“Why don’t you self-publish?”

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Comments

4 Comments

  1. Libby Sternberg

    I don’t think self-publishing is for everyone. And I think certain genres lend themselves to more success than others. But I do think you are overestimating some of the cost of self-publishing. For example, if you have a terrific critique partner, you don’t need to pay for a developmental edit if you swap manuscripts. I have one who is an editor as well as an author. She’s wonderful. I’m not sure why you need to pay for a proofreader, either, if you get a good copy editor who will perform both functions. Your manuscript is likely to be very clean, I’m guessing. 🙂 Covers can be costly, but I advise folks who are self-publishing not to overpay here or to use the free templates Amazon provides because you’re unlikely to get your book in bookstores, and you’re thus only dealing with a thumbnail of the cover online. Don’t pay for design elements that hardly show up, in other words.

    As to the money and time for promotion, sadly, you might end up doing that anyway with traditional publishers, nowadays. I know I had to spend scads of time doing self-promotion and blog tours when I was published by one particular traditional publisher (respected, and not a small press).

    So, no, you shouldn’t self-publish if you don’t see yourself getting jazzed by the process — I do because of the control it gives you.. But I don’t think it’s quite as expensive as your tally makes it seem. Oh, and you can get reviewed by Publishers Weekly if you are self-published. They launched a program for that. I received a wonderful PW review for two mysteries I self-published.

    Reply
    • Susanne

      All good points, Libby! But you’re fortunate to have a critique partner who can double as editor. I think it’s rare. Plus, understand that I didn’t say no one should self-publish, or that writers haven’t been successful doing it, only that I won’t. And frankly, even if it only cost $2,000 to self-publish with an editor I couldn’t afford it.

      I also think self-publishing depends on one’s expectations, and what the goal is. If someone just wants to get a book out there, then self-publishing can be very rewarding. It’s just not for me, not now, and possibly not ever.

      Something I see writers doing in my community is self- or small-press publishing (sort of a cooperative thing) print books. They get a book they can hold in their hands and that the local bookstores are willing to sell on a commission basis. The writers are content with this arrangement, and don’t mind selling at most a few hundred copies.

      I’ve had a taste of big-six publishing and the experience was wonderful: I worked with terrific editors, have beautiful covers, made foreign sales. Oh, and getting an advance is very nice too. Yes, traditionally published authors have to do a lot of self-promotion in the form of social media and blog tours etc., and some do pay for advertising and promotion out of their own pocket (if this next book gets published, I’ll be doing that). But it feels less daunting when you have a recognized publisher behind you. To me anyway!

      Reply
  2. Libby Sternberg

    Oh, I understand. I think you have to have realistic goals when self-publishing. Mine have shifted over the years from wanting to sell gazillions to wanting to get good reviews and perhaps attention that would then help me eventually secure that decent advance and great contract elsewhere. Although I wasn’t published by any in the Big Five (although I guess Harlequin is now – it’s part of Harper), I did manage to snag some great things from my publishing experiences, including a film deal. And attention on a Simon & Schuster blog (my Jane Eyre retelling was one of only 14 books they featured on Charlotte’ Bronte’s 200th anniversary last year — and it was published by a very small press, then self published after rights reverted to me). And an Edgar nomination with my first YA mystery (again, a small press book). The point is that good things can happen with small presses, big indie presses, even with self-publishing. If you are realistic about your goals. I don’t put the big publishers on a pedestal anymore. I think one needs to be just as realistic about them these days and what they can and won’t do for you.

    Reply
  3. Linda Fetterly Root

    Some of us who self-publish have noted a drastic decline in sales. I also see a trend to pricing eBooks almost as high as print editions of the same title. I did editing in a prior life and thought I would not need to hire one myself,but that’s a mistake, worse than looking in a mirror and thinking I am still 50. I have seven books in print and ll of the together are not making in a year what my debut novel made in a month. And the reason, I suspect, is my budget. I’d do better downsizing and having garage sales. But I write because I have stories inside that need to get out before I croak.

    Reply

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