Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Why Self Publishing makes me want to wet my pants and run around screaming like a little girl

Hey everyone!

So, last week I posted about why I am self publishing.

This isn't something I've considered lightly. There are reasons that waiting and stalking agents, and going on submission forever, and all that junk might be worth the wait.

Here's the other side of the story: a list of the reasons I've considered AGAINST self publishing.

1) Marketing and Self Promotion AKA I really love myself so much and that's not skeezy at all!

I hate talking about myself. Especially if I'm trying to convince people that I'm cool or something, because I'm really not. I'm much better at self-deprecation.  Also, I don't really get marketing (although I have started some research on marketing e-books and I'm wading through it. This is a good one: 10 Tips On Self Publishing By Indie Authors and Books) I have absolutely no idea how I'm going to reach my target audience, unless it's by stupid luck or complete accident. And I don't want to be running around making people follow a Facebook author page or tweeting about my books a million times a day, that's just annoying :(

But then again, this is probably just me being lazy. I'm SURE there's ways to promote your book without coming off like a car salesman, I just have to figure it out. Also, I understand that even publishing companies rely on the writers to promote their own work. It just feels so...blerg.

2) Published Authors have professionals on their side...for FREE!

I'm really excited to work with the aforementioned (in prior blog post) Regina Wamba, because she is totally amazing, but I have to pay for it with a not-insignificant chunk of change. I also have to rely on the editing skills of people I know, or people I meet that are writers/readers, etc. I could hire a professional editor, but that's another big chunk of change, and since I don't personally know any professional editors, if I were to hire someone, I would have to hope that they get me and my work and what I'm trying to accomplish.

Published writers don't have these same concerns. They've already won over their agent, editor, etc. and found a home where professionals are committed to their book's success. As a self-published writer, you have to give that up. The only person working for you, is you and you have to get used to the idea of flying solo.

And remember how I'm terrified of marketing myself? While publishing companies do put a chunk of that in the writer's hands, at least you have professionals available to guide and assist you.

3) For the self-publisher, there will be no exciting phone calls or responses from agents, no hype, no Publisher's Marketplace blurb, no "I am represented by..." in your bio

Ah, the sweet, sweet, smell of public recognition. I can imagine it's a heady feeling, finally finding that one person that gets your book and your writing and who wants to go to bat for you. Then finally selling your book(s) and seeing your name in print next to "sold in a good deal to..." Having industry people tell you nice things about your book (aka your baby), and having people get excited about when it's being released.

For the self published writer, that's not going to happen. Especially if it's your first book. Maybe, with subsequent novels - if you're lucky - you'll have developed a fan base and you'll get to experience at least a little hype. Otherwise, say goodbye to that dream.

(SIDEBAR: Okay, okay, I know that there are writers out there who self-published and went on to get big deals with traditional publishers and all that, but let's get real, guys. That's the exception, not the rule, and I am not that impressed with myself to think that will ever happen for me.)

4) There will be no walking into Barnes and Noble and seeing your book on the shelf

This is sort of an extension of the last one. As a self-published writer, the majority of your sales will be e-books. Sure, you will be able to hold a printed copy, and you may even sell some, but...from the limited research I've done, getting your self-published PRINT books into major retailers is like opening a pickle jar after you've just put on lotion.

Which doesn't mean I'm not going to try. Maybe I'll just purchase a few of my own copies and put them on a shelf in B&N and take a few pictures. No one will notice, right?


So despite all the points mentioned above, I'm still going to pursue my dream of self-publishing. I think the pros outweigh the cons, at least for this writer.

As I learn about marketing and how to, you know, do all of this self pubbing business, I will be posting some tips, the things I find out, and the the things I eff up. It will happen. I just hope that it's humorous enough to share.

The point of this blog has always been, and will always be, to help fellow writers along their writerly journey, and that will not change. I look forward to sharing all of the ups and downs and tears and laughs. ;)

Now, I'm going to go tweet this and wallow in my own self-loathing for marketing myself :(


  1. A) I didn't know other ppl say "skeezy". My family uses that word like it's going out of style (er, we never knew it was IN style--we always thought it was made up!) and I laughed out loud when I saw it in your post :)

    B) If I don't see a pic of you in B&N with your book, I'm gonna die. That would be epic.

    C) You can overcome ALL of the cons to self-publishing. Not only do you have a herd to support ya, but it seems like you know what you're up against. I think e-pub failure has more to do with blind hope than anything else. You, my friend, are ready and willing to go in with (figurative) guns blazing, with a full-body suit of knowledge. Yes, yes, "suit of knowledge" sounds lame....but it's true. The better informed, the better your chances :)

    1. Thank you Owly!! I love your guts! I am so grateful for the goat herd, you have no idea. You all make me feel so loved and keep me sane :)

  2. Oh yes, I'm sooo on the same page with you! We should form a support group or something for people wading through the research and process of self-publication. And I love your gutsy idea of taking the picture at B&N!

    From what I've read and come to understand, the biggest helps for marketing are pretty much the same as for traditional published people: word-of-mouth and availability. It sounds like you have a huge support net from other writers. That will help word-of-mouth getting started. It's true, that getting books into bookstores is something of a problem, but you can always look into donating copies to libraries. Choosing an ebook publisher with a wide distribution reach would be smart, too. But you probably already know that. =)

    The "success" stories crack me up because it still rolls around to traditional publishing. It always makes me wonder if those authors really meant it about wanting total control of their creative work, because as soon as their sales figures get astronomically good, they snatch up the traditional publishing offers. Not everyone, I'm sure, but it certainly carries a little discussed stigma. Ah well, I'm still in the research stage, after all.

    I'm very curious to know who you've looked at for printing options since I haven't gone very far in that research direction yet.

    Anyway, I'm excited for you. And if you need an extra pair of eyes to try to catch proofreading errors, let me know. It is frustrating to have to face the upfront costs, but I understand why people have to charge for their time. I'm studying up on editing these days, when I'm not writing. It'll eat up more time but I figure it's a good skill to have and will save me hundreds of dollars in the long run.

    1. Joyce! My self pubbing sistah!

      You are correct, I am blessed with knowing many talented and sweet writers, who I am sure will support me in my marketing efforts (as much as it pains me to even ask them!)

      I also did some research on getting libraries to stock your self-published book, and I think there are some specific requirements in order for them to be able to catalog them correctly, or something, but I will definitely look into that further when I'm ready!

      I found a GREAT website that has a ton of information about which platforms to publish, as well as a plethora of other information here is the link and in case you don't see it here, I will PM you or stalk you on your blog :)


      I am probably going to try KDP select for the first 90 days (since it will probably take me that long to format and figure out how to publish across other platforms!), then I will likely branch out.

      We need to exchange e-mails or something, girl! :)

  3. I want a picture of you and your book at B&N. :)

    Blergh, I understand not liking marketing and self-promotion. I'd hate the idea of promoting myself too. But dontcha worry, we'll promote for you so you won't be alone. Love you, lady, and love your guts!!

    1. Thank you Precy! I knew you would feel my self-marketing pain, we are totally soul sisters like that! I

  4. You are the bomb! I'm so excited that you are doing this and I didn't even KNOW because I haven't been following the blogs properly. (Bad me!) Personally, I like the term Independent Publisher (rather than "self-publishing") because we are all cool and indie like that and we don't answer to NO ONE. BTW I read and loved this: http://www.hughhowey.com/luck-and-lottery/

    1. YOU are the bomb!! You are part of my inspiration for self-publishing....er, I mean indie publishing, you know! The truth is, I am not cool and indie like that, I still say things like "hip" and "jive" and "cool fish". Thank you for the link! I am checking it out now. You are the best!