Tuesday, April 10, 2012

On Self-Publishing

My thoughts:

Originally, eight years ago, I wasn't interested in self-publishing. I knew only one gal who'd gone that road. At that time, she was a pioneer fiction writer. Most self-published authors were non-fiction, niche writers. She did not sell, not like you want a book to sell, making the bestseller list [ANY bestseller list!]. Also, ebooks had only just begun having growing pains. She published in a paperback world. [cha-ching] Not an inexpensive endeavor.  During those early years, it was pounded into our heads, money ALWAYS flows toward the author! More on that in my next post...

I'd read a few self-published titles. Not enough to be an expert, but enough to get frustrated by the incompetence. It was assumed an author only went that route when all other options had been played. They didn't write well enough to catch someone's eye therefore, they would publish their own work. This approach screams second best! What I'd read so far did not negate this perspective. Beginner mistakes--grammar, head-hopping, formatting.

It was about three to six years of writing and learning and crafting and learning some more before e-publishing really came into young adulthood. Forget erotic, sex focused stories with nudies on the front... the book market had opened up to everyone. Publishers wanted it all, romance--short, medium, and long stories. They wanted stories that didn't fit the traditional market. Kindle hit stores as did BN's Nook. The best thing about all these wonderfully e-published books? Pricing. They were cheap. I did not have to spend at least eight dollars to own a book anymore. Music to my ears.

As an author, I loved how fast the process became and I loved the contact. From submission to response, the longest wait seemed to be about twelve weeks. I'd been waiting that long just to hear from an agent! Forget the NY publisher, they were not accessible to the author, ever. Get an agent was the only way into NY. Suddenly, I could talk to editors, network with them, appeal to them with stories they were looking for. Submission calls within e-publishing allowed me to consider new stories or dig up already written ones. And I continued to submit, getting a few hits, nibbles of interest, over the past few years.

[side note: still writing, still learning, btw. It never stops, especially when you belong to a crit group like Passionate Critters]

I was [am] still a little nervous about e-publishing. A few years ago the reasons were twofold. Good publishers were hard to find. There seemed to be no telling who would stick around, who had good editors and GREAT leadership, but as a few years have passed, the well-managed ones have made a name for themselves and stand out as worthwhile. Good covers were[are] hard to find. I know we should never judge a book by its cover, but there are a couple of companies I hesitate to submit to because their covers are crappy--and I don't mean half naked people! I mean cut and pasted images... distorted figures, no symmetry, no appeal. :P  Don't be fooled...a cover can make or break your book! Nakedness is still often an issue that I set on a scale and weigh, but overall, the good e-publishers don't just throw a naked couple on the front of their books in hopes of appealing to someone's libido.

Wow, I'm chatty today. I haven't even touched on Self-Publishing yet...

Eight years is a long time, and I won't be able to do it in one blog post.
Bottom line for today...in five years, I pretty much gave up on traditional publishing. I do have a book for young people that I will start subbing through traditional routes, but I will definitely be more selective about how long I try for and who I target. Something tells me that within another 5 years, juvenile fiction could very well go the same way as Romance and Mainstream.

Have a great week, Friends!
With Love,


  1. Though I think I bent to the idea of epub and self pubbing long before you did, it's still definitely scary and there are tons of people out there that don't treat it like they should. It is a business. The pride of the author should be evident every step of the way. From what's inside to what's out. Now you put me on my soap box. Darn you! Okay I'm out before I hijack your blog.

    1. Exactly! You said it Moira. Of course, it's hard to teach an old dog new tricks...and there are plenty of people who are not willing to see the benefits of self and e publishing. Too bad for them is what I think. I mentioned a few weeks ago how the internet has made our world smaller...

      We need to be our books' best advocate. These days, it's not enough to hand a ms over to some suit and hope for the best. It's time to sell our passions. :D

    2. Love that. Sell our passions. Awesomeness in one line.

  2. I've just written my first book. Paid for a professional editor. But decided to get it self-published online without seeking the traditional route. My reasoning was twofold. First and foremost, I didn't want to compromise the ideas in my head, although obviously I was very open to constructive criticism. And I think although there mightn't be a quality control with independently published books, I think that it probably allows for new and very different stories to emerge that could possibly be considered 'unmarketable'. I guess everyone believes their book is quite unique, and I'm no different :) My book may seem like a bit of a risk that won't guarantee a return. Still doesn't mean it shouldn't be available for purchase. The second reason for my choice is I believe the playing field is levelling out ... Especially when you consider how many more books you need to sell with the large gap in royalties and the dwindling hard copy books. But in the end of the day, if nobody buys my book except my mum, I will be happy that my book reads and looks exactly the way I'd like it to. Don't know if this comment reads like rambling, but thank you for your post. I enjoyed it!

    1. Rambling is fine around here! Especially when it's well-done. :D I love that the field is levelling out. Right now, I think it's the agents that are feeling that the most.


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