Publishing Without Permission

Tonight I prepare to break standards and venture into unorthodox territory.

I’ve written a novel. It took me a year-and-a-half. Eighteen months of hammering away on my keyboard – creating, editing, deleting, rewriting. It’s been challenging work.

The novel isn’t completely done. It’ll never be completely done. I’m learning the truth of Da Vinci’s statement, “Art is never finished, only abandon.” I could continue to wrestle and do battle with this book for another twenty-years and still not think of it as completely done. I know it’s not perfect, but I’m satisfied. I’m ready to put it into the world. I can walk away from it and feel good about it in its current state.

There are aspects of the book that make me happy.

  • Some of the scenes are hysterical,
  • Most of the scenes are evocative,
  • There are some powerful moments,
  • The characters change through the narrative,
  • And it says things I believe should be said. It begins a conversations about leadership and poverty and religion in the urban setting.

But to my frustration and sorrow, it is not marketable.

  • It does not fall within a current trend,
  • I can’t prove statistically that there is a demographic of readers waiting for it,
  • And I don’t have a large enough tribe of readers yet to launch it successfully with only the force of my own will.

Just because it isn’t marketable, doesn’t mean it isn’t a good book. I think it is going to be a great read people will enjoy.

Being unmarketable does mean that publishers aren’t going to snatch it up and run with it, that getting readers to make an initial connection with it is going to be extra hard, and that if I were to self-publish it on Amazon it will most likely sit in obscurity until my future tribe possibly discovers it.

Traditional wisdom tells me to put the finished book in a drawer and forget about it. This is the common narrative of the writing world. “I wrote my first novel. It was a labor of love. I couldn’t sell it. It’s in a drawer collecting dust. Maybe someday, but most likely never.”

There is nothing in me that desires to repeat that narrative. It sounds like a terrible waste. I don’t want to wait on publishers to give me permission to distribute my novel to readers. I don’t want to wade into the raging and unending flood of new books on Amazon and fight for attention. No. Contemporary publishing paths don’t interest me for this project.

Instead, I’m going to do something different.

I’m going to post a chapter a week on

It may not work, but at least I can say I tried.

Look for the first chapter on Sunday night  – October 19th. There will be a chapter every Sunday night following.

2 thoughts on “Publishing Without Permission

  1. I was at a writing conference last weekend and in speaking with the editor of Blotterature literary mag, she reminded me of a resource I’d completely forgotten about: small presses. Small, independent and university presses will look at those stories that may not conform to trends. And some of the ones I’ve researched have specific genres they look at: stories from a certain geographical region, books from writers of a specific nationality, or books on specific topics. Maybe that could be something to look into. And congratulations on finishing that novel. I know how it feels!


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