Saturday, March 5, 2011

The debate to self-publish

Most recently, Amanda Hocking posted a wonderful blog post on her rise to success through self-publishing. She mentioned that at this time she is doing more marketing for her books than she is actual writing, though her site shows that she does have books coming out this year and in 2012.

I have to admit, self-publishing has crossed my mind. It's not because I think I am going to be the next Hocking, nor do I expect the money to suddenly come flowing in.

Outside of romance and erotica, I write some stuff that I don't think would fit with a print or e press. That is, it doesn't quite fit into their guidelines on what they are actively seeking. So, where does that leave me with these works? I ask myself that question almost daily.

The one thing that does hold me back is the stigma that I find still attached to self-publishing. Some tend to make a person considering it, feel like that their stuff isn't worthy of a more traditional means of publication. Of course, in some cases that's true without a doubt. I have read some pretty shitty self-published stuff. Then again, I have also read some bad books that have been published by some big publishing houses. In the end that's all subjective, as my best book ever could be your most hated book.

Back on topic. Have you considered self-publishing? What are your thoughts when something doesn't fit the mold set forth by most publishers?

Self publishing is a heck of a lot of work for anyone who would like to do it right. Some things to consider are:

-Cover art. A good cover is a must in my opinion.
-Editing. Can you sufficently edit your own work? Can you afford to have someone else do it? Do you know someone who can help, free of charge? These questions are just a few things to consider.
-Formatting. This one scares the hell out of me. I am a tech-turd and clueless to such things. Bad formatting can cause a reader to not want to come back to you ever again. This applies to both electronic and print formats.
-Promotion. It's a lot of work to get your name out there, especially if you are an unknown. Do you have the time and energy? Do you have what it takes?

So, this is the stuff that runs through my head. I'd be interesting in hearing your thoughts on the subject.


  1. Great post with great points, sweetie! :-)

    I have to admit that when I hear 'self published', my first thought is 'badly written'/'poorly edited'. I know that this is not always the case, by any means, but it what is pumped into my head on most sites I visit.

    When it comes down to it, I'm a lazy bugger, and wouldn't want to put in all the effort that is required of a self publisher. I enjoy writing, and I'm getting better every day, but that doesn't mean I'm a good artist, copy editor, line editor, advertiser and pimp. ;-)

    Saying that though, I have been looking at self publishing for one of my projects. Like you say, some things aren't suitable for a traditional publisher, for several reasons. This project falls under one of those reasons.

    I guess we may see how good a multi-tasker I really am. :P


    PS - I was no help whatsoever was I? :D

  2. The few times I've taken a chance on reading some self published works I had to stop. Blaring mistakes that should be common grammatical and spelling knowledge, word confusion. It was just bad. Sadly, in many of the cases, the stigma is there for a reason. I'd rather keep at it with a publisher and improve my work before just putting it out there for the sake of being a writer. Great article.

  3. I agree. There is some terrible stuff out there.

  4. I've read some really good self-pubbed stuff. I typically see more errors in those, but I can overlook a few typos and an occasional miused word if the story is compelling enough.

    Cover art is paramount for self-pubbed authors, and there are some damn good cover designers out there just waiting for freelance work. They need a portfolio and charge cheap for good work.


    Editing--same as cover artists. Lots of people wanting to break into the freelance editing biz. I even had a woman offer to edit a work I was polishing (for free) if I'd give her a testimonial for her website.

    Promo--I'm okay with this part because even if you go with a smaller press, the promo is mostly on you.

    I think like this: If you have work you're proud of but don't think it'll ever get picked up by a traditional publisher, why not self-pub it? At least you'll have it forever...

  5. I support self-publishing is the author does it right (doesn't turn into a self-published ass and shit on the very people they're trying to get to promote their books, for example (which has actually happened to quite a few people)). Self-publishing can be rewarding and lucrative for the right people. I've considered it just for the hell of it. Like short stories and such that I want to get out there but don't have anywhere else to put them. It seems kind of neat. But there is a stigma. I wouldn't publish my novel by that means and hope for the best only because I wouldn't view it as reaching my goal of being published. Since anyone with a word processor and internet connection can publish that way, it takes the end-result away for me. I don't want to do something just anyone can do. I want to be chosen, singled out as being good and rewarded by being published and sold in stores all over the world.