Friday, October 7

Why I Won't Self Publish

I'm not a person who thinks self publishing is a bad idea. I think it could possibly open doors for some really good authors to be discovered. One of my fave books was a self published book that I read over ten years ago called Love and Pain. But is self publishing for me? No. Here's why.

I'm a horrible editor. I can read my own work ten times and every time, I'll find a mistake. I correct them and send the chapter to my cp's and they find more mistakes.

I don't have the time. I work from eight to five, five days a week. Sometimes, the commute from work to home can take an hour and a half. I like to unwind and spend time with hubby. If I self published, it would take way to much of my time. Not only would I have to wirte the story, edit, format it, design or choose a cover, but I'd have to sell it too. I'd rather spend my spare time writing.

I'm not computer savvy. Sure I can check my e-mail, blog, and blab on the social networks. But uploading to kindle or doing a cover? Thinking about it gives me a headache.

I haven't paid my dues. Let's face it. Some of the self pubbed workout there is bad. I think this may be because some authors don't want to take the time to learn their craft. They want to be published and they want it now. I haven't been seriously writing for very long. Just a few years. But there is so much I still have to learn. So, right now, self publishing is not for me.


  1. Quick heads up...getting a book deal is just as much, if not more work as self-publishing.

    I've seen it on both sides.

    Traditional publishing: The deadlines keep you up all night. Plus, until you hit it big, the promo is all on you.

    Self-publishing:You set your own schedule BUT you do all the cover and editing work. And you still do all your promo.

    Frankly the editing and cover bits are not that bad. The tech learning curve is temporary and easily overcome. It's the promo that is killer.


  2. I've done both. Self-publishing is freeing. I work on my own schedule. I'm a damn good editor - started out as an editor - and I'm happier. I can also choose my own covers, which is a huge plus. My covers can reflect what I want them to reflect. I've found wonderful cover artists and techies who are very reasonable and I pay a person to help me with formatting issues. It all works out. Believe me, I spent more time with edits and promo and arranging for my own reviews and blog tours for my books that are with publishing houses.

  3. I think you make a good point, Shawn. You have to *want* to self-publish. Yes, getting a traditional publishing contract can be just as much, if not more, work. For either scenario to work, your whole heart has to be 'in' it. You know what you want, and I think it's great you're going after it.

  4. Michelle, I can handle a deadline. Actually, it would help to makeme a more disciplined writer. I can also handle promo. it's when all that gets throw in with the other work of self publishing.

  5. Hi there Julia. You are so lucky to have that editing experience under your belt. I bet that helps a lot. I'm a lousy editor.

  6. Kristi,thanks for stopping by. And you're right, your heart has to be in it. Mine isn't right now. But maybe someday it will be.

  7. I'm with you, Shawn, and I think Kristi said it for both of us: you have to want to. Good post and good for saying exactly what you mean.

  8. Hi Shawn,

    I'm about to find out what it's like to work with a publisher. And I have at least one book that I think I will be going the self-pub route. I'm the same way with editing. I'm paranoid that the book will be awful and I don't want to lumped into the "garbage" self-pub pile (the authors that just throw bad stuff out there). Thankfully, there are awesome self-pubbed authors out there like Julia R. Barrett who write great stories and keep me coming back for more. And show the rest of us the right way to do it!

  9. Thanks for stopping by, Liz. Casey we're in the same boat. I got picked up by Red Sage and my palms are sweating. I have no idea what to expect.

  10. Indie Pub isn't for everyone and you know yourself best...nothing wrong with identifying something you don't want to do or are not ready for. And if you change your mind, it's an option later. That's the cool thing about the changes in the industry right now (I think). Options. I'm Indie Pub'd and I'm happy with the decision...but you are right, it's a lot of work...

  11. Thanks for stopping by J. You're right. I'm just not ready for it. Yet:)

  12. Shawn~
    I just cannot make up my mind which way to go. I hope I don't mess around too long and miss the boat. Good for you knowing what you want to do.

  13. D'Ann, I think self pubbing will always be an option. You have time to decide.

  14. I get what you're saying. But as others have pointed out you can get the right people to help you. But you do have to be willing to front the costs in paying them. I'm published and looking to self publish my first novella soon. I am very curious to see how it works out. Consider it a grand experiment. ;-) But, I will not stop publishing through small press publishers. I'm with Samhain and I love them. I look at it as diversifying my portfolio.

    Best of luck!

  15. Except for the editing and working 9-5 parts this could be me speaking. I would readily replace these two with fear. Fear of the unknown, failure, it doesn't matter. I have one book sold and the ride is a thrill, but it's tiring and the book isn't even out yet. Being published is hard work no matter what fork an author takes to get there.

  16. After writing for 20 years and being traditionally published for 10, I've jumped into the self-publishing pond with several books that never found a home and a couple that I've received my rights back on. Even after years in the industry I still have the same fears as you, but fear is a good motivator. It makes you work harder not to fail.

    I never thought I'd want to self-publish, but having been burned by two publishing houses I decided with the changes in the indie publishing world that now was the time. Granted it's a lot of extra work and I still agonize over where to put those pesky comas, but I'm finding I love having total control of my career.

  17. Your first three issues could be overcome. It's the last one that's the most valid.

    I came here ready to defend SPing (because I love it), though I also have an agent and love mainstream publishing, too. But now I just want to give you a fist bump for recognizing that you're not ready.

    Good for you. Keep going.

  18. Anyone can self publish. Indie publishing takes work. A serious indie author looks at this like a publishing business because an indie author must do the job of a publishing house.

    I indie publish and my muse screams for time to write new words. I can edit but I can't edit my own stuff because I "know" what is on the page, therefore I don't "see" what is really on the page. This is true for most every author. CP's usually don't have the knowledge to edit. So that means finding an editor. Mine has been editing for years for other publishing houses.

    Covers are doable if you know something about graphics, have a good eye, and a decent piece of software such as PhotoShop. Otherwise go find a cover artist.

    Formatting is a learned skill and it's not simple. If it looks good in PDF on your computer, it still might not look good if someone is reading it on their phone. UGH!

    Then there is that terrible word - marketing. Even when traditionally pubbed, every author is expected to market. The big difference is that most houses either have the outlets, or the reputation, and a following. It makes it easier for those authors.

    Indie is an option! Most every retailer allows the reader to read a sample of the work. I suggest that every reader take advantage of it. It's the only way to decide if you want to take a chance on a new author. It doesn't matter if they are indie pubbed or not. How many times have you stood in a store and read the first three pages? Do the same thing with an e-book.

    We all have options as authors and as readers. Indie pubbing is a new option for authors. It's opening the doors for many. We no longer have the big and not so big houses telling us what we want to read or what we can write.

    I'm indie-pubbed. I'm the publisher and it's my duty to my readers to put out a quality product. I'm not putting up a back list of previously published works with titles and covers that have been changed. I pay a REAL editor. I can do my own covers and I do them for other indies. I'm still not comfortable formatting, but I do it. It's not easy, and it's not for everyone.
    E. Ayers