This week marks six months since I released my first book, The Dark Proposal. To celebrate, from March 12th to the 16th, my book will be 99 cents on both Amazon Kindle and Smashwords. So spread the word!
As I look back on those six months since I became a published author, I want to address self-publishing. I’ve been meaning to do so for a long while, and I think now would be a good time.
I don’t regret self-publishing my book. While I did go for the traditional route initially, I was too intrigued by self-publishing that I chose to do that. I liked the idea of being in control of my product and not compromising with someone else or having someone decide how to market my book. It was my work, my product, my baby. I wasn’t going to turn custody of my work to someone else.
I admit it did cost money to release my book on my own. The money I spent was almost entirely toward my editor. The cover design, getting the copyright, and paying for a blog tour was nickels and dimes compared to getting my story edited. It is overwhelming and it can make you wonder if you’re crazy to venture into self-publishing, but it was better than the alternative, at least for me.
Keep in mind, most indie authors do not have overnight success. Most have to publish several books in order to see major profit. So, it is a huge gamble and the investment is enormous, almost not worth the headache.
But is it better than querying agents or going to a small publishing house? Sure, if you don’t mind waiting for agents’ responses, waiting for at least to have interest in your novel, waiting for that agent to get back to you and then possibly shop your book around to the Big 6. If you get anywhere, you would then wait for your book to be published – after it is edited and you might have to accept major changes to your baby, such as character ages or names, certain scenes you feel are important are cut out, etc. You also get no say on what kind of cover you want (that was one of the big things that attracted me to self-publishing because I didn’t want anyone to decide how on the cover but me).
Then your book is published. It is on shelves at brick and mortar stores with the public more aware of it than an eBook. There is some buzz and your book sells – but how well? From what I understand, a traditional author has to wait a few months to learn how many copies they sold, instead of daily. Yes, they may see more money – but is it guaranteed?
One thing I keep hearing about the benefits of traditional publishing is that an author knows for sure their book is good and worthy enough when a major publisher accepts and releases it. They have the major stamp of approval and their hard work has paid off. While that is true, I don’t entirely agree. I do agree that can be elating to know that Penguin or Random House would want your book above so many others. I would’ve loved it if my book was picked up by one of the Big 6. But patience and I aren’t friends, and I did like the idea of being in control of my product.
I’m not judging anyone who chooses to go the traditional route, I just don’t agree that what works for one author will work for all others. I really believe all authors need to decide what works best for them. This is a great time for authors because we get a chance to choose how to get our work out to the world. We get to choose what works for us personally, and that’s imperative when you are serious about being a published writer.
So if you want to do traditional, go for it. If you want to go indie, go for it. Just do what you feel is right for your product. To hell with the opinion of others because no one knows what is best for you. Both options have their pros and cons, and both are risky and time consuming. But if you are serious about getting your story ready by others, you would do what it takes to get them into the hands of readers everywhere – and there’s a chance you’ll be glad you did what you did. I know I am!