January 11, 2013
Surprised by Self-Publishing
Jennie Nash tells us there is a thrill when an author can pick her own cover, set her own prices, decide on special editions and more. She also tells us there's terror.
When I do something well, I feel like a rock star entrepreneurial author on the cutting edge of the brave new world of publishing. But book publishing is a detailed, complex enterprise requiring a range of skills completely different from writing a book. There are a thousand opportunities to screw up. Suddenly, it's not just my writing that's out there being judged, it's my eye for design, my sense of how readers behave, my business acumen. I used to wonder why it took traditional publishers nine months to produce a book. Now I get it; it's a lot of work.
My friends who have self-published recently all tell me the same thing. It's a lot more work and more complicated than they expected. As I've said here and here, self-publishing may be the right solution for authors--or not. It all depends. One person commented on Nash's blog:
This is a very balanced view, and I thank you for it. Knowing myself, my strengths and weaknesses, this helps reinforce my belief that traditional publishing is what is best for me.
Others might look at their strengths and weaknesses and decide self-publishing is the route to go. The point is, take a look and assess as well as you can ahead of time.
Of course, sometimes authors don't have that choice. Sometimes no traditional house will have them. Then it is self-publish or don't publish. Even so, doing your homework is key even to that decision too.
Nash knows her stuff, though. She manages to get herself as a guest on Rachelle Gardner's blog and actually thus promote her self-published book under the guise of telling us about the problems with self-publishing.