Friday, February 7, 2014

What Do You Really Think About Self-Publishing?

A few years ago, I belonged to a local writers group. I’d just completed my first novel a few months prior and knew little nothing about the publishing process. The group was a mix of fiction and non-fiction writers, with a few writers who had self-published, a few writers who were in the midst of working on a novel, and a few folks who were just thinking about writing some day. There was one author who had recently signed with a moderate-sized independent publisher after self-publishing four books. When the group leader asked him about self-publishing, he said, “Self-publishing is the only viable option for everyone sitting in this room.”

Well, I immediately disagreed. Not out loud, of course. “Self-publish? No way would I even consider self-publishing. This guy doesn’t get it. My book is good. I’m going to land an agent and get a big huge publishing contract and possibly a movie deal.”

For me, self-publishing wasn’t a last resort–it wasn’t even a possibility. As many of you know, I have self-published two books. How did I go from “hell no, it’s not going to happen” to pushing that “publish” button on KDP? Well, the journey wasn’t easy.

When I finished my first book, I had crazy starry-eyed dreams of agents and movie deals. When I thought about self-publishing, I conjured up the image of some crazy woman selling poorly printed memoirs out of her garage. There are some people (authors and readers) who still view self-publishing this way. Admittedly, there are some books out there that “give publishing a bad name.” But to be quite honest, the main reason I changed my opinion about self-publishing and the authors who choose to publish their own books is because I’ve seen some exceptional books out there that are every bit as good (or better) than some of the books the Big Publishers are cranking out.

Obviously, my opinion about self-publishing has changed over the years. I think there’s been an overall shift in the way the publishing industry looks at self-publishing. I’ve heard of authors who have decided to ditch their traditional publisher in favor of going it alone. There are some authors out there who immediately choose the self-publishing route because they like the freedom of having creative control. There are other authors who wouldn’t rather leave their manuscript sitting in a drawer for all eternity than even consider self-publishing. And, that’s fine. Every author is different. Every book is different. We all have different goals. But, self-publishing is NOT a bad thing. It took me a while to figure that out.

I’d really like to hear from authors and readers out there. How do you feel about self-publishing? Do you think there’s still a bias against those who choose to take this route? Have you self-published a book, or have you considered doing so? What are some of the negative and positive things you’ve heard about self-publishing?

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