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Self-publishing no longer a second-rate choice for desperate

19 January 2013

Marty Mokler Banks writes in the Colorado Springs Gazette:

On a recent Sunday morning, I sat at the computer, finger poised above the mouse. With both fear and excitement, I clicked “Publish.” Within minutes, my children’s chapter book, “The Adventures of Tempest & Serena,” was self-published and available in paperback and e-book at online retailers, bookstores, schools and libraries everywhere.

Ten years ago, I never would have clicked that button.

. . . .

When the economy tanked a few years ago, traditional publishing was hit hard. Opportunities for authors dried up.

Conversely, improved technology brought free self-publishing tools. Professional services, such as cover design, could be added for reasonable costs. Self-publishing houses such as CreateSpace and Smashwords became major players. By the end of 2012, Smashwords alone carried more than 190,000 titles — nearly double the titles it carried in 2011.

. . . .

For me, the jury’s still out. My two previous books, launched by traditional publishers, were an easier process. The self-published book took a lot of time away from writing, and although it has received good reviews, so far only moderate sales. And yet, on a free promotional weekend, the book was downloaded by almost 11,000 people, which pushed it to No. 1 on one of Amazon’s children’s books lists.

That’s humbling.

So when someone asks if I self-published, I look them right in the eye and say, “Yes, yes I did.”

Link to the rest at the Colorado Springs Gazette

Read the entire article for several nice author/publisher success stories.

-Posted by Bridget McKenna

Uncategorized

11 Comments to “Self-publishing no longer a second-rate choice for desperate”

  1. Sooo…now it’s a first-rate choice for the desperate?

  2. There’s a difference between self-publishing a book and being a self-publishing writer. The latter requires consistent output over time, and a slow build toward steady income. Thus, it is still a second-rate choice for the desperate unless that desperation is turned into discipline and production.

    • A writer is someone who writes. An author is someone who has written.

      One of the fringe benefits of indiepub is that it seems somewhat more likely than tradpub to turn authors back into writers, as opposed to tradpub’s habit of turning writers into authors.

  3. I wouldn’t criticise someone for putting their toe in the water. It was clearly a big step for this writer and I wish her well.

    Where she goes from here is totally up to her, whether she embraces self publishing as a career or merely continues to dip in a few toes. It’s up to her and it’s great that she now has that freedom.

    • Good clarification. I wasn’t out to criticize the writer for this first effort. Glad to see it. More a riff on “the jury is still out” comment. I see unrealistic expectations over one book too many times. It’s a comment for the general community.

  4. So when someone asks if I self-published, I look them right in the eye and say, “Yes, yes I did.”

    I take that statement as a step forward for one person. Because I know how much flack one can get when we push the button and take that big plunge into the icy water of DIY publishing.

    I remember having to make a phone call to a supportive person while I held my mouse over that button, wondering if I might be making a terrible mistake and throwing away my manuscript.

    It was 2010. There was a whole lot more push-back at that time. While I wasn’t desparate, I knew that if I DIDN’T try I was going to kick myself for the rest of my life.

    The economy had tanked, I was laid off. I’d had enough time to polish, edit, polish, copy edit and market the book to agents and publishers. I knew the economy wasn’t done sinking and e-books could take another 20% of the market without any trouble.

    So much has changed from 2010 – I’m more glad than ever that I went DIY. The book has paid for itself, a second book, some short stories and I’m working on e-book #3.

    This is the most successful risk I’ve ever taken. :)

    • K.A.

      You said:

      “I take that statement as a step forward for one person. Because I know how much flack one can get when we push the button and take that big plunge into the icy water of DIY publishing.”

      Nicely said. That’s how I took it. There’s courage here, and I applaud it!

  5. So when someone asks if I self-published, I look them right in the eye and say, “Yes, yes I did.”

    When that becomes, “Of course.” with a properly puzzled expression, followed by “Doesn’t everyone?” we will be done with the process.

    It may be a while yet, but I certainly expect it in less than 5 more years. Ie, when I’m ready to publish.

    • Abe, I long for that day! I’m a self-published author taking an MA in creative writing, and the tutor’s attitude is still ‘you’ll need to do this or that ready for when you submit to agents’, as if that’s a total given and there are no alternatives. I want to scream ‘Yes, if you want to put your talent and your potential in the hands of someone else.’

      It would be nice to see professional indie publishing at least presented as an equally viable opportunity to new, talented writers. But I won’t hold my breath.

  6. Again… *sigh*

    You can’t judge self-pub based on the success of one self-pubbed book, especially a children’s book.

  7. I have a huge problem with this:

    (I clicked “Publish.” Within minutes, my children’s chapter book, “The Adventures of Tempest & Serena,” was self-published and available in paperback and e-book at online retailers, bookstores, schools and libraries everywhere.)

    That’s not how it works. She makes it sound as if, with the click of a button, POOF! Your self-published title magically appears in bookstores, schools, and libraries all across the globe.

    Um, no. First, it takes more than one click to get it channeled to all the online retailers. Second, the book may be AVAILABLE to be purchased by schools, libraries, and bookstores, but there’s no portal that shoots them there. To get your book even noticed by those institutions requires a LOT of leg work and good old-fashioned pimping.

    The process is simple enough, no need to over-simplify it. It’s misleading.

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