Monday, November 28, 2011

To Self-Publish or Not to Self-Publish - The Journey

I've been writing for six years. Why? Because I enjoy writing, but more importantly, I have something worthwhile to say and I want to share my ideas with others. My projects are receiving recognition. I added up my writing statistics. I've won a thriller competition, placed eighth in a Writer's Digest Short Story Contest, published, or am in the process of publishing, five shorts stories where I'm actually being paid. I've finished two novels that are ready for publication and three more in the process of layering. What now?

My writing mentors, all published authors, say, "Bill, you've worked too hard to go the self-publishing route." Well, have I mentioned I've spent--now wait for it--$5,375.00 on workshops, seminars, conferences, and professional editing services. Other writers I know have spent more. I've received fifty-one rejections from agents, most coming in the form of no response. 

The rise of Amazon and Barnes and Nobles' electronic readers have made self-publishing easier. Couple that with the tight economy creating problems for publishing companies, and there is an opportunity for new authors to market their work like never before. But the work has to be exceptional. So here is a question I'd like feedback on for my readers. In your opinion, what are the three major drawbacks to self-publishing?

Join me over the next few months as I share my journey, To Self-Publish or Not to Self-Publish. Please, sign up to follow my blog and receive automatic posts.


Gloria Teague said...

It seems the biggest drawback to self-publishing is the stigma most people still attach to it. Most people think if the book is good enough to buy, good enough to pass your valuable time with it, then it should be good enough to garner the interest of an agent. Sadly, most readers (and many writers) don't understand that millions of dollars have been made without any "help" from any agent. Several authors are proving just how extremely lucrative handling your own work can be.

Cindy Downes said...

I have self-published one book and two e-books. Here's my take: If you're going to do it, do it ALL yourself. Get your own ISBN number, etc. It will take a bit more money than going with CreateSpace, etc. and a bit more effort, but you'll make a lot more money.

I self-published non-fiction. I already had a market for this, so marketing is just a matter of me keeping it before my readers. A fiction book I would not have a market for. I will NOT self-publish fiction. The biggest drawback to me in self-publishing fiction is marketing.. If you don't have a ready market, it's going to be nearly impossible to sell your book.

As far as a "Stigma", yes there is that. But I joyfully watch my bank account grow every day, with that "stigma" from my self-published books. I earn as much on my self-publishing as a part time job at minimum wage. Doesn't sound great, but consider that I earn this year after year without writing another thing! (Been doing it five years.) Once the work is done, the money keeps coming in as I continue to market my work and write more content. I don't sell as many copies as a traditional publisher, but I make 75%-95% profit on each one I sell.

BUT AGAIN, I would NOT do this with fiction. I am working on getting my fiction published through a traditional publisher. I won't say never, but at this point, I can't see self-publishing fiction UNLESS: (1) You're famous (2) You speak around the country and have a market base for fiction.

That's my take. Hope it helps!

That's my take.

Sandy said...

Drawbacks: 1. You have to make your own book cover, or pay someone to do it for you (approximately $75.00), 2. You need someone to edit your book (it can be expensive), 3. You have to format your books for each place you put it like Amazon, Sony Bookstore, Barnes and Noble, etc.
4. It's a lot of work.

I've heard it's very rewarding. Look for Barry Eisler and J.A. Konath and you can learn a lot more.

Bill Wetterman said...

Thank you for your comments. I've received several directly to my email and writers groups. I'll place another blog comment in a few days.