SelfPubCon in less than 15 hours! 4am for me!

Hello Friends,

I am not sure how many of you are in the Self-Publishing space or consider yourselves “indie” authors. I’ve been thoroughly enjoying the Self-Publishing Advice Podcast from ALLi. For a reasonable annual fee that works out to be less than the cost of paperback book per month (at least the trade paperbacks), they have a treasure trove of resources for their members.

Free 3-day pass if you become a member of ALLi.

Since I’ve been working away at my first book, I have delighted in the idea of being my own book publisher. While I realize the final product will be different from something that Penguin Random House or HarperCollins would produce, I hope any neurodiverse folks like me (or anyone who feels like “cover” some aspect of their identity at work) receive it as an offering of love.

Though I realize the knowledge sphere (and the blogosphere) is a crowded and noisy space, but it excites me that past gatekeepers are so much less relevant than they used to be. I won’t give up reading the authors I love (of course) and enjoying books that are produced in a high quality way. I squeal with delight when Liz Gilbert, Martha Beck, Glennon Doyle or Celeste Ng publish anything new. And yet, how many undiscovered voices become discoverable when the (largely) white, male, neurotypical, ableist gatekeepers no longer get to bar the doors ?

I realize there is potential for right-wing scary types of people to publish as well. Hate speech is also increasing in this time of algorithms and weird amplifications of dangerous ideas (maybe that’s what led to the January 6th debacle at the U.S. Capitol). To me that makes it even more imperative that marginalized voices, whether they are BIPOC sisters and brothers, disabled, neurodiverse, non-binary or LGBTQ+, or any other flavor of human can connect and form communities.

Self-publishing is one of those means, and I think it holds the potential to amplify voices that publishers have scoffed at in the past: “There’s no market for that!”

Just because they cannot “see” or acknowledge our market does not mean we do not exist. And as the marketplace of ideas allows for more perspectives, it excites me to imagine the possibilities for the more sensitive and imaginative folks in the world to find their voice.

Okay, rant over. Anyone else joining me for this one? Or will I be alone at 4am central time with my coffee and in my pjs?

Cheers, happy writing & happy weekend, whatever is ahead for you!

cristy@wedefydefinition.com

Breathless

Have you ever finished a book and it left you a little breathless and dizzy, with its story and insights revealed? And then you know you will read it again, because there were passages that moved you so deeply, but you had to keep reading to get to the end, because it was so compelling?

That is what Tara Westover’s book Educated did for me. It is a powerful memoir about leaving home and what happens when we leave behind the strange beliefs our families may have tried to instill in us.

Though my own life story is very different from Tara’s, the idea of leaving behind a patriarchal family structure is probably familiar to a lot of women of my generation. I am grateful I had no brothers, and endured no significant violence that I remember. But the denial and rage and depression that occurs when you realize you have been “gas-lighted” by half your family is palpable.

Educated photo of book cover

It was a little like when I first read Martha Beck’s memoir Leaving the Saints, another powerful story. When we are little children and we are in the care of our parents, we must believe in them. It is our first act of faith, in a way. Babies and children are vulnerable and dependent. To reject our families means likely death. If they reject us, possibly it may take decades (and probably a lot of therapy) to recover our sense of worthiness.

As we become adults, and learn to think for ourselves, we can sometimes reconcile the pain and mental illness they may have lived through. As we begin to take on a new perspective on the world, and perhaps have different opportunities available (especially as women in comparison to our mothers), we realize their views do not have to be our views.

In 1974, the year I was born, the equal credit opportunity act was passed. Before that a woman could not necessarily open a credit card or bank account on her own. Now I would scoff if someone asked me my husband’s income to apply for my own account.

Educated… yes. More of us are educated. I am grateful for the privilege of being born at a time and in a place where this is an option. And I am so very grateful that Tara had the courage to share her story. It reminds me a bit of the Mark Nepo poem (Breaking Surface) I posted last April.

I am still a bit breathless at the beautiful rendering of her story. What books have left you breathless lately?

cristy@meximinnesotana.com