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S Is For Self-Publishing

For the Blogging From A to Z Challenge I’m doing you all a huge favor and filling you in on the 26 Things To Hate About Writing.** I’m hoping by the end of April, I will have convinced all of you not to indulge in the wild insanity of becoming a writer. If I can save even one person from offering themselves up in sacrifice to the mad and fickle word gods, I will have done some good in this world.

Check out each letter’s post here.

SELF-PUBLISHING

This post is for the people who have tried, or are thinking about trying, self-publishing. As if being a writer isn’t crazy enough, you are, or want to be, the publisher as well. For the rest of you big-time traditionally published authors rolling in your bestseller money, get the heck out of here so we can talk in private. Go on, get! We don’t want your kind around here.

All right, now that they’re gone…

Self-publishing has numerous benefits. You get to retain creative control, and the money, and if you’re already traditionally published you know not all publishers are created equal. Some of them, you might as well have self-published in the first place for all they help you. Dirty Dick’s House of Writers based in Vermont isn’t going to get you on the NYT bestseller list, probably, even if they’re technically a ‘publisher.’ But self-publishing is a lot of work, as well, and you should remember:

– You have to do everything, and pay for everything: editing, cover art, formatting, getting the book up on sales channels. But as most movies about writers tell us, all of us have a trust fund or a great aunt who died and left us a fortune, and we spend our days in front of an ancient typewriter smoking a pipe and gazing out the window at green meadows, so you shouldn’t have to worry about this.
– You also have to do your own promoting, and if you think most people don’t care what you have to say now, wait until you tell them you wrote a book. You have to do targeted promoting, which means finding the audience that loves stories about child serial killers with talking pet goldfish. The BookBub listing for this category is $3000.
– You will find you’re not nearly as artistic at creating covers or adept with publishing software as you dreamed yourself to be. Just have your five year-old nephew create some ‘abstract art’ in Paint that really speaks to the theme of the story.

Self-publishing can be very rewarding. In some aspects, it’s like buying yourself a trophy for a job well done, but hey, you got a trophy and most people won’t even have any idea you bought it yourself, they’ll just congratulate you. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to see your accomplishments flourish out there in the world. Self-publishing can also be the worst thing ever, because it’s expensive, difficult, and it’s easy to drown in a sea of other books. Don’t worry about that. Smoke your pipe and get back to writing, you’ve got to finish the sequel to your child serial killer goldfish book: Killer Tots 2: Things Get Fishier.


**Disclaimer: If you haven’t figured it out, these posts are pure satire and simply a humorous way to vent my writing frustrations. No offense is intended to anyone. Please, become or continue being a writer. It’s awesome, I swear. It’s super…duper, awesome…heh heh.

Megan Morgan View All

Urban fantasy and paranormal romance author.

35 thoughts on “S Is For Self-Publishing Leave a comment

  1. I’ve been humming and hawing about self-publishing for years – still haven’t done it. I’m far too lazy I think. I mean, I’ll go on book signing tours, but I don’t want to find outlets where I can advertise and sign books. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve tried both, I self-published after being traditionally published, and i have to tell you frankly, it’s not more rewarding. It’s a lot of work and expensive, and it’s much harder to get your work out there–but I still understand why people do it!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, well I can’t print over here in S.Africa. It’s way too costly. I intend printing my eBooks on CreateSpace once I’ve finished the fourth in the series.

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  2. A couple of years ago, I would have told you I wasn’t interested at self-publishing, because the trad route is my main goal (it still is, I’m still submitting my trilogy), but last year, for many different reasons, I decided to try and self-publish a novella.
    It was a very educational experience, I’m happy I’ve done it, but one of the things I’ve learned is that I minght not be the right author for self-publishing.

    First, I don’t have the right product. Took me a long time to cope with this, but now I think I don’t. My stories aren’t strongly characterised as a genre (they merge different genres) and so is very difficult to aim for a specific reader. I’ve read on agents’ blog that if you have a main ganre and a sprinkle of another is good, if you merge two genres which are equally important to the story, that’s bad. Can’t say they’re wrong.
    I’m also not a fast writier, never was, and I have a day job, so I can’t devote to writing (and promoting) the time that I’d like.
    i didn’t think this was too much of a problem a year ago when I publishedmy book, but now…

    I’m thinking about it a lot these days. What should I do? Do I really have any chances at it? Should I still try?
    Sorry for the complaint, but as I said, I’m thinking abotu ti a lot these days.

    @JazzFeathers
    The Old Shelter – 1940s Film Noir

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    • Self-publishing is definitely an undertaking that requires attention, devotion, and unfortunately, money. I tried it out after being traditionally published and I have to say, aside from a few perks, it was mostly more work and hardship than I wanted to be part of.

      Have you tried Lyrical Press? They’re the imprint of Kensington I’m published with and they’re very open to more experimental, broad-range stuff that mingles genres. Kensington is an amazing publisher to work with and I highly recommend them. You should give them a shot!

      http://www.ekensingtonbooks.com/page.aspx/LyricalSubmissions

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  3. I self published a paperback version of my first novel after the electronic version (joint venture published) had been out for a year. Since then I have had three novels traditionally published and a fourth will be out in November. My thoughts on self publishing are that it has flooded the market with low quality books. Not just books I didn’t like, but books which I think are dull. I read one which I won’t name, in which the author apparently had never heard of metaphorical language. It was dead set boring to read. I’ve also read sp novels which were riddled with grammatical and spelling errors (not just the odd one – that happens unfortunately.)

    It is often said that everyone has a book in them. I disagree. Digital printing has fostered mediocrity through self publishing. Re ‘control’ I worked collaboratively with my editors who respected my work, and understood it, but were able to enhance my manuscripts. I had control of covers and what was chopped or not from the ms. (I should say the two publishers are oth small press US based publishers.)

    The only thing worse than self publishing (sorry, my rant is nearly over) is joint venture publishing. Where it costs even more money (ridiculous amounts of money) and guarantees nothing in terms of increased exposure or sales.

    I want a professional editor/publisher to read my ms and say that they love it and want to publish it. Anything else is a compromise, and for me at this stage, a backward step in my quest to become a rich, famous and completely delusional author.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I agree, there’s a HIGH rate of poorly-done self-published novels, and I think these come from people who think they’re going to get rich and famous from having one book published. Publishing, no matter how you end up doing it, is a huge undertaking and requires immense skill, work, and practice. I’m definitely with you on pretty much everything you say here. My editors have always been people who wanted to help me and make sure I succeed. And I worked SUPER hard to get to that acceptance, dammit!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Hey David, I agree with the low quality idea. My wife likes to read on her Kindle and has sought good books everywhere and the quality of much of what she downloads is shoddy at best.

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  4. I have a friend who self-publishes all his books, and I have no idea if he makes any real money at it or not, I’m just glad he has his job at the local public library to fall back on… (Plus can you imagine, he actually works in a place where he can do research all day and *get paid for it!* When they’re not busy, of course…)

    Anyway, I’m glad you cleared up that whole “child serial killer” thing, I thought you were talking about Freddy Kreuger for a minute, till I realized the child was supposed to be the serial killer…I think I watch too many horror movies…

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  5. That’s why I’m staying clear of self-publishing. You have to be really self-disciplined, and I’m not. I couldn’t handle all the promo work, and I’m not willing to gamble with money if my efforts tank and don’t make me profit (even enough to break even). I’m going the trad route for now, but I absolutely see the benefits of self-publishing! If you’re ready to tackle it, then there are potential rewards to reap you couldn’t get from traditional publishing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m traditionally published, but I decided to self-publish a few books to see how the experience differs. What I found out is that you said: it takes a lot of money, discipline, and gambling to make self-publishing work. Even as an established author I had to use paid promo to get sales. I also can’t go nearly as widespread and effective promo as publishing houses do. I’m fortunate I have graphic design skills so I can do my own covers, so that keeps the cost down, but there’s still a lot out of pocket.

      I plan to still self-publish a few things in the future, but I’m mostly going to stick to traditional publishing.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Whether you self-publish or not – you are all super humans if you have written an actual book – it is an amazing feat – as one who could not write a book even though I would love to be able – so pat yourself on the back and get it out there by any means necessary is what I say!
    So pleased to have come across your blog through the A-Z Challenge 🙂 http://pempispalace.blogspot.co.uk/2017/04/s-is-for-solitary-sapien-solar-system.html

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Self-publishing is certainly a sticky wicket. I’m trying a Kindle Scout campaign now for my newest effort. After you fork out all the money for covers, etc. it costs nothing to try. Check out my post if you haven’t heard of it.

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  8. Getting to retain creative control is the best bit, I think. Don’t meddle with my baby! I’d like to add a more positive note to Christopher’s comment by saying that in my experience, people couldn’t let less about where a book comes from, they just want to read a good story. I just tell them “I’ve got a book out”. That’s an achievement no matter which way you cut it!

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    • Absolutely! I’m a hybrid author, and one of my most avid readers was shocked when I pointed out that a few of my books are self-published. She had no idea, and most readers don’t buy books based on the publisher, they buy what they like, or from authors they like. Only people in the industry really notice stuff like that, and most of them don’t care either.

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  9. First off, I smoke a cigar, not a pipe.

    I have a number of books as a self-published author, and am such a control freak, I demand to handcode my own ebooks using HTML and XML.

    What I do hate though, is when I tell people I’m a self-published author, they always say, “That’s cool”, almost as if they pity me “Oh, couldn’t make it as a real author?” I’ve even had someone refer to another writer (over me) as an actual author, as they were traditionally published.

    The only way people would be impressed with me as an author is if they could physically touch my book. I hope one day I get the clout and respect as an author as those who go through traditional methods, or perhaps one day become a traditional published author.

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    • I’m a hybrid author, I started out traditionally published and then gave self-publishing a shot to see how it compared and differed. One thing I’ve found is if you don’t tell people you’re self-published, most of them won’t even know. Sure, some other writers might, because they know what to look for in the book’s information, but the majority of readers don’t buy books based on publishing houses, they buy what sounds good and appeals to them. That’s why when you self-publish it’s important to write really good blurbs and have attractive covers.

      You can totally have physical copies of your books as a self-published author! Both Createspace and Amazon’s self-publishing service offer paperback services at no cost to the author. I’ve definitely given physical copies of my self-published stuff to friends, and used them in giveaways and whatnot.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Money is my big issue, what with being unable to work. But I think my next book will put me on the “shelf”, if you will. I’m not too, too, worried about it. I’m proud of myself and that is what ultimately matters… and as I wish I can tell them, at least I finished a story and actually got it published (several times), and you’ve done zero.

        I don’t say that, but I want to. I do want to get a physical print of my book. Actually, my cover artist gifted me two of my books for Christmas as physical copies. He basically wanted a physical book to read, but felt wrong that he had a physical copy and I did not. Unfortunately it poorly formatted.

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