One more thing about self-publishing

I’m working very hard on finishing book 2 of the Hearts trilogy, so excuse the lack of science posts. This series is fantasy, so I don’t have much reason to search for interesting science material. I read it, anyway, but not in a way that forms the basis for a coherent blog post, but that aside.

Also aside, you may like to read the interview I did on Jodi Cleghorn’s blog. Jodi is a great editor/publisher in Brisbane, and she recently won the Aurealis Award for her cumulative work.

OK, so, self-publishing.

When it becomes apparent that I have self-published some work, some fellow authors automatically assume that OMG, yes, I soooo agree that big publishing reallllyyy sucks and that they’re eeeeebil and out to get you, and they’ll screw you sideways if they get half a chance, and we must all be warriors for the independent soul–

Meh. Seriously. Why should I think that? In my bio, you can see that I’ve published traditionally, and will continue to do so. There are enormous advantages to having your work published in well-regarded venues or by known publishers.

I have self-published two of the five novels I’ve written. Another will go up soon. That leaves a number of works still on the traditional market, including some novels not quite finished but approaching readiness. The novels I’ve self-published are available as ebooks because: 1. I think it’s fun, 2. I think they suit the ebook market better than the other novels, 3. Mainly because I think having stuff out there is fun, and I have other material that I will continue to send to publishers, as I will with most of my short stories. Yes, I know I have repeated myself here. I just wanted to make the point that it’s got to be fun, and there’s no point doing it otherwise.

I don’t hate big publishing. I don’t think they’re evil. I can’t see why the need for the division between doing one or the other. The only thing I’m saying about having those novels out there is that I want to keep the e-rights to those books. If someone (anyone I trust, any business size) comes along and wants the print rights, fine.

Why lock yourself out of half of the possibilities to make a sale?

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12 comments on “One more thing about self-publishing

    • I really dislike that antagonistic dichotomy. There is no reason for it and no point to it. There is no enemy and no one is out to get you.

  1. Careful or you ill be burn’t at the stake on a pyre made from those evil paper books that “Big Publishing” makes 😀

    Seriously though people seem to think that it’s
    Step 1 Write book
    Step 2 Self publish
    Step 3 Lots of profit

    • heh, yeah. And then they’re surprised that it doesn’t work like that, or that someone gives them a 1-star review.

    • What sort of advice? Everyone’s process is different, so someone can only talk about what works for them, unless they’re talking about grammar and style.

  2. The sort of advice where people of limited experience and success try to establish themselves as experts on e-publishing(to pick something), because they have followed Joe Konrath for a while.

    I like your style because a) you know what you are talking about b) you just lay out you decisions and don’t market your opinion.

    • My opinion is worth squat anyway 😉

      I guess my feeling goes against groupthink for the sake of it. I must be the most fashion-unconscious person in the world. Never was much good in a corporate environment either. I don’t swallow the party line.

  3. I agree Patty, in principle. But you are in the enviable position of already having some work traditionally published. I would be thrilled if a major, or even middle, publisher accepted my work. Realistically, the odds are against me. So if I want people to able to find and enjoy my offerings it looks like e-publishing is the only viable option. But my editor loves my latest book so much I am still tempted to try the traditional routes. Decisions, decisions.

    • It’s always worth trying. There is no point in writing off an avenue of publishing entirely. The other thing is that you can use your submissions as a yardstick. If you’re getting regular requests and near-misses, it’s a sign that your work passes a certain standard and is not going to embarrass you later if you decide to self-publish.

  4. You know me – I was mad enough to self-pub three books from 2001-2003 because several publishers told me I was writing for a niche to small to bother with. Maybe they were right, but that was my series and I wasn’t about to write anything to suit the vagaries of the market.

    In the end they came knocking and I put out four books with a trade publisher. Great times, learned a lot, gathered a lot of contacts in the industry.

    Now, in 2011, I submitted the first book of my new series to a bunch of publishers, then had a change of heart two months later and pulled all the subs. I’m going ahead with self-pub using the same cover artist I referred to my publisher for my earlier books, plus a professional editor to ensure everything is polished up and ready to go. (I write clean prose anyway, and I’m pretty good with plot holes and characters. Everyone needs a second opinion and the occasional kick in the pants though.)

    I’m super-charged right now, getting up before 6 most days and still plotting and planning at midnight. Loving every second of it, and when the editing is done in a week or so, and I get the cover art & jacket … instead of waiting 8 months I can get my first copies within two weeks. The printing company can scale from 1 copy at a time to hundreds of thousands, and they have thirty+ trade distributors around the world. (All the biggest, from the look of it.)

    There isn’t a corner of the planet I can’t reach, my books will never go out of print and I only have to sell 1/4 of the number of copies to earn the same income. Who wouldn’t be excited?

    • Your success in your venture with Hal Spacejock is an inspiration.

      I guess I should really get off my backside and produce a print version of my MG book, but this takes a lot of effort. It will probably get done some time in the future. You’re right in that MG SF is virtually non-existent. Publishers say they want it, and then they don’t. Seems they’re not really sure how to market it, or nervous about it, or something. I don’t know.

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