A decade later and this attitude has changed a lot. Though some still hold the above attitude, it is diminishing and self-publishing is no longer considered the last nail in a writer-wanting-to-be-an-author coffin.
Just this past September, I attended a talk given by well respected literary agent Rachelle Gardner, a self-published author herself whose book highlights traditional vs self-publishing. She gave a talk touting some of the benefits of pursuing self-publishing and in some instances considered it a bonus to an author’s career.
The dizzying pace of these changing attitudes can leave you scratching your head.
Personally, I’ve seen several close friends of mine pursue self-publication and have moderate success. By this I mean they earned back the money they invested in preparing the manuscript (for editing, the book cover and interior design) and perhaps have earned a couple of thousand dollars. A smaller minority had great success and went on to further get traditional publishing contracts.
What I’ve determined is that there is a good time and place to consider self-publishing as an author and here are some of those situations to consider.
Genesis Contest sponsored by ACFW. It takes six to ten years to learn the writing craft and a couple of written books under your belt to fit this definition.
2. There will be a delay in books releasing between your traditional publishing contracts. What I’ve heard and read is that it also takes six to ten years to build a readership. During that time frame, it’s wise to have a book releasing no longer than once a year. Some authors do more—some do less but you want a predictable stream of novels to keep readers’ interest piqued. This is the issue I’m facing. My current publishing contract for the Bloodline Trilogy is complete and the book proposal my agent is shopping around hasn’t been picked up yet. Even if I got an offer at this point in time, a book likely wouldn’t be released until 2015. This is one reason why I’ve decided to self-publish in the fall of 2014.
3. You are a control freak. Creatives like control over their product. Publishing is not that way. It is a collaborative effort so some of what you love about your creation is going to change. Some people enjoy all aspects of the book publishing process and want to have final say over every aspect—going strictly with their vision. Self-publishing is the best venue for the author to maintain total control. You also have to front all the cost and carry the entire burden as well for marketing and distribution.
5. Your want to write in other genres. Most often, an agent and traditional publisher are going to encourage you to stick with one genre but few authors I know really want to do that for their entire writing career. These might be good novels to self-publish under a pen name.
6. You want to build volume more quickly to increase income. The flip side of building a readership is how much material you have to offer. When my first novel released, if the reader loved it, there was nothing else for them to read. Now, if they love any one of my books—they have at least two others to choose from. The more books you have, the more options a reader will have to choose and buy another book of yours to read—thus increasing your potential earning income.
What do you think? Have you self-published? Did you consider a success? Would you do it again?