Embracing Self-Publishing


I promised myself that I would blog about the benefits of self-publishing just as soon as I had passed what some sources cite (Forbes article ) as a benchmark – the selling of more than 250 copies of my self-published novel, Disappearing in Plain Sight.

Well – I’ve made it past the average and I feel pretty good. Heck – I feel totally pumped and I just had to get up and do a happy dance around the room before I could go on.

P1090669A big shout out to all the wonderful people who stopped by my table to chat and purchase a copy of Disappearing in Plain Sight, at the Thunderbird Mall Christmas Craft Sale, over the past weekend. You certainly helped push me over the top of that magic number. Santa had a longer line-up but I had great fun talking with people about my book and about self-publishing in general. And thanks again to my friend Marion who sold her wonderful crocheted hats and scarfs right next to me. I think we make a great team!

Speaking of statistics, here’s another interesting one. (Jan. 2011)  Most (95%) traditionally published books sell no more than 500 copies. I’ve also read that traditional publishers won’t even look at an author who doesn’t already have a solid social media following and that any author signed is expected to take on the lion’s share of his or her promotion responsibility.

IMG_6005A traditionally published author recently told me his story. He wrote a book that was accepted for publication. The book took forever to come out and the author was required to do massive changes that, even to this day, he is not thrilled about. Finally, his book was out! The novel received a great review by a major source; the author was invited to be a guest at a prestigious conference. He toured the book around real brick and mortar book stores. The book sold more than the magic number 500 copies mentioned above. Then the buzz died. The book is available as an e-book on Amazon but the price is set so high (by the publisher) that the book will never sell. The author has no copies of his book – he couldn’t even sell one on his own if he wanted to. This promising first novel is basically dead in the water. What a sad story. Probably more common than many of us realize.

By choosing self-publishing, I take on a lot of responsibility. On the up side, I retain control. I work with a wonderful editor who helps me make my novel the best piece of writing I can manage. She doesn’t try to change my work to make it fit a certain market niche. I control how my book cover looks, based on what I want people to feel when they pick up my novel. I decide the price that I think will sell. I can sell my books, anywhere and anytime. Because the books are print-on-demand, they won’t go out of print. The e-books are out there forever (or as long as cyberspace lasts). There is no limited time frame in which I must shine or be relegated to the publishing trash pile. Check out Indies Unlimited for another author’s thoughts on why self-publishing was the obvious choice.

Self-publishing isn’t easy (but it seems traditional publishing isn’t either). Those of you who follow my blog know that last time around, for Disappearing in Plain Sight, I made use of an assisted self-publisher. For The Light Never Lies, I plan to do much more of the work on my own. I expect to be writing post after post on the challenges – please stayed tuned.

As I sift through my own experience, what other authors tell me (self-published and traditionally published), and what I’ve read, I no longer see any reason to run after a traditional publishing deal.

So, that’s me embracing my experience of self-publishing!

Tell me what you think. Are you ready to give self-publishing a wholehearted endorsement? If not, what are the things that hold you back? What does that little voice that wakes you up at 3:00 a.m. say, one way or the other? And don’t pull any punches – let’s get an honest dialogue going. If you think that self-publishing is vanity press dressed up anew and you’re waiting for one of the big publishing houses to come calling, then say so. Or maybe you know of a better route to get to a better deal with traditional publishing. What about the smaller presses? All thoughts on this issue are invited.