The choice to self publish

The dream for me had always been to be picked up by a big publishing company in the future of my writing career. I knew that would not happen right away and self publishing some books would almost be like building up a resume. I could grow my own fan base, I would be showing that I’m not just a one hit wonder, and I would show that I have the passion and commitment to continue on for many more years. 

 

There’s definitely stress and frustration that comes with putting a book together but I do love having control over every decision and making my collection EXACTLY how I want it. As I’ve never been traditionally published, I don’t know when the hand off happens exactly. But I’m sure there’s Cover Designers and Illustrators that can give your collection a complete makeover – a makeover you may not want. You can be included in the conversation but how could you disagree with the professionals if you didn’t like the design?

 

A big plus of signing with a traditional company is the marketing resources that can be dedicated to getting your book to consumers’ hands. When you self publish all the marketing and promoting falls on you. The thing is I’ve seen some collections that were published by traditional companies but barely have 50 reviews on Amazon. I know reviews don’t equal sales but one of the big 5 publishing houses should have enough resources to ensure their books are being promoted well. 

 

Traditional publishing companies have been in the industry for a long time, they have a lot of connections, and they know all the ins and outs to get your book in front of the right people. But will they use that knowledge on you, that’s no guarantee as this recent thread on Twitter speaks to. 

 

After publishing my first two collections, I’ve learned I want control of all creative decisions and I want as much promotional help as possible, it seems there are plenty of examples in the industry that traditional companies don’t help me with either of those things. 

 

Being picked up by a publishing company could be the greatest thing to ever happen to your writing career. It could be the greatest to happen to mine as well, I’m just saying that I no longer feel that hungry desire to chase after one of the big 5 houses. I’m happy self publishing. It’s difficult at some points and I know traditional would have it’s own difficulties as well. Self publishing has been making steady strides in this industry for years and I am here for it’s next step.

 

30 comments

  1. Thanks for this. An interesting insight into self-publishing. I am considering this as a next step. Can I ask you what software you prefer to actually construct your books?
    Thanks in advance.

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  2. Good for you! At least you are putting your stories out there. Keep pursuing your dreams – even when they take a different direction than you thought they would. ~Tiff

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  3. I’m only approaching the end of my first and its looking more and more like the self publish path will be the (only lol) option I’m going with.
    As that amazing twitter thread stated Id take traditional for a boss advance but as a freshman there is no way in hell that’s happening. Plus I have concerns with someone owning my ideas.

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  4. This is very insightful. Congratulations. I hope it all works out for you. I am also planning on self publishing and I am in South Africa so I’m scared. I really have no clue what I am doing

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  5. This was very insightful. Thank you. Congratulations. I hope it all works out for you. I am also considering self publishing and I’m in South Africa so I’m scared. I really don’t know what I’m doing

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  6. I’ve self-published both my books too. From what I’ve heard and read, the publishing houses barely put any money into marketing so you’d end up doing most of it yourself anyway. At least this way I’d get to keep all the profits, if there were any, in poetry.

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  7. I’ve published books through the big companies and through the self-publishing route. The big companies butchered my work. I had no control. I’ll always self-publish from now on. It’s much healthier on the soul.

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  8. I’m working on my first book! this helps a lot because I’m dealing with the battle between self-publishing and traditional publishing right now. They way you explained it as building your resume makes a lot of sense!! thank you!!

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  9. I wish you nothing but the very best in all your dreams. I wrote a two book series about growing up in a two parent alcoholic family. I spent two years writing the books and another sending them out to publishers. After that I decided to self publish my third book and I am glad I did. I worked with an illustrator in Sir Lanka who was great. I also used a reasonable editor. I like controlling the process but I too wouldn’t mind being picked up by a big company. Thank you for your input it was appreciated. Love ❤️ Joni

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    1. I love hearing other author’s experiences! I’m glad self publishing was a positive experience for you. The dream of a big company seems great but the more I hear, the reality doesn’t sounds too promising.

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  10. Excellent description of the pro’s and con’s. I decided to self-publish my story collection a number of years ago mainly because I wanted to use special graphics, photos, type styles (but not in the same story!) and other surprises (like hidden words). I knew I could only do this with a digital, CD format. Of course CDs have pretty much become old-school, but I still like the concept. I had my CD available on Amazon for a couple years. Without a lot of self-promotion though, that doesn’t always work so well in the long run.

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  12. I’m glad to know the hunger goes away! Definitely some pros to self-publishing and it’s much more respected these days than it once was. Gaining in popularity and quality!

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