Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Breaking News: Self-Pubbing Is Nothing To Be Ashamed Of

I got a Kindle a few months ago. I knew I'd love it, but never expected to fall so hard for it. I love buying good books for cheap and then buying more. There's something inherently American about that, isn't there? Finding a good deal and a good author, all in one fell swoop.

This is what self-pubbing is all about.

Two of my current faves, Kendall Grey and J.L. Bryan, fit this category to a T. If you're anywhere near twitter and plug "indie author" into the search criteria, undoubtedly you've run across them. They're prolific tweeters. I love their brand of writing: incredibly copious attention paid to details and motivations, a mastery of the language, and a great sense of humor.

Alas, if we play the odds, these good writers probably wouldn't have been published by legacy publishers. Maybe they would've, who knows? But odds are, no. They write in genres that are packed with other writers (dystopian young adult/speculative/urban fiction), and they're relatively new authors. Without the kindle and self-publishing, I never would've found them. Or rather, they never would've found me.

Which leads me to my premise: there is absolutely, positively nothing wrong with self-pubbing.

I know, I know. Your mother hates the idea. Aunt Suzy says you didn't pay all that money for college just to publish drivel. Shakespeare is rolling over in his grave. Whatever. Listen, you've got to get yours. You've put a TON of effort into your writing. You've sacrificed sleep and time with your loved ones. You write on the bus and subway when every normal human being is trying to catch a few extra Z's. You've missed all of Season 15 of The Bachelor. And all just so you could put in the extra effort necessary to make your WIP perfect. Now, it's time to reap the rewards.

And I don't mean reap in the sense that you only make 17% on the sales of your book and don't get to choose your cover art.

Um, no.

What I mean is you need to self-pub. Just so you know where I'm coming from, I'm insane. It's taken me almost two years to get to the point where I'm almost done with my first draft! OK? So I'm assuming it'll take me at least another year of editing to get it to the point of where I won't be embarrassing my family's good name by releasing it in book form.

I want to be rewarded for this Hurculean effort. This is only logical.

Even if it only takes you 10 minutes to write a novel, I still say self-pub unless you get some massive advance from a publisher. Just do it. And then use social media wisely (don't tell me about every time you get a drink of water, in other words) and work hard to sell books. This is the advice I'm giving myself, too, by the way. Because we're all in this together.


  1. Wow, how awesome of you to mention me in your blog, Chris. I'm truly humbled. Thanks so much!

    I'm glad you've taken plenty time to finish the first draft of your novel. I think too many people speed through drafting, rush (or totally skip) revisions, and then think their book is ready to be published. NO. I've spent 3.5 years on my first book. It's still not perfect, and it will never be. I'm in the final stages of self-publication (as in, just got my second print copy proof yesterday), and I'm STILL finding stuff to change.

    If you (the collective "You," not singling out Chris!) want to self-publish correctly (and profitably), you cannot cut corners. In fact, you have to work even harder than traditionally published authors do because EVERYTHING falls on your shoulders. Drafting, editing, budgeting, scheduling, book covers, web site, marketing, formatting, social networking, blog tours, keeping books...these are just the tip of the iceberg. It's unbelievable how much time, money, and WORK you must put in to be successful. And even then, there's no guarantee for success.

    To anyone considering self-pubbing: PLEASE investigate the cost and time required before you jump off the deep end. Too many people schlep stuff together, put it out there in less than perfect condition, and give the rest of us who work our BUTTS off a bad name. And in the name of all that is holy, at the VERY least, pay a qualified, professional editor and cover designer. Those two things are bare minimum requirements.

    Sorry, had to get on my high horse there, Chris. I'm stepping down now. :-) I wish you the best on your journey to publication - whichever way you go. Holler if you need any advice. As you can see, I have plenty of opinions to share. Hahaha!

  2. Amen brother! You are so right, and all that hard work will pay off eventually. I guess Konrath's blog didn't just inspire me to speak out today. Love it.

  3. Yeah, he said what needed to be said, and so did you on your Facebook post. I've been feeling torn lately about going the traditional route. A friend of mine who translates books for Penguin recently told me, "No no no! Do NOT self-publish! It'll be a flag against you when publishers see that." His words made me stop and think for a minute. But what it comes down to is this: I'm tired of handing my fate over to others to decide. We all need to band together into a collective like indie video game developers do and try to make our way, whether that be as an official group of indies or as a loosely-affiliated group of folks who encourage each other. Anyway, thanks for your comments!

  4. Wow, what great comments! Thanks so much for sharing your wisdom here. I totally agree with you on each and every count. I'm no book-making factory: I want my readers to have an amazing journey when they read my (as-yet-unpublished) books, not see them as some sort of after dinner mint. It definitely takes years and years to make something you're proud of, and I think it's awesome that you've dedicated so much time and effort to the cause. I'm definitely going to buy your book as soon as it hits the (virtual) shelves. Am still in the middle of reading your City of Hell story (I haven't had much free time lately to read), and really, really like it. Keep writing! And thanks again for stopping by.

  5. A good piece Chris and great comments as well. I am so grateful to the agents and publishers who said no to my book Telesa Because I really am loving the self-pub journey that I'm on right now. Yes, it would be a mistake for anyone to assume that Self-pub is easy, or cheap or a quickie way to 'make a buck.' Its exhausting hard work from start to finish..only there's never really a finishing point. Even when the book has been written/edited/formatted/cover designed/launched/promoted...there is still ever more work to do getting it out there. But, I wouldnt have it any other way. The journey is all mine. The financial returns, the decisions to make with everything from cover to trailer to the wording for a press release - everything is up to me. And for a control freak, thats heavenly! LOL I own my mistakes and my successes.I recently won a writing competition with the prize being to have your submitted work published by a "REAL" publisher. The process is driving me nuts. 'REAL publishing takes forever and most of the promo stuff they do for you? I already do for myself. And the measly percentage of every book sold that i will eventually get? Barely worth the hassle. Because my first book is in bookshops, I've been able to slowly get my self-pubbed book into bookstores here in the Pacific so I feel like Im able to get the best of both worlds. I'm a self-published believer and I look forward to your book when you make the final leap and put it out there!

  6. Thanks for your comment, Lani! Sorry I'm so tardy in responding. Congratulations on winning the competition, that's great! Yeah, I've heard the publication process is hard with "real" publishers. I like the idea of working on my own schedule and making more money doing it my self-pubbing way. Well, we'll see. Part of me thinks that when I get the book into a readable format, I may test the waters and see if I can get it published traditionally. We'll see. Anyway, thanks for your comment and your encouragement! I'm not a huge romance fan, but I'll definitely check out your book. Who knows, you might convert me! Is it available for the Kindle?

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