Quote Originally Posted by M. H. Lee View Post
The question I would ask is why you want to self-publish. I often hear people ask something along the lines of "when should I give up on trade publishing and self-publish?" and when I hear that question my answer is never. Because, at a very simplified level mind you, successfully trade publishing requires that you write a good novel and sell it to a handful of people. An agent to represent you, an editor, and maybe the sales team at the publisher. Compare that to self-publishing successfully which requires that you write that good novel, learn how to choose a good cover, learn how to identify a good editor, learn how to write a good blurb, learn how to market your book, learn how to list that book on at least one vendor, etc. You then have to find a way to sell that book to each individual customer, at least initially.

So the argument I always make when someone wants to give up on trade publishing to self-publish is why would you try something that requires ten times the number of skills when you have "failed" at something that requires one skill. Better to write a few more novels and stay on the path you really wanted in the first place.
This assumes that everyone is writing stuff that trade publishers want to publish, so it's only a matter of time until something gets someone interested. I had doubts about whether trade publishing would want my work when I queried my novel, and the lack of interest in the novel confirmed it (along with the various things agents were saying in interviews and the like, where it's clear I was writing something they didn't ever want). I could have kept writing things to query, and kept getting rejected, but this would be avoiding the central issue of not writing the right sort of stuff in the first place.

I also wasn't in a position where I could write for twenty years hoping for that one sale. Self-publishing didn't turn out to be the thing that made the most money, but I didn't know what would earn money until trying various things. I wouldn't have ended up with the art and review affiliate sides if I hadn't started out by trying to self-publish something.

If I ever write something that's more the sort of thing trade publishing wants, or trade publishing changes to want what I write, there's nothing to stop me querying another book. It's not like self-publishing cuts that off forever. But I'm glad I didn't feel that once I'd queried something, I was stuck on that route and couldn't change direction.