To Self-Publish or not? That is the Question.

I have thought a lot about self-publishing; it seems like the only place where there is any hope left for the new writer; especially when you’re constantly bombarded with figures about aspiring authors, slush piles and first novel figures.

It seems like this might be the route I take, especially for my first novel; but, even though it has changed, or at least, certainly is beginning to change, I can’t shake off the feeling that I wont have achieved what I had hoped when I set out writing; it is for the reason that if I self-publish (also known as vanity publishing) I have had no authority stepping in to tell me that my work is good enough.  It is just me, thinking that my work is readable, that I’m ready to be read by others.  I don’t know if I’m ready to make that decision about myself.

There are also the other problems with the marketing: now, I’m quite entrepreneurial when it comes to this sort of thing and have a few things up my sleeve that I can employ for just such a time, but I still think to get the same amount of exposure as you would through “proper” publishing will be hard, and take a lot of work.

But as I say times are changing and I think the self publishing platform may become a way of writers to prove to publishers that they can sell books.  “look, I sold a thousand on my own.  Give me a publishing deal” may be the first step to getting recognised.

I would be really interested to know how other people have got on in this area, and how things have panned out.

We’ll see; I just hope that my manuscripts don’t stay under my bed forever.

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9 Responses to To Self-Publish or not? That is the Question.

  1. Jams N. Roses says:

    Good post.
    I don’t think you’re far off the mark with your point about shifting some units on your own making you a more attractive proposition for the publishing houses, or even an agent to sacrifice some time and effort to you.
    I’ve sold a couple hundred units using KDP over a 10 week period. Not fantastic, but 200+ units more than if I was still waiting for an agent to take me on, and then the wait for a publisher to say ‘ok’ and the further wait for publishing.
    I’ve also read that unless you’re already a well known writer, that the publishing houses are reluctant to spend big on marketing, and that a lot of this is down to the author anyway – how true this is I don’t know.
    My advice, send of your query letters but start getting your work out there anyway, you can always take it offline if you get the interest from the industry bods.
    Oh, and tell us about those ‘things up your sleeve’ that we can use to spread the word of our titles!
    By the way, ‘Get Clean’ by Jams N. Roses (me) is free for download on Amazon today!

    • Cheers for the feedback. Much appreciated. I agree with you in that I think being proactive is the best thing to do, however it’s done; and I think self-publishing will be the way for me. As of the things up my sleeve, it’ll be similar to what you’ve done, I think; It’s basically film-making and design work, as that’s what I studied at uni (I knew it would come in handy eventually), and then trying to shove it in as many people’s faces as I can.

      I’ll try anything really: the dream of being free to do what I want is a big driving force for me.

      I really do appreciate your time to read my blogs and give me feedback. It all helps to know I’m not the only one trying to make shit happen.
      I’m off to hunt down your book now.

  2. Hey Rob, great post. I could agree with you more! At this point, self-publishing has become a legitimate, where perhaps it wasn’t in the past, but there is still that thrill I want to experience of someone CHOOSING my work and validating all that it is. All the best.

  3. I do not want to self publish. Not unless I just want to put all my hard work out there for free. I have had some really horrible reading experiences with self published books and while the road to being published by another is longer and rockier, I still think that is the path I want to take.
    That said, I have recently learned a few things about having your book published that way. Things about rights to your work and the like. So in the future as I get ever closer to my goal and feeling like my stuff is ready I may rethink that.
    In all reality it depends on what your ultimate goal is I think. Since my goal is not to become famous or even make a bunch of money… then maybe… maybe I will slip quietly into the world of self publishing, so that I can share what I have created with the world.

  4. Thanks for the comment

  5. katemsparkes says:

    I have too many thoughts on this topic, I won’t share them all. But I am leaning toward self-publishing now, where in the past I would have shuddered at the thought. The only reasons I see for going traditional are getting into physical bookstores and wanting that “seal of approval.” In the past you could count on publishers to promote your book, but not now. If they decide to push it and make it the next (whatever), great! But the odds are you’ll be doing all of your promotion and marketing yourself, anyway. As for the stamp of approval, I’m using critique partners and beta readers to decide whether my work is ready to be shared, and I hope to hire a copy-editor and cover designer to make everything the best it can be. Yes, it would be nice to be validated by “the pros”, but I’m not sure that (for me, it’s different for everyone) it’s worth the loss of creative control, the possibility of the book being orphaned or nearly ignored, or crappy cover design that dooms the book forever.

    It’s a tough decision, but the more I read about the industry from both sides, the more I think self-publishing might work for me, for my books and my goals. Best of luck with your decision!

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