Monday, January 3, 2011

Self-Publishing, Say WHAT?

A two-fer on my first day, I could wait until tomorrow, but I won’t. Might as well post as long as I feel I have some kind of material.

For the past couple weeks, I’ve been thinking about the notion of self-publishing. Don’t get me wrong; I haven’t decided fully one way or the other, but due to some recent reading, I’ve been more willing to entertain the notion of self-publishing. (Even though seeing my book in Borders is right up there with my top 3 writing dreams…I live for the idea of book signings…)

I stumbled across J. A. Konrath’s blog where he has recently decided to change his mind about how to go about publishing one’s work. I had read his blog before when he used to say try traditional publishing first, then think about self-publishing, a notion I had already came to in my head. Now, however, he has changed positions, as he now is more hard pressed to find a reason to have publishers take the author’s money when he or she can go out and sell on Kindle, Createspace, Amazon, Lulu, or Barnes and Noble for his or herself.

Now he does a much better job of explaining his reasons behind this decision than I ever could so I’d encourage you to read the last few blog posts that he has written…Hell, if you actually read about him and his numbers, I think you’d be fascinated enough to stay for a while. So I much, much encourage you to check it out, even if you are mentally opposed to the idea of self-publishing. It’s worth a gander (and no I wouldn’t say gander in normal life…)

What shook my thought process more than Konrath alone was Amanda Hocking’s story (which can be found on her blog). She’s a YA author, which already garners my interest, and she’s a paranormal author in my same age group-ish at that (um, hello…living my life here much? Except for not really, but I digress…). Her selling numbers are impressive, and I even felt compelled to buy her “My Blood Approves” book one. She’s making it, very well, I might add, in the genre of my choice, on her own (even though she now has an agent, Steven Axelrod). Gives a girl a lot to mentally chew on.

For those of you who have heard about either of these people or have a strong opinion either way about self-publishing, I’d love to hear your thoughts so comment below! Some questions:

  • Could you (potentially) give up book signings and some prestigious award considerations to self-publish?
  • Is the reader being put first by self-publishing (as in they get the book faster so they benefit) or are they being given a possibly worse product without the Big Publisher edit jobs? (And yes, I do know you can hire an editor for a self-publish…)
  • Would you ever self-publish? What would be the circumstances to sway you that way?


  1. I think self publishing is for excellent networker and marketer! They have to be extremely detailed and knowledgeable! I prefer the publishing with a house only because I'd like help in the long run.

  2. Konrath is wise. Just started following his blog this week. While self-publishing is a crapshoot, traditional publishing is no different now. Breaking in is still hard. Holding on once in is tough, too. Everything is in chaos. Publishing can beat you down, self or traditional if you let it. You need persistence either way.

    I temporarily self-pubbed a book last year and then pulled back. I'm moving forward again with that particular adult book. But I'm holding back for the moment on my YA and MG work, especially the MG which I just don't see as valid self-published yet. We'll see how it goes.

    I'm going to roll with whatever gives me the best chance for success and makes me happy. That doesn't necessarily mean seeing my book on store shelves. I got over that a few years ago when things didn't workout with my first agent, but I understand how it's a big deal for most writers. I need the validation of readers, whether by publishers or not, doesn't matter to me.

    Book signings, I'm not sure what's going to become of those anyway with ebooks and bookstore closing.

    The reader is put first if you entertain them at a lower price, I think.

  3. I self-published my first book after about two years and 100 rejections from agents. Those weren't awful years (or rejections!). Tons of the agents had nice things to say, were genuinely interested in and complimentary about my book, and encouraged me to keep looking. But as time passed and I exhausted my list of top agents, I started to consider other options. I get it; I considered self-publishing kind of a last ditch effort. But my main objective was to get the book into the hands of readers. Three weeks ago I did self-publish, and I've loved every second! As far as I can tell, sales are good. I've had reviews that made me feel faint with happiness. There's a nice buzz about my book on Goodreads. I have been reaching out across the blogosphere and found so many warm, intelligent, eager reviewers. I've been floored by how enjoyable the networking and mingling has been.

    As far as quality of the product, I did hire a professional cover designer for what I would consider a really reasonable rate, and I have a degree in English with a background in teaching grammar and language, plus several friends in editing and teaching. I truly believe it as just as good as traditionally published books, and I can offer a very good price.

    In the end, the royalty idea also appealed to me. I can sell my book for $2.99 an ebook and collect a 70% percentage. My readers get a fantastic deal, and I make a nice amount. Compared to the percentage traditional authors make, this should make anyone very happy. I take my publishing and promotion very seriously, but there's nothing that makes me happier than having such a big hand in my own success. It's been very positive for me.

    Thank you for the post! Obviously I find this subject very interesting! ;)