Ready to Self-Publish? Not so Fast

When I started writing my first novel, I was sure that I wanted to go through the traditional method of publishing; however, I decided to wait and contemplate the possibility of self-publishing.  Although I have not made a decision, I put aside my first novel and started on the second one – I am half way writing it.  Why do it this way?  Because it is a very important decision.

If you are contemplating self-publishing, that is great; however, make sure that you are ready for it.  Ready for the financial issues (even is you POD), the marketing efforts, but mostly, ready with your novel.  The novel (or other) must be as perfect and pristine as you can get it.  Why?  Because once it is out there for everyone to see, it speaks loud (and loads) about you as a writer and the quality of your work.

The internet and today’s technology has brought to light many people who want to write and publish their work for whatever reasons – fame, money, love of writing …  Each writer has his/her own agenda.  However, you see many people who convey that they are in a rush to publish their work; many, thinking that they will make a lot of money or will be known widely as best-selling authors.  The reality is that it is not always this way; on the contrary, it is unlikely that this will happen, although there have been exceptions.  It seems that the “hot market” has to do a lot with it.  Once you expose your talent (or non-talent) to the masses, there is no going back, and if you did not bother to polish your work and present it in the best light, this may haunt you for the rest of your writing days.

Before you decide to present your work to the world, whether self-publishing or not, see if you are truly ready (not to be confused with procrastination).

  • Learn about different ways of publishing your work
  • Make your manuscript as perfect as it can be (more than one revision, editing, or hiring the necessary experts …)
  • Evaluate your reasons for publishing and see what venue fits those reasons best.
  • Consider your finances and your time to dedicate to this full-time venture.
  • Read other authors who have self-publish or who have taken the traditional road.
  • If you have someone who can give you an honest and detached opinion about your work, ask for it. This person should be as neutral as possible.  More than one person is fine, as it will give you different points of view.
  • Trust your gut.  Many times your instinct is your best friend and agent.
  • Be sure deep down that this is what you want.

A note of caution – Rejections are a given in this journey.  Many people decide to self-publish after they have received tons of rejections.  Other people will keep trying because they know that the traditional way is what they want.  Be careful that you don’t get discouraged by all the rejections and the “not marketable enough” notes – it can kill your writing spirit.  If this is what you want to do, continue to pursue it but make sure that you are not self-publishing for the wrong reasons.  It must be true to whom you are as a writer.  If you are so fortunate to get a contract after just a few no’s, realize that these days, the publishing business is all about “hot markets,” and it moves at a fast pace.  Can you handle the many commitments and deadlines that the agent/editors/publisher puts on you?  Are you able to let go of your precious work (and writer’s ego) and be open to all the suggestions that these people will have for you?  Some people cannot and will not deal with many changes in their novel.  I have read/heard stories of changes as crazy (pure lunacy) as far as getting rid or highly modify a main character.  Most times, a writer feels and identifies with his/her characters and lives with them for long – they become a family.  Ponder that and what it does to a writer.

Finally, both paths take a lot of work, dedication, commitment and overtime hours – be sure that you can handle it and certainly, that your family knows what you are getting  yourself into, so it doesn’t take them (or you) by surprise.  Therefore, don’t think of self-publishing as a light issue, an easy cope-out, or a second choice, because it is non of that.  It is an option, a different way of doing things, and in many ways, of challenging yourself much more.  Give it the respect that it deserves (that your work deserves as well) and don’t join the waves of unprepared authors who have self-published in a rush.  Although I have not heard of anyone, it takes the most confident and self-assured, self-made, self-published author to turn down a book contract  to continue the path of the indie author.  That is why your reasons must be clear.

If you have gone through that experience, please feel free to share it here.  As  a writer that realizes the long journey ahead, your experiences are valuable to me and to other readers.

To Self Publish or Not – That is the Question

An on-demand book printer at the Internet Arch...

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I’ve been working on my novels, perfecting them as much as I can, and getting ready for publishing – maybe next year.  However, the issue of going the traditional route or self publishing has been on my thoughts especially because self publishing is not the taboo it used to be, and more reputable authors are self publishing.  At the same time, there is a lot of crap out and the stigma may hold true these days, so that is my dilemma.

I have read much on the various routes that I can take – publish on demand (POD), going with a small but long-time established publisher, taking the traditional route and pray for an agent … Although this will not happen now, I worry about the decision – simply, because this is not one to take lightly or to rush.  Once you self-publish your name is out there, therefore, you want to present to the readers your best work at the time.  In addition, English is not my mother tongue, so I have to make sure that there are no linguistic errors besides the usual grammatical, style, punctuation … and so on.  That is why I am not rushing and that is why I see it as a huge responsibility – as if I have been entrusted something to deliver to the world.

In preparation for the big day – the day I decide which route to take – I’ve been following author Cliff Burns’ blog – Beautiful Desolation (a pro at it) and I ‘ve been reading lots on the topic.  One interesting series is the How to Get Published Series that As the Pages Turn is doing.  A few authors get to tell their story on how they got published, some of the challenges they met, and other interesting issues.  I like to read Claire Cook’s blog, who is a best-selling author and have gone through the traditional method of publishing.  Her blog is full of insight and great topics of interest to aspiring writers.  Check out her section dedicated to Aspiring Writers and watch her videos.

Thanks to the development of the internet, there is a lot on the topic that I can research before deciding on which road to take; however, there are tons of scams out there and that is something to be mindful of to avoid making the mistakes that many people in the rush of publishing their books have made.

Wether it is self-publishing or traditional publishing, both require a lot of focus and work.  There are advantages and disadvantages for both, and many will be of a personal matter (financial, likes and dislikes, freedom …)  which is different for every person.  In addition, there is the move to another state, the restoration of a dilapidated farmhouse that will become my permanent home, and many other issues that are pushing the decision to publish further away.  It will be in due time.  I am a firm believer of the adage “things always work for the best.”

Writer’s Wisdom 14

“Self publishing”

I think it would be safe to say that most writers want to be published, although many will write for themselves and the love of writing.  Writing a book, editing, finding an agent, editing again … is a lot of hard work and takes great commitment.  However, there is another way of going about it – self publishing.  Despite, the arguments about if self publishing is a taboo or not, it is a practical method (budget permitting) to make your book known to the public.  Some known authors have taken this road, before becoming known.  Brunania Barry self published 2,000 copies, ( as told in a Borders interview) then hired a public relations company.  She did things a bit different from others; she took a leap of faith, quit her job, and wrote.  She knew she wanted to be a novelist, this book started as a dream.

So, we have a succesful story of a self published author (in the beginning); but this jumpstarted her dream, and now her career – her book, The lace reader.  Self publishing may not be for every writer, but it certainly presents a possibility to jumpstart a writer’s career –  when accompanied with a good PR firm.  It is up to you to decide which road to take, but most important, for the love of writing.