Life, Publishing, Querying, Uncategorized

5 Reasons Why I THINK Self-Publishing Might Be For Me

printing press unsplash Marco Djallo
Image courtesy of Marco Djallo, via Unsplash.com

I’ve got to make a decision.

Any of you who’ve read through the ramblings on my Publishing Progress tab know that I sent in several queries to literary agents in the last year.

No, I haven’t had any takers. I also haven’t sent any new queries out for several months.

I’ve been standing at  fork in the road, debating.

Behind the massive “Do Not Enter Without An Agent” sign on the gate, the traditional publishing path beckons with a wide, clearly marked route. Along the way, I see experts, waiting to give advice. I see numerous markets just waiting for me to explore. Look! Down there, is that some money to finance the journey? And, of course, I’d get the nifty “Chosen By A Professional Publisher” t-shirt. From this side of the gate, it looks like a good option.

It’s difficult to see very far down the self-publishing path. It’s not gated like the other, but it twists and turns, and I can see it branching off into side paths just ahead. I’m told that some of these have wonderful professionals to work with. Of course, those are mostly toll roads…

While both paths have their pros and cons, the longer I stand and stare, the more I feel pulled by the winding, intriguing path of self-publishing.

Choosing MY Priorities

I decided I wanted to be a teacher when I was 7. I still love it. As exciting as the idea of publishing a book is, perhaps I’m a bit greedy- I want to do both. And as my kids grow my working hours likely will too.

Word is that not all publishers/agents/editors are sympathetic to the fact that writers have outside lives. (Not that I can really blame them- after all, I imagine that they’re just trying to make ends meet like the rest of us.)

I’m not afraid of hard work, but I like to be able to set my own priorities and time lines, especially as I juggle teaching, parenting, and everything else.

Creative Control

I suppose we all love our own stories, sometimes blindly. Constructive criticism from great beta readers, careful editing, and fresh eyes to spot plot holes are essential to a well-polished story.

However, even working without a publisher, I’ve already found people willing to help me in these area. I get the benefit of choosing who I work with, and the final word on what stays and goes in the story.

Choosing the Cover

Does anyone else worry about winding up with the wrong book cover? The one that just doesn’t fit their story?

For instance, there are many very well-done covers with a pretty woman or chesty man (often with a button or three undone) gazing. Just what they’re gazing at varies- it might be at each other, at the horizon, or at the reader. (Those last are the ones I cover with another book before I go to sleep.) Again, some of these covers are lovely. I just don’t see my characters as the “gazing” type.

In any case, even if I change my mind, if I self-publish, I have the final word!

Setting My Own Pace

Looking at where things stand right now, I’d like to try to release my book on June 4th. (It’s the day during the Second World War that Rome fell to the Allies, and that figures into the book. I like my history connections. 🙂 )

Will it happen?

I hope so, but in the end, if I self-publish and it doesn’t, I’m the only one affected. If we end up with another house or family emergency, if someone I work with misses a deadline, if one of a thousand things that can go wrong does, I can adapt without having to inconvenience or work around anyone else.

It’s Not Necessarily Forever

So, what if I try self-publishing and hate it? Or what if I like it, but want to revisit traditional publishing?

I can always revisit traditional publishing with future books. From what I’ve read on querying, having previously published can actually help get an agent’s attention. (Of course, some of that depends on how well the book does. )

In any case, my feet are pointed down that winding path, ready to take those first steps….

 

What do you think? Especially those of you who’ve published and automatically know MUCH more about this than I do-  have you any thoughts on paths to publication, pros and cons of different routes? I’d love to hear them!

Many thanks for visiting!

24 thoughts on “5 Reasons Why I THINK Self-Publishing Might Be For Me”

  1. You have total control of your manuscript and your time if you self-publish. Even if you get an agent, there is still a chance your book will never be published. The advance I read for unpublished author is very minimal and the royalty is much bigger doing self-publishing. Being traditionally published does not release you from doing the marketing for your book. Nowadays, they don’t do much for you unless you are a celebrity. They also want you to have a big social media presence and huge followers. Self-publishing is now gaining momentum and some of the traditional published author are self-publishing now. Just remember some of the classic book authors started as a self-published authors.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. You can wait indefinitely or you can self-publish. You can market the poop out of it if you want, you are in control. You may not get the audience you want or deserve without a publisher’s assistance but is there any rule to say that a self-published book couldn’t be picked up by a publisher, large or small, at a later time? I don’t know — maybe a title change or something? I’d set a deadline (I love deadlines) and if you don’t have traction by then, move on independently. That or attend a writer’s conference where you might be picked up by an agent to rep you. (if you can afford it — they aren’t cheap!)

    Liked by 2 people

    1. These are great ideas- thanks! Yes, I’ve looked at conferences, but the price tag is a bit much ( I think it would be different if I were a bit younger or older and didn’t have little mouths to feed still and was looking to really launch a new “business. 🙂 )

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Anne – seems like you have your answers here – which you’ve already mooted … good luck with the Fall of Rome – when the Allies took it back … deadline date of 4 June … good luck with planning and working towards it … enjoy teaching this term … take care and cheers – Hilary

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Hilary! I’m…hoping I have things figured out sufficiently to move forward, or in some direction anyway lol! Uf, I forgot how TIRED teaching makes me. It’s good, but it’s going to take some strong coffee to get the house back to clean this weekend! You take care too 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Cleaning house – yugh! But a necessity … get going early and ‘kill it off’ til next week .. but glad you’ve worked things out for moving on with the book … enjoy the cleaning … maybe I shouldn’t say that!! Cheers Hilary

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Thanks for sharing, Anne. After some thirty years of being traditionally published, I’m also considering taking the “self” route for a WIP project. On the other hand, have you considered small presses? There a several/many who don’t require submission through an agent. I have a couple in mind if you’d care to give this more thought. Good luck!
    –Michael

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much Michael, and yes, if you have smaller presses in mind, please, feel free to share! I appreciate it. I’m open to considering options- my only real hesitation is that I have a couple of friends who’ve gone through smaller publishers and had…not bad experiences, but definitely mixed results.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. You’ll figure out the best route. I love your publication date idea, and with your kind of timeline you do have several months to deal with contingencies. Prepare as you can, and if things fall into place–YAY! If they fall apart–there’s no need to rush. 🙂 xxxxxxx

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I have self published a trilogy this year as you know – and I’ve a book coming out with a small press in 2019. You are right – you have far more control over the cover and blurb when you are doing it yourself and given I made a complete mess with my first one and have had two other attempts before getting one that persuades people to buy the book, it really makes a difference.

    As for the marketing, there are a number of decisions to make – but I have found that I have needed to invest in some Amazon ads to give my self published book a helping hand… It’s not a fortune and overall I’ve come out with a profit, but there are so many books out there, I haven’t managed to make any inroads without those ads… Which is also a consideration.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s tricky- having the market open to self-publishing allows so much freedom, but there are SO many books, that it seems like standing out is a daunting task.
      Your new covers look fabulous, though, and here’s hoping the ads start being more productive!
      Is the small press book part of the same series, or something new? I’d be interested to hear how the 2 publishing experiences compare!
      (Side note, I’ve tried DMing you on Twitter, but it doesn’t seem to want to let me. Any thoughts?)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you for your kind words about the covers:). The ads are doing alright – I stupidly stopped them when they were doing very well in the mistaken belief that I no longer needed them – I was wrong! And no… the book that Grimbold scooped up is completely different. It is set in post-apocalyptic Maine where citizens have to be fitted with a neural net… Drop me a line – my email is sjhigbee@hotmail.co.uk.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. If you’re a teacher-author, you might stick a toe into self-pub through Teachers Pay Teachers. You still do all the glorious writing and perfecting and a good deal of the marketing but TpT’s marketplace is professional and well-visited. They do all the money collection and distribution too.

    Of course, it’s non-fiction. If you’d like to see a store, here’s mine:
    https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Ask-A-Tech-Teacher

    Let me know if you go that route!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Anne, you sound like a wise woman who knows what she wants. I went indie for the same reasons you listed. I want a life outside of writing. And after being diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Disease, I knew I would have to slow down. I have good days and bad days. On the bad days, I flip letters, forget grammar rules, and struggle with completing an idea.

    Like you said, you don’t have to choose one. Hybrid authors are becoming popular. Who knows, I may be a hybrid one day. The beautiful part is we get to choose. Whatever route you take, don’t forget to enjoy the journey. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much for your kind words Gail! Wise- I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to claim that title, but I’m trying to move forward with my eyes open, lol 😀 I’m sorry to hear that you’ve had these health struggles, but I think it’s wonderful that you’ve found a way to work within them. We’ll see where the journey takes us, won’t we?!

      Like

      1. Thank you. These health struggles have given me the chance to slow down. They are a blessing in disguise. ☺ It’s a wonderful “write” journey littered with problems along the way. But we’ll worth the ride. Have fun, Anne and trust your judgement! You’ll do fine, my friend. Have a great weekend!

        Liked by 1 person

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