustling and caffeine.
Online, I hear all these debates on self-publishing and traditionally publishing that strangely sound as divisive as the politicians we were lampooning in the book.
I personally don’t care: I don’t care what the self-publishing community thinks, I don’t care what the literary community thinks. I am going do what I feel is best for my work and what is the best distribution for it.
I was a punk rocker before I was a writer and poet so I’m just apathetic about ‘scenes’ and don’t really give a shit about all this literary label bullshit.
As a musician in the 21st century I’ve always felt if you can get a Record Label behind you which is cool (though you’ll have the trade-off of loss of freedom but backing) or go DIY, which is also cool (though you’re own your own and have to do the bullshit.)
As writers we DIYed it and had to do most of the bullshit, and even re-edited and re-uploaded the novella a few times.
Learning experiences aside, we lucked out as we got a cover designer that did two covers for us that both we loved, a solid copy editor for a good price, and I content edited (I am a free-lance copy editor, so I was able to pull this off but I don’t recommend other writers doing this unless you are content editor as well.)
There is a stigma of self-publishing and I agree with a lot of the complaints as many of the self-published books I see are usually lame, but many books that are traditionally published right now are lame right now too.
Except for well-established and branded writers, a lot writers are creating shitty books that are mediocre and pander to the lowest common denominator (definitely many-self-published writers) or extremely self-indulgent and boring (I’m sorry literary novelists I like the term ‘art & entertainment’.)
The only art that has been impressive across the board has been TV Series. I think because they get the best of both worlds: creative freedom, good distribution options (there are only so many channels), and people with money able to back great artists and create great shows.
Yet, it was not a great show/movie on TV that inspired us; it was a ridiculous one “Sharknado” that was like “The Room” with sharks which was the muse and inspiration for this novella.
We just felt we had to do it and knew it would be hell to write a screenplay, get an agent, etc or write the novella and bug agents and a publisher. By time it even got the green light South Park could have done an episode on it. We had to do it, and we had to do it fast.
So, instead we went a different way and wrote the book we wanted to write with hope of having it one day be “The Citizen Kane” of Stupid Shark Movies.
Brody is now crafting the screenplay and if the novella showed us anything we have succeeded. It is really funny and the style I used is easy for him to adapt.
That screenplay aside, what we are doing is cool for artists in that it is a back door strategy on how to make a movie or just reach audiences. It is also a new way to put a book out there and I think can stop some of the self-publishing stigma.
While a lot of people hold their nose up at self-publishing (and rightly to a degree, as many of the books do stink and should have never been more than a Wattpad piece) I think what Brody and I did was very 70’s Grindhouse, as it is a Grindhouse novella with a heavy dose of South Park and satire.
While there is definitely a large group of self-published writers producing stuff that really is just bland boring crap, we did something that was less literary but yet something that also came from the 70’s–punk.
Maybe that is where a new group of self-published writers can feel good and some pride: being the punk rockers of the literary world.
Is “Great White House” a literary classic? Hell no, but are the Sex Pistols, The Dead Kennedy’s, and The Ramones going to be taught in Music appreciation courses next to Beethoven or even The Beatles?
Probably not, punk rock did something cool for music, and maybe true ‘indie’ authors (writers who are actually doing something independent and original) can follow this path and just write their vision and roll the dice.
“Great White House” could also make it on the screen; though, I’m a punk rocker at heart, it is unprofessional to discuss certain business stuff so I won’t give details but I have had some interests–some bites so to speak.
Then again, we could end up having to go the same route and maybe DIY the movie ourself. I don’t know, I’m not worried about it right now. I am just proud of what we did.
Either way, I think we are on to something and show you can do self-publishing, embrace it, and be proud you did it. I am, and who knows I might do it again; I saw as a musician in 2006 that the traditional way making music will never be the same and with the invention of the Kindle and Ipad I now see the same thing for writers.
Non-E-Books will eventually be Vinyl and that is just the way it is going to go. I have accepted that reality, but I still like Vinyl and I love real books, but in the end most of my purchases or through I-Tunes and Amazon.
Though I don’t like to be a part of any scenes or be any poster boy, I do feel “Great White House” is a book that shows Self-Publishing is not a bunch of shitty books but a way to do something punk rock and original.