Sunday, January 22, 2012

Temptation of Self-Publishing

Temptation of Self-Publishing

If you are a writer, a truly dedicated writer who wants to make a dream come true with a novel or two, then you have researched the endless, wireless, mindless space called cyberspace for the answers to your quest.

First, you want to do it the right way, or dare I say that pun, “the write way”?

Second, you write those nasty little query letters to the gatekeepers. You re-write them more times than you re-write your novel. You pray. You beg. You cry.

Then, you read about the success stories of the “few” exceptions to the rule, you know, the ones who made it successfully to the heights you dream about, by self-publishing.

You wrestle with your conscience, your pride, and your reasoning. By now, you are so totally confused about it all that you chuck it all aside and write another novel.

Yet, while writing the exciting new novel surely to be a best seller, you are haunted by that dark cloud – Publishing! It is an omniscient haunting feeling you just cannot shake. Should you? Dare you? How could you? How could you even dare to venture into the possibility of…self…publish. It sounds so weak, so much like surrender. It sounds so much like defeat and inferior to the enemy.

(pause for reflection)

Then, after writing that next novel certainly worthy of at least a movie on the family channel, you begin to reason the reasons why self-publish is not a bad idea after all.

Then you doubt your reasoning.

Does any of this sound familiar? If you are a writer who cares about writing, works in progress, and the whole reason for writing, it should.

When you boil the cabbage down, it is simply cooked cabbage. That sounds simple, doesn’t it? Is there anything wrong with simplicity?

Simplicity in publishing is this: Self-publish in today’s world of publishing is made so easy that is seems wrong to do it. Yet, in the end, simplicity may be a valid reason for self-publishing. For many years, I have resisted submitting my short stories and poetry to periodicals or magazines because of complicated “rights” to the work I wish to put into a book. If someone has their claws deeply embedded into my work, I have to ask them permission to publish them in a book later. (please correct me if I am wrong)

Simplicity is pure and uncomplicated. Simplicity may be the straw that breaks the camel’s back swaying me towards self-publishing. If I upload a novel to Createspace in Amazon, I become the publisher retaining all rights. If I want to rewrite it, sell it to a mainstream publishing house, a movie company, etc., it is mine to do so. Simple. No complications.

I welcome anyone’s argument pro or con on this topic. Enlighten me, please, but I ask that you back up your opinions or judgments with legitimate sources.

(Just in case you think I have not searched the fiery hoops of publishing, bettered my writing to be accepted by the “traditional” avenues, I have done it for several years now. I want my writing to evolve into the very best it can be. I never have liked the expression, “I am just how I am” with an attitude of refusing to improve. I want to improve my writing and have done so to the point of blushing when reading the first book of mine currently in print. I welcome feedback and constructive critiques.)


  1. All self-publishing is not created equal, as you probably know. Some (not saying Amazon, just read the fine print) DO have some rights - probably not copyright, but some rights. Some others don't, but you will have a contract with that self-publisher's assistant, whether it is Lulu, Smashwords, Booklocker, or whoever.

    The "publishing" is the easy part. Marketing is much, much more demanding, though not necessarily "hard."

    It all depends on what you want and what you mean by success: my niche non-fiction was (I thought and think) a fine candidate for self-pub. While I would love it to be a runaway best seller, realistically I wanted to make back the $417 I spent with Booklocker to make it all happen. That has happened, so I'm happy. The rest is more or less beer money.

    But still - every case is unique. What worked, or was best, for me and made me happy is not likely to work for everyone.

    Best of luck to all!

  2. Hi Richard, I snooped around over at your blog yesterday, then I got busy reading it and forgot to let you know I was in the neighborhood. Good to see you around these parts.

    Thanks for the input about self-publishing. I agree that the do-it-yourself places make it almost too easy. I get suspicious when something is too easy. Marketing is the main reason I have cointinued sending query letters to agents while continuing to write the next novel.

    One aspect about self-publishing is the time it takes to market, which cuts deeply into the timerequired to continue writing our next best-seller. If I ever go the route of self-publishing, I want at least ten books ready where I can put writing on hold while selling them.

    Sounds like you are happy with your success and that is what really counts.

    thanks for dropping in

  3. You'll do a lot of the marketing for a book that is traditionally published too - including spending the $$ yourself. That was one important argument in my decision to go the self-pub route.