Monday, December 7, 2009

My thoughts on self publishing...

From the very beginning, self publishing was just not from me. I wanted to get paid...not pay out my money to have my book published. (Though I know traditional publishing does not make an author an instant millionaire). I wanted to see my book on the shelf of a bookstore not peddling it out of my trunk. (I know there are other avenues for selling self published books, but in the beginning, this is what I envisioned). I needed the publishing world to tell me I'm good...I could not say to myself "I am good". (Yeah, I may have some self esteem issues).

Now before self published authors come for my head...I completely respect those who do self publish and I think there are good reasons for self publishing. Sometimes a book is so niche that it doesn't appeal to an agent or publisher. Or poets....from what I hear, finding an agent or a publisher for a book of poetry is impossible. Or the writer who just wants to put together something for their own personal enjoyment, a family cookbook, a memoir, whatever....this is a way to do it and receive a nice looking product.

It takes guts, lots of em', to put yourself out there and do the work that is necessary to make money on a self published book. To make a self published book a success, it takes more work than a traditionally published author. (And I also know how much work it takes for a traditionally published author to make their book a success too...but being backed by someone helps, a lot).

At one point I thought of self publishing my second novel, the one that is now contracted by Lyrical Press, A Bitch Named Karma. I love that story so much and it was killing me that no one loved it as much as I do. I needed to see it published. I queried that thing like crazy and it just never found it's right match until I queried Lyrical.

I don't know all the details of the new Harlequin self publishing thing.....but I am a bit appalled at the way they plan on basically saying: "Your work isn't good enough for us to publish, but you can pay us to do it."

I read a self publishing blog called The Self Publishing Review. For that brief moment when I was on the fence about self publishing, this blog definitely made up my mind. It tells it's readers why self published books do not do well....unless the author has paid for professional editing services, many of the books are just not up to the standard that they could/should be. This blogger reviews self published books and gives them 15 mistakes before they close the book...many don't make it past page 10. That is a clear cut dose of reality.

Now that I am in the editing phase with a professional editor through my publisher...I see how, even after I've done multiple edits on my own, the story is still far from perfection. So glad I didn't shell out all that cash to self publish.

I hope I didn't offend anyone with this's just my thoughts about this topic.


  1. I agree with you on self publishing. There's such a stigma attached to it that I was afraid if I self published a book, no agent would ever look at my work again. Ebook publishers have worked well for me, although I'm still sending my latest manuscripts to the agents.

  2. Stephanie, Thank you so much for writing this. The topic of self-publishing is something that really interests me. I think I like the idea of having control--hiring my own editor, choosing my own cover, deciding on my own content. That's why I'm looking into it. On the other hand, I will probably be disappointed if I can't even sell more than ten copies of a self-published book. That really makes me hesitate. I think self-publishing does have a stigma. Readers don't trust self-published books. So, if I want to self-publish, I have to create some way of convincing people that I didn't just slap my book together.

  3. Great post, Stephanie, and something that I'm sure is on every writer's mind at one point or another.

  4. I look at self-publishing as my very last option. If I've queried every single agent representing historical and literary fiction and no one wants my book...

    Well, then I'll look into it. Or I'll query my second book and tell any interested agents that they have to sell my first one too!

  5. Davin said, "I think self-publishing does have a stigma. Readers don't trust self-published books. So, if I want to self-publish, I have to create some way of convincing people that I didn't just slap my book together."

    With thousands of publishing "brands" out there, it's unlikely that readers will realize or care that your book is published by a one-person publishing company...IF YOU PROVIDE A HIGH QUALITY BOOK.

    After being disatsfied with several of my books published by "traditional" publishers, last year I formed my own company to publish one book. I'm now working on book number-six. I'm much happier with the quality and the income of the books I have control over.

    Michael N. Marcus

    author of "Become a Real Self-Publisher,"

    author of "Stories I'd Tell My Children (but maybe not until they're adults), coming 4/1/10.

  6. Michael, I am so happy for you! You've found a way to publish your work in a way that makes YOU happy!! I wish you unending success!

    Huge thanks to the rest of the commenters too...It's reassuring to know that others were/are just as clueless as I was at one point!!