Two years ago I wrote a piece on why a writer might self-publish. Today, it’s just as current. So many writers are trying to decide what to do with their manuscripts that I thought to put it in my blog.
So here goes:
So, you’re thinking about self-publishing? Right? You just read that list of those authors who have made more than a million sales at Amazon.
You know that most likely it won’t be you…but why put up obstacles? Who really knows? I would settle for just a nice living from my writing. I would love to do what I am passionate about and have fun every day…well almost every day.
Still, you run into them, you know, the writers who are not validated unless a publisher has their book and they angst about not getting a response from their 200 query letters and sweat over formatting and sending in a killer synopsis, and first three chapters all doubled spaced in Times Roman font. All following big publishing rules for submission. And then waiting forever.
Or, the person who mumbles, “Oh you’re self-published? I heard that authors that self-publish write terrible books.” …as if they had statistics and accurate knowledge that would validate such a conclusion. As if there has never been any poorly written books put out by legacy publishers. As if.
Millions of readers say otherwise.
Millions of readers are reading eBooks and ordering paperbacks. I doubt they check who is publishing the book they read. Does a publisher’s name influence your choice? Is that how books are bought? I don’t think so.
You’ve heard the naysayers to self-publishing who cling to the old ways like a drowning man onto a plank of wood in a tossing storm.
So why should you self publish?
1. Times are tight and publishers are even tighter. It’s getting hard to get in with any fiction unless you’re Amanda Hockings with a million books sold already and a fan base. Or Steve Jobs, and he’s dead. Reality check time. Big publishing houses have missed the boat sometimes on figuring out blockbuster hits. Scholastic picked up Harry Potter, for crying out loud, after big publishing houses turned it down.
2. You’ve tried for ten years to publish and you know you have a book that people will like. Get it out there. Let the readers decide rather than a few gatekeepers who often choose at a given moment and then never reconsider their decision. No second chances in that game. And the rejection may be not because it wasn’t good, but just because they accepted a similar one last week and that slot is now filled.
2. People ask me if I’m making money. I answer, “More than gathering dust on the shelf, or waiting on some publishing house to answer me.” That made me $0. What have you got to lose? Just be wary of the scams. Yes, another blog for another day, but so far all revenues have covered any expenses. So it can be done, but it does take work.
3. Maybe you are retired, currently unemployed, or have time on your hands. Or have room for a part time job. I worked full time for years and wrote on the side. Then, they closed down the art gallery where I worked and the economy went into the dumper. Finding a new job where I wanted to work wasn’t easy. Okay, I was picky. Now, instead of depression and feeling useless, I’m learning exciting new skills and getting paid for the experience. My life has purpose and I’m having fun. There is a psychological side to it—a sense of purpose…a sense of accomplishment.
4. You are your own boss and set your own schedule. You decide on the cover, what you write, how you price your book. You make your own deadlines. I don’t have big gas bills and I have a short commute. No stop lights. Plenty of coffee in the morning.
5. You have exciting conversations at parties about your book and you give speeches and show what you have written. Long lost college roommates e-mail you and tell you how much they like your work. You amaze your mother who is astounded that her own child has written a novel, or two, or more.
6. You love to write and your dream is to see your book in hand. Now. Facts: It takes a long time to get published. It took eighteen months to get Baen books to ask for my entire manuscript after countless other queries to other publishers and then a year after that they said, “No thanks.” I wasted more than two years because of publishing rules, “No simultaneous submissions.” They make up all these rules and like sheep, wannabe authors follow them afraid to rock the boat or ruin their chances. Even if you were accepted right this second, acceptance in hand, today, it takes a year or more to hit the shelf. Most likely two. Will those shelves be there in two years?
7. What is everyone getting for Christmas? Most likely a Kindle Fire, an Ipad, a Nook, or an iPhone. Why am I a self-published, Indie author? It just makes sense for me in my place and at this time. Why not? Why wait any longer?
8. And if you are successful, didn’t a big publishing house offer Amanda Hockings an amazing contract? You can put both oars in the water if you want. You can do both and no one will arrest you. Ask Dean Wesley Smith about that. It isn’t an “either, or” situation. If you’re smart about it, you have nothing to lose.
9. Hey! Don’t these babies (at the right) look great and fun to read? Why don’t you try one? My eBooks are $3.99. Less than a cup of coffee at Starbucks. And you can buy a paperback version if you choose.
Find my books at http://www.amazon.com/Sheron-Wood-McCartha/e/B0045K0HD6/
I wrote that two years ago and I still feel the same way. Would I add anything more? Well…
1. When you self publish you’re in control of your work. You get paid every month if you sell…anything…all over the world.It’s exciting to know that in France, Japan, England, Australia, everyone is reading your books. There is no minimum amount required with Amazon. Most publishers pay every quarter if you reach a certain minimum or sometimes every six months, some never. I haven’t had a month go by over two years without a deposit directly into my book account. My royalty is 70% if priced over $3.99 and 35% if under. No one else takes a cut when I sell through Amazon. 15% net to the author is the norm for publishing houses who then set your price…which affects your sales if too high or too low.
3. You have control over your pricing so you can market however you deem fit. If you want to do a special and advertise at a discount it takes five minutes to click to a new price and when it’s done, five minutes to click back. You select your marketing program, but whatever you do, you bear the cost…with tax exemptions.
4. If TOR called and said they wanted me, of course I’d go. It’s TOR. But Double Dragon, or other small publishers…absolutely not. I’ve heard the horror stories.
And be ready for Time Equation in November. It adds up to great science fiction and will multiply your enjoyment of reading.