Should I Self Publish?

Hey All,

Sorry I've been so lax in putting up blog posts lately.  I've been busy having adventures throughout the world (which I've been documenting on other people's's one about how I ran the Inca trail with two Olympians...speaking of that, I think I need to do some battle scenes at altitude in my next fantasy novel since I can't think of anyone ever doing that effectively [by the way, do me a favor and "like" that page]).

So I was just sitting here in this high rise apartment in Lima and I started thinking about the whole self-publishing quandary.  Currently there is a real snitty attitude about self-publishing, even though basically every novel that is currently regarded as a classic was self-published (I'm being a little wishy-washy with figures there, but it IS a fact that self-publishing has been the norm rather than the exception throughout literary history).

I've done both and I personally prefer to have a publisher since I think I need somebody to kick my butt a little bit, design covers, edit, etc.  Still, I started out self-publishing and I kind of look back on those days now with a bit of wistful nostalgia.

You see, self-publishing makes sense if you're just writing for the sake of writing.  If you're actually attempting to pursue writing as a career and make money, then yes, self-publishing is pretty worthless.  But if you just want to practice your craft, take daring literary chances, and get your work out there where people can get their hands upon it (and rip it apart), by all means self-publish.

Honestly, in the normal evolution of writing, self-publishing will probably bookend your career.  You should self-publish in the beginning just to get an idea of what the process is like, and then, fifty years down the road when you're so famous that everything you write is guaranteed to be a bestseller, you can probably self-publish again to maximize profits.  This whole idea that you don't want to self-publish something because then that book is "lost" is utter rubbish.  Above all, a writer must continue to write, not sit around guarding their one novel length work against any and all mistreatment.

The fact is, there are a bunch of pretentious morons out there who ceaselessly spout out a lot of garbage on "modern day literary theory" and who frankly don't know what they're talking about.  Many of these people are college professors, who look down their nose at writers who have self-published, even though getting a Ph. D. is the academic equivalent of self-publishing in my opinion (you pay somebody a lot of money to give you a piece of paper that says you're worth something).  Since self-publishing is a lot cheaper than getting a Ph. D., it seems like the smarter investment (and you learn more).  Still, it's probably best to publish under a cool pseudonym (Clem Wretched).

For now, at least, I'm darn happy with my publisher Rhemalda, but I don't begrudge anyone for self-publishing.  That being said, I'm probably not going to read anything that was self-published either (then again, I don't read much of anything anymore...I'm too busy the Marquis de Sade).

Shells chats with Keandre Curry

What prompted you to want to be a motivational speaker?

As the founder and executive director of the Coalition for Peace of America, which is devoted to the task, I spoke to many at-risk youth and received so much positive results that I decided to continue speaking.

How important is it for one to look at their life and their surroundings?

It’s very important for one to look at their life and think of ways to improve it. Most of the time one fails because of behavior and lifestyle, not because of their surroundings. One can be in a room with people gossiping, but doesn’t mean one has to participate in the gossiping. Life is just choices and all about being successful and happy. One will most likely achieve both with right decision making.

You are very active in learning and speaking about world issues, politics and just life around us and now have joined Morning Eyes Magazine as a political writer. Can you tell us a bit about the magazine and what type of information you are hoping to get out to the public?

I enjoy speaking about world issues, because it brings out my character, compassions and goal to make the world a better and safer place. About two weeks ago, I joined the Morning Eyes Magazine; an online publication that provides tips, advice, and news on politics, entertainment, business, health and more. Twice a week, I write articles regarding political issues that will affect the general public; to promote awareness and knowledge.

You also have a blog talk radio show called Keandre Curry in the Mix. What time is this show on and what is it about?

The radio show is about learning more about national issues and getting in-depth information on the latest breaking news. The show will be airing on September 12th and right now we are accepting time suggestions and guest requests.

Amongst speaking, a blog talk radio show, a writer for Morning Eyes America, you are also an author and have a book out called Life’s simple point. What is this book about and how important was it for you to write it?

Life’s Simple Point is a self-help book that gives advice on handling obstacles, motivation to make necessary life changes, inspiration to live positive and courage to alleviate distractions and nonessential aspects in one’s life. This book can help so many stressed and depressed people, whether they like reading or not. I want everyone to live their life happy, so I had to write this book.

Do you have any plans to write more books?

Right now, I’m working with individuals that have book ideas and looking into releasing my new book, Beyond the Worst, an inspirational story of three lawyers whom are going through hardship, but overcome it to live happier lives. Check out my website for the release date.

Any upcoming speaking events, book signings or appearances that you can share with us?

I have no events scheduled for the next month, but is planning a few surprise appearances in October. Just go to my website to request an event, signing or appearance!

Where can our readers learn more about you?

Readers can learn more about me at my website,, or can just email me at

What is the one most important thing you have learned about life, people and the world around you that you would wish to tell our readers?

Live every day the best I can, and treat my surrounding the way that I want to be treated and respected. Readers are sometimes pessimistic about new authors, so I just ask readers to check out my website and give my works a chance beyond any perception. Thank you for the interview!

Shells chats with author Robert R. Best

With writing stories, do any of your life experiences float into characters or settings?

It's impossible to avoid, really. The best writing draws on the experiences and emotions of the writer. But it's risky to do it intentionally. You shouldn't go through your memories trying to find good fiction. You may end up in diary or wish-fulfillment territory. So I try to just write the best story I can and leave it at that. Then I’m surprised later when my wife Laura points out elements that relate to something real in my, or our, lives. And when I think about it, she’s right. I was drawing on that without even thinking about it.

What is or has been your most challenging moment as an author?

There’s a storyline in Ashton Memorial about an estranged father trying to reconnect with his children. And the children do not respond like he hopes. Writing those parts brought up a lot of feelings toward my own father and my parent’s divorce. And unlike the answer I gave above, I was aware of this as I was writing. This made writing those sequences very difficult because it was touching very raw stuff and I knew it.

Where did the idea for The Memorial trilogy come from?

Two things. One, I saw Night Of The Living Dead as a kid in the early 80’s. It freaked me out in a way the slasher films of the time (which I also love) never had. Out of that came an enduring love of zombies, with the slow, George Romero-type being my favorite.

And two, my wife Laura asked me for a zombie book. She shares my love of the genre and wanted me to write something with zombies. So here we are.

Can you tell us a bit about the first two in the trilogy, Lakewood Memorial and Aston Memorial?

Lakewood Memorial is set in the small rural town of Lakewood. A young single mother named Angie works as a nurse’s aide at the namesake hospital of Lakewood Memorial. She is at work the night the zombie outbreak begins and is trapped in the center of the hospital with a small group of survivors. Her children – Maylee and Dalton – are at home with a babysitter when the zombies attack. The entire book is set in that one night, with Angie trying to escape the hospital to get to her kids, and the kids trying to get across town to her. My goal with it was to write something fast-paced and streamlined.

The second book, Ashton Memorial, is a little more ambitious. In it, the survivors of Lakewood travel to the nearby big city of Ashton. Eventually they end up at Ashton Memorial Zoo, which has been locked down to keep the zombies out. But, things have gone downhill inside as those trapped there have started to turn against each other. Tribes are formed and resources are fought over. The book is over twice as long as Lakewood and we get deeper into the characters we met in the first one. We also get hints at the larger mythology of the series, which will be dealt with in the third book, World Memorial.

The last book in The Memorial trilogy, World Memorial, is coming out in late 2011. Can you tell us a bit about this book and how did it feel to end this series?

As I type this, I’m actually still writing World. It’s taking longer than I thought but the target is still the end of the year. I’m pretty deep in it and can share some things.

It’s going to be weird. We’re going full-tilt into the mythology that was only hinted at in Ashton. The characters we've followed through the other two books will be back. The book is set three years after the events of the first two, so we’ll get to see the apocalypse in a more advanced state than before. The setting will be the most rural of the three books, with the bulk of the action taking place in backwood and forest settings.

So, I guess that makes three things I can share right now about World. Backwoods, post-apocalyptic and weird.

You attended many conferences, how do you feel that has helped you as an author?

It’s interesting because I’ve never been to a full-on writing convention. All the conventions I’ve gone too have been general horror ones. And I’m always torn between promoting the books and just enjoying the convention as a fan. So I try to balance the two. One the one hand, conventions further my love of the genre and feed my horror fandom. And on the other hand, I get to meet readers and talk to them. Which encourages me that people are actually reading and (hopefully) enjoying the books.

Are there any upcoming events you will be attending you can tell us about

I will be at Horror Realm in Pittsburgh this September. Horror Realm is a great, growing convention and the 2009 event was the first convention I went to. So it has a special place for me.

What should we as readers look for in the future from Robert R. Best?

I have several ideas I’m kicking around. The main one, and most likely my next project, is a werewolf novel. I also have a mini-anthology of related short stories in mind. That one will probably be e-book only. I also want to get more into podcasting of my fiction. So expect some audio stuff eventually.

Where can people find out more about you?

I do have a website that’s not updated as often as I probably should, but you can get information and links to all the books at