Self-Publishing as Submission
Written by
Anna Leahy
October 2011
Written by
Anna Leahy
October 2011

The Submission Mission had an interesting discussion about self-publishing during the September Live Chat. I’m no expert of self-publishing, but here’s a quick follow-up to that conversation. My take-away was that self-publishing looks like an easier route but actually demands that the author put in a lot of time beyond the writing itself.

Perhaps the easiest way to self-publish is to set up a blog. I use, and Lofty Ambitions is a great project for me and my collaborator. We’ve been at it for more than a year, and we’re pretty sure we have a book project emerging from one of the topics we cover. But a collection of blog posts isn’t a book. We’ve all heard stories about how blogs can lead to book deals. In a recent issue of Writer’s Digest Michael Popek, author of Forgotten Bookmarks, says, “When I first started the publishing process, I had more than 500 posts on the website, a good following online, and had caught the eye of some important people.” Even if you post every day, 500 posts means more than a year.

Of course, a blog is really an end in itself as a publishing option because it gets your writing in front of readers. In some ways, it’s easy, and the medium allows for a variety of lengths at no additional cost. A lot of the advice when we got started recommended posting at least once a week so that’s how we began. So I wouldn’t recommend a blog unless you 1) have a niche topic, 2) time to write a post at least once a week (even if you post less often, I’d be leery of committing unless you had that time), and 3) time and energy to promote the blog, including commenting on others’ blogs. Just because it's online doesn't mean readers will happen upon it.

If you’re looking to self-publish a book, I’d recommend based on what I’ve heard from dirtcakes editor Catherine Keefe, who uses this publishing package to produce that literary journal. What I like is that, though they do ebooks, they also allow you to produce a really nice quality, perfect-bound physical book on demand. Being able to choose the binding, page size, and paper quality gives you some control over the price point too.

Of course, Amazon has CreateSpace and the Kindle Store. CreateSpace is an on-demand printing product, and it also supports CDs and DVDs. Kindle is the eBook route for the Kindle reader and for Kindle apps on other mobile devices like the iPad. There are two royalty programs from which to choose so you become your own business manager right away and you become aware that, to make money, you need to promote your book.

She Writes, of course, has information about self-publishing:

“From Self-Published to Book Contract”:

“Is Amazon’s Kindle the Wild West?”:

EPublishing Group:

Print on Demand and E-Publishing News Group:

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