Although it was probably clear from my post about publishing my first book, I’ll put it out there just to make sure there’s no confusion. I am self-publishing. Going indie, if you will.
I chose to take this route a while back and never even considered submitting to publishers. It wasn’t because I thought my writing wouldn’t be good enough, but rather I didn’t want to bang my head against a wall for years waiting for someone to deem me worthy so they could take the majority of my profits.
Granted, many will argue that my books would sell better with the backing of a publisher since they would be able to reach a greater audience. I’m not disputing that. But I’m happy with the path I chose—maybe partly because I’m a bit of a control freak and couldn’t stomach the thought of someone else being in charge of my cover, approving my title, and possibly wanting to change things in the stories that I don’t want to change.
That said, my editor is wonderful and will tell me when something doesn’t work or make sense, or just plain sucks. And I will listen—usually. Why wouldn’t I when she’s only trying make my books better? Kind of a no-brainer. And let me tell you, I found an amazing editor, Holly D. Atkinson, but I’ll talk about her—and editors in general—in another post.
(Hey, speak of the devil. As I was writing this, she emailed me with a link to this awesome post about editors. You have to check it out.) Now back to what I was trying to say before I was interrupted. Love you, Holly. 😉
Sure, it may take longer to build a readership going it alone, but I really believe it will be worth it in the end. And in truth, I’m not in this alone. I have a great network of support from my editor, other authors, readers, online friends, and the people in my life.
Self-publishing is definitely not for everyone. If you only want to write and not be bothered with all the other things—or don’t feel you have or want to learn the necessary skills to do those things—then traditional publishing is probably best for you. But make no mistake, you will still have to network and do much—if not all—of your own promotion. Sucks, I know.
What other things am I talking about? Either hiring people or doing the following yourself:
- EDITING, EDITING, EDITING—can you tell this is extremely important and better left to the professionals if you can afford it?
- Cover design—remember, people do judge a book by its cover.
- Book formatting—oh, and they also judge it by its formatting.
- Website design—yes, this is a necessity nowadays, especially if you self-publish since most of your sales will be from eBooks so therefore everything is internet based. Although, you’d have this one even if you published traditionally.
I’m sure I probably forgot something, but if I did, feel free to point it out and I’ll add it.
If you don’t feel up to the task of being your own little business, this isn’t the path for you. But if you’re like me and enjoy doing it all, then you may prefer self-publishing.
The biggest thing to remember is that doing it yourself is a slow process. You need a backlist of books to garner more sales. Obviously, this takes time. This is the biggest reason I decided to start my series with a trilogy of novelettes before I break out the novels. That and the fact those stories lent themselves to that length.
In traditional publishing there is a big push when your book is first released, then sales tend to drop off until finally your book is no longer on the shelves—unless you’re a big name author. But with self-publishing the greater sales come farther into your career, and hopefully, instead of dropping off significantly, they will have a resurgence with each new release. Because guess what, that virtual shelf on Amazon or whatever site you sell through will always have your eBook in stock.
So which approach sounds right for you? Is anyone out there toying with the idea of self-publishing? If yes, why? If no, why do you prefer traditional? Anyone else want to share their publishing journey—whether self or traditional?
Let’s have a friendly discussion. Neither way is right or wrong.