To self publish or not? That is the question.
The world of publishing has evolved incommensurably in the past decade. As a result, the number of options presented to fledging authors is mind blowing. Traditionally published? Indie pub? Hybrid? Or self-published? Makes your head spin, right?
At the very least it made me dizzy and being quite insecure in general, but mostly about my authoring talents, I overlooked self publishing and kept trying to land a publishing deal. When the letter arrived at last, I thought I might faint. A publishing house wanted ME! Someone beside myself and my mother thought my novel deserved to see the light of day. A dream come true…
Mostly. I was so elated by their offer I didn’t think to check out the publishing house that I was about to sign with. Well, I did make sure they were not vanity publishers but other than that, I took the plunge gladly and blindfolded.
I didn’t realize that this publisher, no matter how kind and well intentioned, was practically as green as I was and had almost no budget to promote a new title. I didn’t understand all the work that went into putting a book out there and the knowledge required to do it well. Nowadays, anyone can publish a book on CreateSpace but to do it well? To maximize its chances to be known and attract the right audience? That requires skills. Skills that unfortunately my publisher didn’t have and no amount of good will could make up for.
While under my publisher’s wing, my novel A Cunning Plan vegetated idly, while I prayed some miracle would lead readers to it. And it required a miracle. My book cover was bland and generic (I had to pick it from one website offering premade covers), I received no marketing tips or budget to promote my launch, and my publisher had no social following to share with me, a total newbie.
They promoted their large circle of authors but although the advice and kind words of support were greatly appreciated, they were all new like me and their blog posts (just like mine) were only read by a handful of people. Hard to spread the word that way.
In only a few months I was totally disenchanted and ready to quit writing for good. There’s only so many copies of your book your inner circle can buy before getting fed up with you.
Positive reviews kept me going. Reviews are like crack–I’m totally addicted 🙂
Once I took the decision to leave my publisher, I reconsidered all my options.
Only three weeks into self-publishing, and I couldn’t be more thrilled with my decision. Here are 3 reasons why:
Things I’ve done and seem to be working since I left my publishing house:
Still learning, still working two thousand jobs as a self published author, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world. In the end, self publishing reminded me why I was writing in the first place. Because I love writing of course, but also because I love sharing my stories. I feel like I’m already starting to achieve this goal with self publishing. Incredibly grateful.