…About Giving Up
Guess what? Despite what you’ve heard, self-published authors share the same goals and dreams as traditionally published authors. We really still all want the same things; recognition of our writing from readers and colleagues. We also still secretly want to see our books on the shelf in the bookstore. But, I get the sense that, to many, self-publishing appears to be a final decision. That is, once you self publish, there’s no going back. But that isn’t true! Self publishing is an option and a valid one at that. You can self-publish and still pursue traditional publishers with your other books. Better yet, if you establish a strong readership, you may be able to pick up a publisher more quickly. Of course, if you establish a readership, you might not need a publisher. And you can always do both! Hybrid authors publish both traditionally and through self-publishing venues. It’s not about giving up. It’s about making the right choice for each book you write.
…The Easy Way Out
I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: “Don’t self-publish if you think it’s easy.” It’s not. You have to do a lot of work, or farm out a lot of the work. However, all of the rewards are yours and yours alone if you do it the right way. Professional editing, cover design, internal formatting, proofreading, and marketing will cost you money up front, but it will also allow you to deliver the same kind of content you would expect to find in a bookstore. Will a traditional publisher do all this for you? Sure, but most often you’ll have to give up all of the rights to your work, a huge chunk of your royalties, AND still do a lot of the marketing yourself (unless you’re one of those amazing top 1% authors). Self publishing isn’t the easy way out, but it can be very rewarding when it’s done well.
We’ve all heard it, “I don’t want to self publish because I want to be a real writer” or something like it. This one gets me. This one hits where it hurts. So, what you’re saying is that I don’t have “real” readers? That the ~90,000 folks who have a copy of my book are make believe. Hmm…I’m not sure who should be more insulted? Me or my readers? Let’s get something straight. I’m a real writer. I write novels and publish them through a worldwide distributor and readers buy them… with real money. That’s what makes a writer. Not some inflated ideal of third-party validation. Have you looked at the NY Times top 100? USA Today? Amazon? All are littered with self-published authors. I bet you might have even read one or two without even noticing. So, go ahead and keep waiting to be a “real writer.” Just don’t underestimate anything about the people doing it or the quality of work being created.
Lastly, self-publishing isn’t for everyone. Do your homework. Read folks like Joe Konrath, Hugh Howey, and David Gaughran. Self-publishing’s gurus have a wealth of knowledge. If you do choose to self publish, be sure to check out sites like Writer Beware and Preditors & Editors. Great resources that will point you in the right direction for freelance help and steer you clear of the scams.
What’s your self-publishing experience been like? Share with us in the comments and thanks for stopping by! 😀
10 thoughts on “Self-publishing Isn’t…”
Excellent points and advice. Self publishing certainly isn’t easy and, yes, many people see it as a route to publication for writers who aren’t good enough to succeed on the traditional route. But I think (and hope) attitudes are gradually starting to change on that score.
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I’ve been pretty optimistic about attitudes changing, though I think it also depends on what circles you move in. As self-published authors, I think it’s important to raise the level of what we’re producing to quell the naysayers and change those attitudes. Thanks for stopping by and commenting! 🙂
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I totally agree. I get very frustrated when people look down their noses at self-pubbers. I mean, we do the work of an entire publishing house and are personally invested in every aspect. How much more dedication and motivation can one person have?
I like to think of it as my unofficial job to convince folks, even if it’s only one person at a time, that I’m serious about publishing, whether it’s “self” or not. I don’t try and jam it down anyone’s throat, but I try and explain the benefits of having ultimate control over every aspect of my book.
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Another great post. It’s definitely not about giving up, and I hope what Milliethom said in the comments – attitudes toward self-publishing changing.
Agreed! Thanks for commenting! 🙂
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There is another point to be made. Nowadays, publishing companies request a marketing plan along with your submission. (OK, maybe not the really big houses, which aren’t all that big and powerful anymore). I figure, if you are going to do all the selling, why not do it for yourself and for a bigger share of the book price? 🙂 I have other reasons for creating my own publishing company, such as control of cover, inside design, etc. The actual motivation to self-publishing is to get your message or your story out to readers. If it’s good writing, no one cares how it got into print.
Agreed! Thanks for commenting!