To Self-Publish or Not To Self-Publish?

To self-publish or not to self-publish is quite the hot topic these days. Most of the writing articles I see are targeted at self-publishing, eBook sales, and marketing your book. Several of the writing conferences I’ve attended this year have had a significant amount of sessions geared towards self-publication. I think it’s fair to say that the publishing world is changing or has already changed.

It used to be that self-published novels were for those who couldn’t get published but now even renowned and published authors are doing it. If we were to compare a book that was self-published five years ago to a book self-published today, we’d see a huge difference. What are those differences?

  • Cover designs: The covers are amazing. Sometimes I cannot tell if a book is traditionally published or self-published until I look at who printed it. The covers are sophisticated, beautiful, and classy.
  • Services for self-publishing: Companies are popping up all over that will help you through every stage of the publishing process and marketing your book. Writer.ly and Bibliocrunch are two of the most successful right now.
  • Editing: The books are better. I think the “slush pile” of self-published books has dwindled and we are seeing more quality writing. Editing is being done professionally to give it a polished feel.
  • Conferences: More and more online and face-to-face conferences are popping up with a focus on Indie authors. Indierecon is just one of them.
  • Community: There are websites and network groups like the Indie Author Network that you can join. A sense of community is building amongst Indie authors. I’ve found them very helpful.
  • Self-service author: It’s not hard these days to want to self-publish your book and have a lot of the skills needed so your out-of-pocket cost is lowered. I have a friend who designs her own book covers because she is a graphic designer. She type-sets and formats her own books because she knows how. And then the marketing banners, graphics and book trailers are also done in house. At this point the cost is minimal compared to some authors who need to have it all farmed out once they finish their book.

I know there are probably more differences to note but the ones I’ve decided to talk about are pretty significant. To be an Indie author requires a lot of WORK. You have to be on top of certain things you would otherwise depend on your publishing company or agent to do. With that said, even in the traditionally published world the author is being asked to own more of it.

For me, I keep coming back to the following thoughts:

  1. No waiting. I don’t have to wait forever to find an agent and or a publisher for my book. I’ve seen some of my friends wait almost two years to get their book on the publishers schedule. That is too long, in my opinion, to wait. 
  2. Payment is quicker. I’ve seen friends wait almost a year before they got paid. Of course each publishing house is different but Amazon does pay more regularly. And depending on the price you’ve set for your book the percentage is 75%.
  3. Control. You have control of your cover, title, date of release, marketing, events, etc. This requires a lot of work but there is a whole network of help waiting to assist you and give advice.

It’s rather timely that I am posting on this topic today. I have decided to self-publish Letters For Ellie. It’s something that needs to get out there right now. I’ve been chewing on this decision for months and months. Finally making a decision has given me peace of mind. I am so excited! I’ll be chronicling my journey every step of the way with you. The pros and the cons. The frustrations and the triumphs. I am tentatively looking at a November 30th, 2013 release date. Stay tuned.

 

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5 Responses

  1. K. A. Last says:

    Yay! This is so exciting. I can’t wait for you to get Letters For Ellie into the world 🙂

  2. It’s a LOT of work. I know many indie authors, and they love it. If my publisher hadn’t wanted my book, I would have self-pubbed it. I’m glad, now, that I have my publisher though. I have a very demanding full-time job. There’s no way I could possibly do everything for myself that they are doing.

    But you’re right. It’s certainly the time to do it and credibility grows every day!

  3. Yay! I firmly believe in self-publishing, and it’s the route I plan to take when my works are ready. Self-publishing is the new query.

  4. Louisa says:

    Congrats on making the decision! Couldn’t agree more, especially your point about how much time it takes trying to find an agent. I just blogged about this very thing: http://southernwritersnetwork.blogspot.com/2013/08/can-you-afford-not-to-self-publish.html?m=1

  5. Thanks for sharing these thoughts on and resources for self-pub’ing! I’m bookmarking this page. Good luck with Letters For Elle! I’m looking forward to your updates on how the self-pub’ing route goes for you. You have inspired me to keep at it today. It’s been a very gloomy day, indeed. But if the writing moves you, it will move another heart, yes? Wonderful post. Glad I took the time to read it 🙂

    Laurie Kozlowski

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