I used to be a little bit embarrassed about the fact I am self-publishing. There is a bit of a stigma attached to self-publishing - it means you can't get an agent/publisher and it is the easy option...
Those people are DELUDED. Like seriously...
I did a lot of research before considering self-publishing and it is not an easy option - it is hard work! You are everything and every decision comes down to you. You have to pick your people and answer ALL the questions (which for someone like me is mentally exhausting!) Plus it can be expensive (especially as a picture book author!). You have to learn a whole new world about formatting, ISBNs, marketing, retail discounts etc. etc.
And then, when you finally have a book in your hand, you have no one to champion it for you. No on to go around saying how wonderful it is and that they should stock it. It's all down to you. Endlessly bringing it up in conversations with bookshops/museums/libraries. Plus, you have the snobbery of some people (definitely not everyone!) turning their nose up at a self published book like you aren't worthy of the title author.
So why did I decide to self-publish?
It wasn't a decision I took lightly. I thought about it, made a plan, researched and talked to people. But quite simply, when you self-publish, there is a lot more freedom. I have worked hard on 'The Town That Threw Everything Away' for nearly two years now. I have a very strong vision for what I want it to look like. I began my journey by asking for designs for the dewds and performing it with props. If I handed it over to someone else, how would I know the dewds would make it in? Would Memphis be replaced by a different looking creature?
By self-publishing, I have retained creative control over the story that has grown and developed with me as a writer. It means I can create merchandise, worksheets, workshops and all kinds of exciting things that are inside my head.
As I reach the next stage of the journey and my book is about to come to life, I am proud of the fact I am self-publishing. It's not a "I'm only self-publishing" it's "I am self-publishing and i have worked hard to get here!"
The Town That Threw Everything Away will be released later this year. I can not wait!
Be proud of your choices,
Claire (and Memphis) x
To add: I have absolutely nothing against traditional publishing - I will likely continue to seek representation for other stories I have. Everyone is on their own journey.