Wednesday, October 1, 2014

To Self-Publish, or Not To Self-Publish

That is the question, isn't it.

Sorry for the long gap in posts. The last few weeks have not been easy for me. Let's just say I have to make some decisions that will drastically alter the way I thought my life was going. Not that that's a bad thing, in the end, but right now I kind of feel like this:

Like I'm being unmade and remade, cell by cell. That kind of thing makes you a bit forgetful.

One of the questions I'm dealing with is whether or not to self-publish my writing. If you've been reading this blog, you know that I've had several bad experiences with traditional publishers. Also, I met a self-published author and he had some compelling arguments. And it's tempting, right now, to take control of my writing and do things my way.

But I do have some reservations. So, I thought I'd do a Pro/Con list, right here, for all of you. If you want to chime in with some thoughts, feel free. I need all the help I can get.


1. I'm in control. I get to write what I want and publish it the way I want it.

2. Better income for a starting writer. Traditional publishing takes percentages, and a no-name like me isn't likely to sell many books next to the publisher's heavy hitters. Self-published, I could maybe make a living.

3. No messy contract work. No selling rights.

4. None of this waiting and waiting for nothing, while I keep reading bad books that have been published and wondering what they have that I don't.

5. No trying to fit a mass market niche. I can write and know that some audience is going to want my stuff, no matter how weird my stories get.


1. I've got to edit everything, and even then I may wonder if my work isn't quite good enough. The gatekeeping aspect of traditional publishing is nice.

2. Gotta self-market. I'll be the one speaking to libraries (maybe), cutting my own book trailers, setting up a Goodreads profile for myself as writer, promoting new books, finding new venues, etc. That includes formatting and cover art for the book itself. It's a lot more work and I'm not sure I'm up to it.

3.  This reason is silly, but actually my biggest hangup. I have this dream of seeing my work published and on the shelf at Barnes and Noble or the library. I feel like self-publishing (market is mostly ebooks) would be giving up on that dream, like traditional publishing is never going to happen for me.

Okay, more pros than cons, but that last reason against self-publishing really is stopping me. I'm young, I have four manuscripts ready (more or less; one still needs a polish) to send out and I haven't tapped three of them yet. Besides, maybe, if all the stars in the Milky Way and the Andromeda Galaxy align, I may do well in the contest I entered. Results should be known soon. Fingers crossed!

I'll try not to be such a stranger from now on. Aw, who am I kidding? Of course I'm going to do this again. But I'll try to postpone that day.


  1. You should totally self publish! And then traditional publish later. It's not giving up, it's just accepting that you will have to wait awhile for the traditional dream. But that doesn't mean you can live part of the dream by self publishing now.

  2. Buy and read this book. It's written for how-to books, but I think that there's no reason for fiction books to not go in this direction.
    I particularly like the article about "Common mistakes beginning writers make."