To Self Publish or Not to Self Publish? That is the Headache.

Growing up I thought there was only one way to be published. You wrote a novel / novella / short story and then you wrote a query letter in an attempt to find an agent and then finally a publishing house willing to take you on. I imagined that I’d have a folder rammed filled with rejection letters as evidence of me being a tiger earning her stripes.

Then three years ago, a new world opened up. Suddenly it was possible to skip all of the in-betweens and get straight to publishing bit. It seemed that with enough tenacity and sacrifice I could hold the future of my writing in the palm of my hands. I could control what I put out, when I put it out and even the cost of the books. I could become a one woman writing enterprise if I dared have the patience and guts to try.

I jumped back and forth between what was right for me three years ago but I didn’t think about it too carefully as I knew I had some years before I thought my writing was to the standard of publishing whether traditionally or on my own. Of course there was still the war that waged between the proponents of self-publishing and the proponents on traditional publishing. There was then, and still now, the feeling that those who self-publish are less talented and less deserving than those who went through the traditional route. There is the misconception that persons turn to self-publishing after all other routes have failed.

I’ve spent the past couple of weeks trying my best to come to a conclusion one way or the other. The route I chose to take would determine the direction my writing plans will take next year. I’ve gone through a million pro and cons lists but the decision sprung up more organically than that. This sounds cliché but I woke up a couple mornings ago and I just knew.

I am going to self publish. I realized that I ran away from it mainly because of fear. I wondered if I had what it took to succeed without the backing of a traditional publishing house. However, I realized two things. I intend to practice as a lawyer which makes it necessary or me to be able to work according to my own deadlines. Also, even though I’m still testing this theory, I think I have the ability to write quite a bit of books every year. The freedom to not have to wait for publishing schedules to get them out there is intoxicating.

Now that I’ve finally made my decision I’ve decided to jump right in, throw all caution and fear out and fight for this dream.

Has anyone else been sitting on the fence regarding whether self-publishing or traditional publishing is the best route? I’d love to hear your pros and cons of each.

Happy Dreaming.

Happy Writing.

Photo Credit: www.freedigitalphotos.net per jscreations
Photo Credit: http://www.freedigitalphotos.net per jscreations

Tschuss,

Rilzy

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8 thoughts on “To Self Publish or Not to Self Publish? That is the Headache.

  1. I don’t have a story yet, but I have been reading around a bit regarding the pros and cons, in case I actually do get to a point where I feel ready to publish something. For myself, up to now at least, I’ve always been dreaming about a deal with a publishing house thinking that that would be a good indication that my work is ready to hit the shelves and that people in the industry find it…worthy. It’s a quality check to me. And then you would have the support regarding marketing and sales that otherwise will be your own responsibility.

    But then again, there are lots of authors out there that tried the traditional route and in the end opted for self-publishing only to then, finally, be discovered.

    I guess I’m trying to say, whatever feels right, is right. Just do it! Good luck!

    1. Thanks for reading. You are very right. I think it really does boil down to what you feel comfortable with. The route that just clicks, you know? And I think the best thing about this all is that as long as we have perseverance and we’re willing to get back up every time we’re kicked down there will always be options. Two years from now I might be coming to terms with the fact my self publishing venture was a complete failure. But then, I’ll just return to my InkCave and restructure and re-plan. The great thing is that just the plotting and the writing is a gift in itself. I wish you all the luck on your writing journey!

  2. I decided to self-publish because what I write doesn’t fit neatly into any existing category, it’s kind of hybrid between science fiction, horror, and contemporary fantasy. When I tried querying agents it became clear pretty quickly that most agents don’t want to try to sell a book that they can’t fit into a genre.

    1. That’s very true and something I didn’t think about. It’s sad that many traditional routes are afraid to risk the more unique genre combinations (although it makes financial sense, I guess) because exciting is better. I saw sci-fi, horror and contemporary fantasy and my interest definitely peaked. Have you got anything out as yet? I would love to look at them.

  3. While reading your post I was tempted to say “girl, get out of my head!” I spend a lot of time in my head weaving and re-reweaving stories but the get terrified when I think of publishing as I wonder which where to publish my work.
    I sometimes even stress myself out wondering who will be interested my the topics I want to write about. I must say though that I’ve been working on my craft a lot more these days and then doubt stated gnawing away at my confidence. I was ready to stop and I questioned “where will I publish?” luckily I vented to my BFF and she recommended that I visit your site and I must say that I am encouraged.

    1. Thanks for reading. It is a never ending cycle but I think eventually we just need to tell fear “take a seat, you’re getting in my way.” To be honest, just yesterday I was speaking to a friend and I was telling him I had novels and novellas just sitting there and he said ‘What will you do with them?’ and I said to him ‘I was going to self publish but now I’m not sure maybe I should go the Traditional route.’ And then, I recognized it for what it was… having to make that choice is giving me a reason to remain stagnant and to let fear will. So I said, not today Rilzy… Slowly but surely I’m trying to chuck fear to the curb. My advice is to keep writing and keep reading and then write some more and write about what you’re passionate about – trust me there WILL be people interested in reading it. My motto is: ‘If you write it, they will read’ :D. Good luck on your writing journey!

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