If all goes well, I will shortly be blogging about self-publishing vs. traditional publishing for a big big big media site. I need your questions.
1. Qualms, comments, or concerns about choosing self-publishing over the traditional route? Or vice-versa.
I'm here on SheWrites. You can also contact me at my blog, About Childhood: allehall.wordpress.com
Please let me know when this happens. I would love to follow!
Certainly, Marilyn. Although i have to say, the easiest way to know would be to subscribe to my blog:
Sorry for the commercial. I on;y blog once or twice a week, and I won't sell your number to AT&T.
Thanks for your thumbs' up!
1. My greatest concern about choosing self-publishing over traditional publishing is credibility. I used a POD (Print-on-Demand) publisher, so I guess I'm considered more of an indie-published author than a self-published author. I've recently found that there are many people who split hairs like that. That said, I find that self-publishing is still overcoming its association with poor writing, and that can be scary. I know that I'm a good writer, and although my first effort, The Other Side of 30, was decidedly imperfect, mostly due to self-imposed deadlines, my work is as good as many of those who've published traditionally; but I never managed to get represented by an agent or traditional publisher. Finally, someone suggested that I stopped waiting around for someone else to do for me that I could do for myself; and so I did...after 10 years and several dozen rejections. Another of my qualms is that there are many who participate on forums just like this one who still look down their noses at people who self-publish, many unaware that there are some very good writers out there who self-publish.
2. As for successes, I believe that my good fortune to land in my university bookstore, UT Chattanooga, and to be invited into the bookstore of one of our sister universities, is a step in the right direction. It seems that many self-published/indie-published authors struggle with getting into the brick-and-mortar stores, so to be accepted into even such small stores was very encouraging. And my cousin just created a little buzz at a local Barnes & Noble store when he ordered a copy last night. That was pretty cool.
My book has enjoyed moderate success, and mostly warm reviews. In fact, the only negatively tinged review was from a reviewer who disapproved of the subject matter, but didn't seem to have any issue with the quality of writing. I hope that once my book is revised and re-released as a 2nd Edition, it will find greater success and a wider audience.
I've also found the nerve to start self-publishing more of my own work, and to launch my own publishing company. Had I not self-published, then I might not have had the nerve to ever take these steps. I would have still been waiting around on someone else to tell me that I'm good enough. In a way, I'm glad that I decided to publish when I did, because the opportunities and resources to do a good job of it are much more plentiful than they were 10 or so years ago.
3. The only regret I have for self-publishing my first book is that I rushed through the process. Because of an emotionally-driven decision to publish on a certain date, I neglected some areas. I could have gotten a better cover, and I should have had at least one more editing pass before going to press. I found a few too many careless typos, which is a part of what hurts the credibility of those of us who self-publish. Self-published authors have got to be diligent when it comes to editing.
what a beautiful reply, regina. Thank you for your honesty. It sounds like you have the resiliency to overcome the hurdles the writing life throws our way. I will definitely use some of your information on my blog - and I'll let you know when it goes up.
You brought up something I hadn't heard of. Could you expound on the below?
"I used a POD (Print-on-Demand) publisher, so I guess I'm considered more of an indie-published author than a self-published author. I've recently found that there are many people who split hairs like that."
Thanks again for your time,
When I first started looking into self-publishing, I had a circle of friends who were doing the same thing with their books. Several of them took the time to point out that using a print-on-demand publishing service, such as iUniverse, Xlibris, Lulu, etc., were not the same as publishing one's own book. They were very literal about it. They particularly pointed out that the publishing services took a large cut of what would be royalties from the sales, and that most of them issued your ISBNs, and your book is published under their names, and not your own publishing company. If that's the case, "Then, you're not self-published. You're independently published; but someone else is still your publisher. You just paid them to do all the work." I found that it means a lot to some people to say that they are pure self-published authors. Me, not so much.
It didn't matter much to me about the publishing company's name on the inside of the book, the royalties (since I'm donating 90% of mine to charity for that project), or ISBN ownership. I just needed someone reliable and reputable to put my book into print and make it a quality reality, and I was willing to pay for it.
I didn't want to spend time (on my first book) figuring out how to reach out the printers and do formatting and all of that stuff that seemed to be involved with pure self-publishing. I did tons of research and comparisons, and selected a POD publisher called Booklocker. I was more than pleased with the results. The experience has been all good. I'm guessing that some authors' experiences with POD publishers might not have been not as good as mine, and so that could be another reason why they split hairs.
Now that my first project is out of the chute, I feel more informed and confident that I can do it for myself and for others. My publishing company will be very small scale, but I'm excited about it. It's called New Renaissance Ink. It's an LLC right now, but maybe I'll change it to a non-profit in the near future.
Thanks again, Regina. Your answers are wonderfully complete. I will be sure to credit you - and also mention New Renaissance, your existing book, and any future titles you wish to plug.
If I may continue to tax your time:
1. Why a non-profit?
2. "I found that it means a lot to some people to say that they are pure self-published authors." Interesting to me in conjunction with what you wrote earlier about credibility. Did anyone clarify why being purely self-published is preferable to P.O.D.?
I loved "out of the chute." That's how I refer to my children being born. And the comparison is true: your book is like your baby - right down to the keeping you up at night.
Thanks very much. And thanks for asking. :)
1. I found myself thinking about being a non-profit publishing house because I'd like to explore the possibility of raising funds to support community-driven and/or socially relevant projects. I don't know enough about it yet, but I'm hoping that not only will people respond positively to organizations like New Renaissance Ink that support worthy causes, but also that they may even donate funds toward that end.
I'm in a very fortunate position to have a full-time job, and so I don't need to turn a profit for myself. Once I retire in a couple of years, I'll be pursuing a second career that also pays me full-time. Publishing is a separate dream, not driven by money, thank goodness. My primary goal is to put out good quality works and promote new authors and artists. Whatever money that is made from the sale of books can go right back into keeping the business running and to author royalties, which I'll be able to offer higher than average. Someone suggested becoming a non-profit when I was deployed and just launching the business, and I thought it seems to be such a cool idea.
2. While I'm not sure why being able to call oneself "self-published" is particularly preferable to some authors, but it's just a vibe I get from people who are so quick to point out the distinction. Maybe it's the satisfaction they get from being able to say, "I did it all myself, and nobody 'helped' me. So there." I think that for the average reader, the amount of credibility they give to an author will be based on the quality of the work, not the process of how the author got it published.
And ditto on the baby reference. Since I don't have any of my own yet. :)
I'd like to add that I have several friends who have either self-published or gone the POD route. One woman started out with traditional publishers and now doesn't want to deal with them anymore. She sells about 50-60 books a day through e-publishers. She recommends people get her foot in the door with a traditional publisher and build up an audience.
As a reader, I have yet to find a self-published book from a novice writer that is as well written as a traditionally published book. Not only because of grammatical errors (even traditionally published books occasionally contain some errors), but voice, conflict, and plot aren't strong enough to keep my interest. A professional editor makes all the difference. That is my biggest qualm when it comes to traditional vs. self-publishing. An editor will help the writer turn up the volume on their novel. What might be good can become great. Editors at major publishing houses understand literature. It's their lives. They eat, breath, and drink it. In my opinion, writers can only go so far on their own. And there may be several exceptional books out there self-published by strong writers. I just haven't found them yet.
I totally agree about the benefit of accomplished editing. But a self-published or POD author can hire the same thing done from a professional editor. And they definitely should do that. Not all the great editors work for the traditional publishing houses! I'll bet there are quite a few right here in the ranks of SheWrites!
Hi Alle - any and all info! I'll subscribe to your site.
I can echo much of what Regina said. I'm an indie-published author, thanks for clarifying that! What I can add to the discussion, K.L. Gore, is that not all editors are worth the hard earned money we pay them. I found it very difficult to find one as a novice author.
Hi Serena - Did you end up finding a good one? Was it just luck or did you find a good resource?