What I Love About Self-Publishing

editing_for_authors
Editing for authors: because every writer needs a good editor.

Status
Not open for further replies.

HisBoyElroy

Conqueror Worm
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Oct 31, 2009
Messages
70
Reaction score
4
Location
Midwest USA
I remember the moment I decided to self-publish. I was having trouble working on my WIP. I had just spent the last two years writing two novels and querying agents only to have run into a brick wall. What was the use? I wondered. When I should have been writing, I was instead looking back on my rejected novels. I tried putting them in a file called "Practice Novels" to keep me from digging into them. But that didn't help. If these didn't get published, what made me think my next would fare any better?

That's when I faintly remembered something I'd heard about self-publishing through Amazon. I was barely aware of what a Kindle was. So I started researching the subject to see if it was true. I had never heard of Joe Konrath and the only Hocking I knew of was my daughter's math teacher. Self-publishing was the farthest thing from my mind. But when I saw that you could publish your writing electronically and sell it on Amazon, I knew that was for me. And now, starting my second full month of self-publishing, I couldn't be happier.

First of all, the whole concept appeals to my entrepreneurial spirit, having been an independent businessman for the past 20 years, including a stint as an award winning computer game designer (historical wargames, if you're curious). Self-publishing just feels right. Sending query letters to agents who may or may not respond does not, and I'm sorry now that I wasted my time doing it. I've always been a one- or two-man shop, anyway, so why should this be any different?

More importantly, if not for self-publishing, I probably wouldn't even be writing now at all. My hopelessness has been replaced by hopefulness. I'm excited to wake up in the morning. And I have resumed work on my WIP with renewed vigor. I write with greater purpose (for the simple matter that there now is a greater purpose--pleasing readers) and I can't wait to spend my querying time revising and editing.

I'd love to hear how other self-publishers got started.
 

BySharonNelson

(Insert something whitty here)
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Feb 21, 2011
Messages
256
Reaction score
27
Location
Oregon
Website
www.bysharonnelson.blogspot.com
Thanks for sharing it is always nice to hear about other indie writers journeys. I like you got frustrated with the process and decided there must be a better way. My sister told me about this author that I had to read and lent me a copy of one of her books. It was none other than Amanda Hocking's My Blood Approves. The very next day I was doing research on self publishing and who's name to I recognize but darling Amanda herself. Now keep in mind this was before I even read the first word in any of her books. I found out about how much success she had had in such a short time and was shocked. I have sense only read one of her books and while the editing is atrocious the story is fantastic. It gave me a wake up call. If I could have even a smidgen of the success that she has had I will be ecstatic. I am just going into my second month of being published and I have been working my butt off at promotion and working on my next books. I am exhausted, I work a regular job as well as taking care of a family and most days I am about five deep breaths away from my breaking point. So why do I keep at it? Because I love it. I hope that my books can bring a little happiness to someones day because that's what books do for me. If I can give just one person a moment of enjoyment by allowing them to fall into the world I have created then it has ALL been worth it. I encourage other writers considering self publishing to do your research carefully and talk to other writers. It is not an easy road but for those that are willing to work at it I think it is more than worth the sacrifices and hard work. Wow that was way longer than I intended ;)
 

Splendad

Correcting a man? Be right.
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Jan 10, 2011
Messages
354
Reaction score
12
Location
East, northeast, or southest of you, probably
Website
wordsrock.blogspot.com
Excellent post! I'm like you; had the entrepreneurial spirit anyway. I had only received a few rejections on my first complete sci-fi (Name of Alt) but I had also spent a lot of time about 20 years ago querying for my first book (snail mail) and dealt with those rejections, which derailed me from writing for all that time in-between.

So that's one reason I leaned toward self-publishing.

Second reason is that, especially with this economy, I was sensing a rudeness coming from publishers/agents (in general; there are always exceptions) that probably resulted from them getting flooded by so many more who were jobless (and were spending their time/some of their time writing) or those who really felt the pressure to get published who may have otherwise procrastinated before. So, rudeness. I don't like it.

Third reason really comes down to two things combined. First, I have total control over how my books are created. Second thing is that I have sincere hope because my sales have gradually picked up since I started selling. And that sincere hope isn't hurt at all if you just take a look at all of the authors throughout history that were self-published (this taken from here: http://selfpubauthors.wordpress.com...ory-of-self-publishingtraditional-publishing/ )

SELF-PUBLISHED AUTHORS

William Blake, Virginia Woolf, William Morris, Walt Whitman, James Joyce, James Redfield (The Celestine Prophecy), Stephen Crane, E.E. Cummings, Oscar Wilde, Tom Peters (In Search of Excellence), Edward Tufte, Elynn Harris, Matthew Reilly, Howard Fast (Spartacus), D.H. Lawrence, Thomas Paine, Christopher Paolini (Eragon), Edgar Allen Poe, George Bernard Shaw, Upton Sinclair, G.P. Taylor (Shadowmancer), Mark Twain, Henry David Thoreau, Deepak Chopra, Benjamin Franklin, Richard Paul Evans (The Christmas Box), Zane Grey, Rudyard Kipling, Ezra Pound, Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hanson (Chicken Soup for the Soul), Carl Sandburg, Gertrude Stein, John Grisham (A Time to Kill), and Stephen King
 

TrickyFiction

Who?
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Mar 23, 2006
Messages
1,123
Reaction score
146
Location
on the precious Pacific.
SELF-PUBLISHED AUTHORS

... Edgar Allen Poe....

Oh, crap. I really wanted to love that list, but now I have to doubt it. First, it's spelled Allan. Second, he was primarily published by magazines. Yes, he had a dream to start his very own magazine and publish his work himself, but he could never get anyone to loan him the money for it. So, yeah, he was no stranger to rejection, but I don't think he qualifies as self-published. If you know of a specific piece that he published all by his lonesome, I would LOVE to find out what it was. I'm a bit of a Poe fanatic, as you can probably tell.

ETA: Wait! I forgot about his first ever book of poems. You're right! Although I suspect he did it on John Allan's dime.
 
Last edited:

BarbaraKE

Super Member
Registered
Joined
Oct 25, 2007
Messages
739
Reaction score
132
Location
Upstate South Carolina
My hopelessness has been replaced by hopefulness. I'm excited to wake up in the morning. And I have resumed work on my WIP with renewed vigor.

That quote sums it up for me.

My epiphany (for want of a better word) came in February/March. I finally got responses from three partials sent out the previous September (to well-respected agents at New York firms). All three were rejections but they were all kind enough to take the time and offer comments about what they liked/didn't like.

Problem? No consistency between the comments. Even worse, the comments contradicted each other.

I was paralyzed by indecision. What to do? How to attract an agent if they can't even agree among themselves?

By nature, I am a math-type person. 'A' + 'B' + 'C' = 'D'. If you do 'this' and 'this' and 'this', your book will be worthy of being published.

But it 'ain't so'. It's all subjective (excepting, of course, things like grammer problems, etc.)

Now I feel re-energized. Instead of concentrating on appealing to an agent, I'm focused back on the story I wanted to tell originally.

And it feels good.
 

CaoPaux

Mostly Harmless
Staff member
Super Moderator
Moderator
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Feb 12, 2005
Messages
13,737
Reaction score
1,585
Location
Coastal Desert
And that sincere hope isn't hurt at all if you just take a look at all of the authors throughout history that were self-published (this taken from here: http://selfpubauthors.wordpress.com...ory-of-self-publishingtraditional-publishing/ )

SELF-PUBLISHED AUTHORS

William Blake, Virginia Woolf, William Morris, Walt Whitman, James Joyce, James Redfield (The Celestine Prophecy), Stephen Crane, E.E. Cummings, Oscar Wilde, Tom Peters (In Search of Excellence), Edward Tufte, Elynn Harris, Matthew Reilly, Howard Fast (Spartacus), D.H. Lawrence, Thomas Paine, Christopher Paolini (Eragon), Edgar Allen Poe, George Bernard Shaw, Upton Sinclair, G.P. Taylor (Shadowmancer), Mark Twain, Henry David Thoreau, Deepak Chopra, Benjamin Franklin, Richard Paul Evans (The Christmas Box), Zane Grey, Rudyard Kipling, Ezra Pound, Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hanson (Chicken Soup for the Soul), Carl Sandburg, Gertrude Stein, John Grisham (A Time to Kill), and Stephen King
Oh, for the love of --. Do you really want to go bankrupt self-publishing like Mark Twain did? Seriously, folks, please research the names and numbers you regurgitate from "buy my services!" sites: http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showpost.php?p=3050999&postcount=110?
 

kaitie

With great power comes
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Sep 10, 2009
Messages
10,874
Reaction score
2,258
Location
Great coffee
Adding to say Paolini was published by his parent's small press, if I remember correctly. It wasn't self-publishing in the traditional sense.

Also, I hardly think it's fair to compare people who wrote over a hundred years ago to authors today. Publishing is completely different than it was then. Hell, you have to be careful comparing twenty years ago to today.
 

Marian Perera

starting over
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Dec 29, 2006
Messages
14,170
Reaction score
4,050
Location
Heaven is a place on earth called Toronto.
Website
www.marianperera.com
Adding to say Paolini was published by his parent's small press, if I remember correctly. It wasn't self-publishing in the traditional sense.

Plus, Paolini was homeschooled, so he was able to take substantial time off to tour schools and promote his book. He also said,

We were learning that we could not take the sales to the next level without duplicating the process a large publishing house uses-- the distribution system, the marketing, etc. Once Knopf had proven they were really serious about the offer, that they would give the book the marketing attention we hoped for, we were happy to have them take [COLOR=#66333]Eragon[/COLOR] off our hands.
 

kaitie

With great power comes
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Sep 10, 2009
Messages
10,874
Reaction score
2,258
Location
Great coffee
Also, the guy who wrote the Celestine Prophecy spent thousands of dollars, his savings, to publish, and then spent a long time traveling to individual bookstores and asking them to stock his book. He worked his ass off. I'm not saying Splendad doesn't, but I am saying that it requires a whole lot of effort to reach that level of success.
 

Amadan

Banned
Joined
Apr 27, 2010
Messages
8,649
Reaction score
1,623
SELF-PUBLISHED AUTHORS

William Blake, Virginia Woolf, William Morris, Walt Whitman, James Joyce, James Redfield (The Celestine Prophecy), Stephen Crane, E.E. Cummings, Oscar Wilde, Tom Peters (In Search of Excellence), Edward Tufte, Elynn Harris, Matthew Reilly, Howard Fast (Spartacus), D.H. Lawrence, Thomas Paine, Christopher Paolini (Eragon), Edgar Allen Poe, George Bernard Shaw, Upton Sinclair, G.P. Taylor (Shadowmancer), Mark Twain, Henry David Thoreau, Deepak Chopra, Benjamin Franklin, Richard Paul Evans (The Christmas Box), Zane Grey, Rudyard Kipling, Ezra Pound, Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hanson (Chicken Soup for the Soul), Carl Sandburg, Gertrude Stein, John Grisham (A Time to Kill), and Stephen King

Yeah... that's a crap list.

Are they counting Stephen King as a "self-published" author because of his experiment with The Plant? And Upton Sinclair did self-publish a couple of editions of The Jungle, for complicated reasons involving disagreements with publishers, but all of his books (including The Jungle) were commercially published.

Ditto just about all those other authors. Calling every author who's ever once dabbled in self-publishing for any reason a "self-published author" is exceedingly disingenuous.
 

scope

Commonsensical Maverick
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Mar 30, 2008
Messages
2,763
Reaction score
251
Location
New York
To: HisBoyElroy, BySharonNelson, Splendad, & BarbaraE,

Would each of you be kind enough to answer a few questions?

1. How long have you been self-publishing?

2. Do you think self-publishing is right for every unpublished writer?

2. What company do you use?

3. Do you use an ouside source to do your initial editing, and if so, how much do you pay for same? If you have illiustraions, how do handle same?

4. Besides being listed on Amazon, what else have you successfully done to promte and help maket your book?

5. To date how many orders have you received (over how many months?)

6. To date how much money have you made or lost?
 

BySharonNelson

(Insert something whitty here)
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Feb 21, 2011
Messages
256
Reaction score
27
Location
Oregon
Website
www.bysharonnelson.blogspot.com
1. How long have you been self-publishing?
My first book was published a little over a month ago.

2. Do you think self-publishing is right for every unpublished writer? No I absolutely do not think self-pubbing is right for everyone. Self pubbing requires a TON of work if you want your book to be even marginally successful. I did copious amounts of research before even considering this route. I bust my butt every free second I have working on my next two books as well as marketing, networking and promotion. It is very time consuming. Bottom line is that every writer has to make a choice that suits them. To me its not about seeing my book in a book store its about getting my book to people who will enjoy it.
2. What company do you use?
I do not use a company for any aspects of publishing.

3. Do you use an ouside source to do your initial editing, and if so, how much do you pay for same? If you have illiustraions, how do handle same?
I happen to have a friend who is an editor and she has been tremendously helpful. There are probably still mistakes in my book but that is true of almost every published work I have ever read. Cover art is all done by me which is something that causes me more headaches and stress than I care to think of at the moment.

4. Besides being listed on Amazon, what else have you successfully done to promte and help maket your book?
My book is available on Amazon, BN.com, and Smashwords as well as all of the companies they distribute to. The most effective thing I have done so far is to find blogs that will review my books. I also have the standard Facebook and Twitter accounts which seem to help. Forums are fantastic. AW (of course) as well as Kindleboards and Nookboards. There is tons of helpful advice and great people to bounce ideas off of one each site.

5. To date how many orders have you received (over how many months?)
In the month and a half or so since publishing my books I have sold aprox. 50 copies overall. I had a giveaway for two weeks in march where I gave away a few copies. Sales have been fairly steadily rising for the last week so I hope that is a good sign.

6. To date how much money have you made or lost?
I have not lost anything at all as I do not pay for any publishing services. I have made probably 30 or 35 dollars. LOL I'm not exactly raking in the dough at this point and I may never make that much but I have a day job so that's ok.
 

BarbaraKE

Super Member
Registered
Joined
Oct 25, 2007
Messages
739
Reaction score
132
Location
Upstate South Carolina
To: HisBoyElroy, BySharonNelson, Splendad, & BarbaraE,

Would each of you be kind enough to answer a few questions?


1. How long have you been self-publishing?

Uh, did you actually *read* my post?

I'm still working on my book. But, when it's ready, I will self-publish instead of trying to find an agent. (Please notice the 'when it's ready' part.)

2. Do you think self-publishing is right for every unpublished writer?

I don't think *anything* is right for *everybody*.

2. What company do you use?

What company do I use? To do what? Please be a little more specific.

3. Do you use an ouside source to do your initial editing, and if so, how much do you pay for same? If you have illiustraions, how do handle same?

I'm not sure what you mean by 'initial editing'. Are you talking about someone editing for mis-spellings, grammar problems, etc.? If so, I don't need one. If you mean editing for pacing, characterization, plot holes, etc., I have two beta readers who are extremely helpful.

No illustrations.

4. Besides being listed on Amazon, what else have you successfully done to promte and help maket your book?

5. To date how many orders have you received (over how many months?)

6. To date how much money have you made or lost?

None of these are applicable (yet).
 

scope

Commonsensical Maverick
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Mar 30, 2008
Messages
2,763
Reaction score
251
Location
New York
2. To me its not about seeing my book in a book store its about getting my book to people who will enjoy it.

To accomplish this what have you done or plan to do to promote and market your book (beyond Amazon, B&N.com, and Smashwords)? And we course can't family and friends.

2. What company do you use?
I do not use a company for any aspects of publishing.

I am referring to a company you might be using to print your book in paper or e-book format

3. Do you use an ouside source to do your initial editing, and if so, how much do you pay for same? If you have illiustraions, how do handle same?

I happen to have a friend who is an editor and she has been tremendously helpful. (I'm sure she has been. But is she a professional book editor?)

There are probably still mistakes in my book but that is true of almost every published work I have ever read.
This I don't get. How can you knowingly accept mistakes? As far as Im concerned it has nothing to do with other books.

Cover art is all done by me which is something that causes me more headaches and stress than I care to think of at the moment.

This doesn't sound too good. Writing is hard enough.

4. Besides being listed on Amazon, what else have you successfully done to promote and help maket your book?

My book is available on Amazon, BN.com, and Smashwords as well as all of the companies they distribute to. The most effective thing I have done so far is to find blogs that will review my books.

I think it's fine to use blogs, but I don't think they or Twitter or Facebook, generate very many sales. What more could you do?

5. To date how many orders have you received (over how many months?)
In the month and a half or so since publishing my books I have sold aprox. 50 copies overall. I had a giveaway for two weeks in march where I gave away a few copies. Sales have been fairly steadily rising for the last week so I hope that is a good sign.

I hope so. I imagine--hope not--that some of these 50 went to famly and friends.

6. To date how much money have you made or lost?
I have not lost anything at all as I do not pay for any publishing services. I have made probably 30 or 35 dollars.

You don't pay for any publishing services? Could you please expound upon this?

[/QUOTE

ss
 

kaitie

With great power comes
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Sep 10, 2009
Messages
10,874
Reaction score
2,258
Location
Great coffee
I think she means that she put the book up for free and didn't pay outside help for formatting, editing, etc.
 

scope

Commonsensical Maverick
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Mar 30, 2008
Messages
2,763
Reaction score
251
Location
New York
Uh, did you actually *read* my post?

Yes, and I mistakingly thought you would make the differentiation

I'm still working on my book. But, when it's ready, I will self-publish instead of trying to find an agent. (Please notice the 'when it's ready' part.)

I assume you are saying that the books of most people who self-publish are not ready when they do so.

What company do I use? To do what? Please be a little more specific.

To self-publish your book, which doesn't apply to you. But who have you researched and who are you considering?

I'm not sure what you mean by 'initial editing'. Are you talking about someone editing for mis-spellings, grammar problems, etc.? If so, I don't need one. If you mean editing for pacing, characterization, plot holes, etc., I have two beta readers who are extremely helpful.

I mean for all the above, and I don't agree when you say you don't need one for that part which is "mis-spellings, grammar, problems, etc." All writers need that objectve
ss
 

BarbaraKE

Super Member
Registered
Joined
Oct 25, 2007
Messages
739
Reaction score
132
Location
Upstate South Carolina
Uh, did you actually *read* my post?

Yes, and I mistakingly thought you would make the differentiation

I'm sorry but I have no idea what you're talking about.

*******************************************

I'm still working on my book. But, when it's ready, I will self-publish instead of trying to find an agent. (Please notice the 'when it's ready' part.)

I assume you are saying that the books of most people who self-publish are not ready when they do so.

You know what they say about 'assume', don't you?

I'm perfectly capable of saying exactly what I mean. Please don't read more into it than what's there.

*******************************************

What company do I use? To do what? Please be a little more specific.

To self-publish your book, which doesn't apply to you. But who have you researched and who are you considering?

I'll probably do it myself (with the possible exception of the cover).

*******************************************

I'm not sure what you mean by 'initial editing'. Are you talking about someone editing for mis-spellings, grammar problems, etc.? If so, I don't need one. If you mean editing for pacing, characterization, plot holes, etc., I have two beta readers who are extremely helpful.

I mean for all the above, and I don't agree when you say you don't need one for that part which is "mis-spellings, grammar, problems, etc." All writers need that objectve.

I disagree that 'all writers need that objectve (sic)', (i.e. an editor to look for 'mis-spellings, grammar problems, etc.').

I don't.
 

shadowwalker

empty-nester!
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Mar 8, 2010
Messages
5,601
Reaction score
598
Location
SE Minnesota
6. To date how much money have you made or lost?
I have not lost anything at all as I do not pay for any publishing services.

Not 'picking on' you, specifically, but something that's been overlooked - the value of your time (opportunity cost). It's along the lines of what's a wife/mother worth. Say you 'pay' your publisher (you) minimum wage ($7.25/hour). On sales of $100, then, you should only have spent about 14 hours on the publishing side in order to break even. Even if one considers this time spent as an investment, one still needs to consider if the investment (time) is getting a good return (sales in terms of hourly wage or salary). Unless of course, one is self-publishing only for personal satisfaction and enjoyment and not for any monetary reward.
 

kaitie

With great power comes
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Sep 10, 2009
Messages
10,874
Reaction score
2,258
Location
Great coffee
That's a fair point. I spent hours building query letters and getting my submission material ready. Granted, nowhere near as long as it took to finish the book (I'm a slow writer), but still. It was a lot.

I actually imagine that if we figured out how much per hour an author made on a work, no matter how they were published, we'd find that a lot of them never make minimum wage. Which isn't to say it shouldn't be done. Just another way of saying you shouldn't get into writing for the money lol. ;)
 

Steam&Ink

sekrit superhero
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Jun 15, 2009
Messages
1,504
Reaction score
361
Location
Bottom-right hand side of the map. Tucked away dow
Website
steamandink.blogspot.com
I actually imagine that if we figured out how much per hour an author made on a work, no matter how they were published, we'd find that a lot of them never make minimum wage. Which isn't to say it shouldn't be done. Just another way of saying you shouldn't get into writing for the money lol. ;)

That's for darn sure!

One thing I think is often overlooked is the aspect of self-publishing in order to increase the author's platform while s/he is finding an agent. (I'm talking, of course, about self-publishing different works than the one you're querying to agents!)

Thoughts? Has anyone embarked on self-pub for this reason?
 

kaitie

With great power comes
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Sep 10, 2009
Messages
10,874
Reaction score
2,258
Location
Great coffee
We have another thread arguing that one haha. ;) Though I'm sure many people have. The question is more in whether or not it's effective (if you do well at it yes, if you bomb, not so much).
 
Status
Not open for further replies.

Happy Thanksgiving

Autumn image for Thanksgiving