I’m not going to list, discuss or make any judgement about self-publishing – plenty of people have done that; blogs, conference workshops, books, newspaper articles abound. Just enter “self-publishing” in the search box on Google and wait for the flood.
I want to write about the confusion facing a fledgling writer. Me.
I’ve drafted three thrillers set in an alternate reality. Experts have given me feedback, some challenging, some encouraging, always plenty to work on. And now my polishing cloth is well-worn. Agents have given me praise: ‘well-written”, “intelligent”, imaginative”. Authors whom I respect immensely have been rocks of support and encouragement. Beta readers have raved about my work (Read the comments!).
Rejection is a normal part of the path to publishing. I blogged about it here. And any guidance or information gleaned from the process can do nothing but help/guide/refine. But the siren voice of an immensely attractive alternative is getting louder. Both traditionally published and not-yet-published writers are putting their books up on Amazon, Smashwords, etc. and finding success (whatever that is 🙂 ).
But there is so much opinion out there for the relatively inexperienced writer. My friend Talli Roland summed it up neatly in her recent post:
“If we believed all the rhetoric on the web these days, writers wouldn’t know which way to turn. Many seem to be divided into traditional versus self-publishing, each slinging dirt at the other for the decisions they make. But aren’t we all writers, struggling to make a living? Shouldn’t we be celebrating the options now available to us, instead of decrying how naive someone is when they sign with a traditional publisher, or looking down at a writer when they self-publish?”
So here’s the crux: we have so much choice and so much opinion about choice that we find ourselves in the middle of a whirlwind.
Writing a book is hard work, but marketing and selling a book is also hard and is a business. So there’s instant brain-split. Do not think that if you self-publish you can do it all yourself. How do we find a good editor/cover designer/publicist? A traditional agent/publisher mix would do much of the business work for you, but would you be content with a small percentage of the book sale price or does Amazon’s 70% beckon you? Do you yearn to walk into a bookshop and burst with pride as you reach up and touch the book with your name on or do you want into the digital bookshop at a few keystrokes?
One guideline to steer by may be to think why you want to publish your book? Is it working through a story that’s been in your head for years? Is it proving something to yourself or others? Do you want to make your living out of it? Do you have a message for other people? Or is it that you can’t you stop tapping on that damned keyboard?
I’m still out. I’m editing book3 but by the end of the summer, I will stop dithering and make a decision. Are you facing this same dilemma?