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How to Apply Pascal’s Wager to Publishing

[SPOILER ALERT: This post shares some secrets from the film, The Ring. If you haven’t seen it yet, go do so, and then come back here and tell me how awesome it was. You’re welcome.]

Blogging is not at all like riding a bicycle. You completely forget how to do it once you’ve stopped. Although, for someone like me, riding a bicycle is not at all like riding a bicycle either. So there’s that.

Still, not to be dissuaded, I asked The Other Lamm what I ought to write about in my new blog, and he said, “Why don’t you just write about writing? Or publishing?”

“But there are already a million blogs on writing and publishing,” I said.


So I’ve decided to write what I know, and also what I don’t know, and also what I imagine I know but most likely don’t. The first question I should probably address is why I am choosing to self-publish.

To begin with, here’s something I learned about storytelling (not writing, since there is a difference): if no one gets to enjoy your stories, you’re doing it wrong. Storytelling is, remarkably, about telling stories. To other people. Of course, you can tell them to yourself, but you can do a lot of things to yourself and we all know what most people call that. So, yes, in order to tell stories, you have to find an audience, even if that audience consists of one slightly distracted person.

For years, I had no audience. I hid my stories in a dresser drawer (I didn’t need the space for clothes, being so fashionably unfashionable as I was). And maybe I escaped some humiliation by doing so—God knows I’m no A.S. Byatt—but there comes a time in most people’s lives when getting out there and risking humiliation is better than hiding in the dark. So I plan to step out into the light and suffer the usual bleary-eyed confusion until I’ve learned to adjust. Or not. Maybe I’ll never adjust. I don’t know, but I’m willing to try. And I’ve decided to try with Titan Magic.

Why self-publish? Because every story deserves the chance to be loved. I did introduce the manuscript to quite a few kind professionals who said it was attractive, well-mannered, and clever enough, but they just didn’t feel that marry-me-now spark of enthusiasm. Still, I thought, someone out there might love this story. And a story’s purpose is to be told.

So it’s settled. I’m going to tell you a story. If you don’t like it, I will cry bitter, bitter tears. If you take some enjoyment in it, I will dance the dance of the supremely happy. And if you fall in love with it, I will consider you a kindred spirit and adore you forever.

Now I know there are a lot of people who say self-publishing fiction is a terrible idea, and they may be right. I may be sabotaging myself. On the other hand, what if my characters are like Samara from The Ring? What if they can only exist in the minds of others, and if I don’t pass them on, they’ll crawl out of my book like proper Japanese ghosts and terrify me to death? Huh? Has anyone thought about that? I mean, on the one hand, I could get some bad reviews, but on the other, I could SCREAM UNTIL I DIE. Not a difficult choice, as far as I’m concerned.

And that’s why I’ll be publishing Titan Magic through Amazon and B&N this fall.

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