To Self-Publish or Not to Self-Publish.

I’ve been thinking lately about self-publishing. Another writer friend of mine has gone that route and he’s been singing the praises of living without an agent or traditional publishing house. My husband has also been itching to try it out with one or all of my completed novels as he’s tired of the “waiting game” — waiting for agents to look at my queries/proposals/sample chapters and get back to me. I’m in the waiting game now with my newest novel, and it’s rough. There are days I get so tired of the game that I want to give up and try underwater basket weaving. But I don’t have it in me to quit–I’m entirely too stubborn to not get my own way.

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In an effort to say I gave it a fair shot, this morning I bought James Scott Bell’s book Self-Publishing Attack! The 5 Absolutely Unbreakable Laws for Creating Steady Income Publishing Your Own Books. I read it in one sitting – it’s not that long, and I read fast. It’s an excellent book with a healthy dose of reality. It didn’t contain a ton of new information, but it contained everything I needed to know. I highly recommend the book. And because it’s so short and so reasonably priced, I’m not going to give away the information. Purchase the book if you’re interested. But I want to respond to what I learned.

My biggest fear in self-publishing is my lack of experience at doing any of the things covered in Mr. Bell’s book. What if I produce a horrible cover? What if I don’t format it correctly? What if I do all those things right but can’t market the book? That’s the biggie, for me. Without marketing, I have no hope of selling more than a handful of copies, and with dismal sales comes the dismal future of not being able to attract an editor or agent if I ever want to go the traditional route. I realize my own weaknesses: I’m an extreme introvert with a mild dose of xenophobia (fear of strangers) and a rather large dose of agoraphobia (fear of crowds). How does a someone like me market a book?

Mr. Bell had several ideas that I can do without confronting my fears head-on (which, by the way, I work on all the time. I’m not one to admit my failings and then comfortably live with them–I actively put myself into situations where I have to deal with it, mostly because my kids would suffer if I never left the house. They like sporting events and theme parks and noisy church events, so we do those thing. Not a lot, but enough.) But back on point: there are ways of marketing a book that don’t include crowds and strangers and big cities and monstrously expensive events that would leave me quivering in the corner.

I learned that self-publishing is not beyond my grasp. If I decide to give it a shot, I’ll document my journey on this blog and use it as a teaching/sharing moment. Don’t hold your breath, though. My two life mottos are “rules are to be obeyed” and “what’s the rush.” If I decide to self-publish, I will take my time to do things right, and then probably sit on it for some time to make sure I didn’t forget anything or do it wrong. 

Comments? Questions? Words of wisdom to share? 

-Sonja
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One thought on “To Self-Publish or Not to Self-Publish.

  1. Not that long ago, self-publishing meant either spending a buttload of money up front or using a vanity publisher and spending a hefty chunk, though not quite as much. I especially despised vanity publishing companies because their target market is the authors, not the readers, and therefore had no real incentive to market or push the book. For the same reason, they’d take just about any book, regardless of writing quality, because again – their market is the writer, not the reader. But now, self-publishing can be cheap or even free (I know Kindle offers free e-book publishing, so long as you can get the book converted into a .pdf format on your own). So as long as you can tackle the marketing part – more power to you. I’m not quite so brave yet. 🙂

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