Earlier this week I stumbled upon a blog about Indie publishing, and it got me to start re-thinking my publishing goals all over again. I have debated Indie and self publishing versus traditional publication many times over. As I debated I ended up convincing myself that traditional publication is the way I wanted to go. My reasons for this decision is because while the stigma against self publication is dropping there is still a lot of crap out there and most anyone can publish a book these days, and it doesn’t mean it is a good book. Truth be told I have read a handful of self published books and among them I have only found one that was truly good. (This is not encouraging for the idea of self publication!) Then the final thing that cause me to determine that I wanted to go with traditional publication is the fact that since I was a little girl I have wanted to be able to walk into a book store and see my name on the spine of a book surrounded by the books of others who have made it. This is the dream – for a long time and in a lot of ways it still is.
However, I am forced to reconsider things. In the blog I read about Indie and traditional publishing, it makes the point that with traditional publication, if you actually finally make it and you get a publisher to agree to put your book out there on the shelves and have it be in print, it may not last. Most books only get a shelf life of 6 months to make it or break it. If the book doesn’t make it, the book is placed out of print never to see the light of day ever again. What makes it even worse is once this decision is made there is no hope for your book ever again really. Why? Because the rights of the book have been sold so you can’t work to salvage it and bring it back to life. This is heart breaking because in a lot of ways I feel like the books I write are my children after a fashion and to leave it to flounder and lay forgotten is not something I’m sure I can handle. I desire and deserve the right to call the end when it comes to my work, or to keep fighting for it to have life. Not to mention, 6 months is not a lot of time at all. I know that is half a year but so much and so little can happen in that amount of time.
As I made my disturbing discoveries I looked at what it would take to self publish, and what it entails. I know that traditional and self publication, both require that I promote and market myself and my book. The major difference is in some ways the lack of help in Indie publishing, but to be honest the best advocate for your own book is you. In addition to marketing, I was reminded that self publication is a lot like an entrepreneurship. A person starting a small business or starting a publication of their own book aren’t that different. You have to find your market, you have to connect with it, you have to know when and where to put the word out about your publication it is all a balance a thing of planning and preparing. It takes a lot of work and it is something that not all writers have the gumption for. There is of course nothing wrong with not wanting to market things because marketing is a very social thing and is just as hard as the hard work of writing and editing your book.
For me, I find that I have the gumption to market. I am a unique bird when it comes to writers – while most people find writing to be a solitary and solo profession I turn it into a social experience and am an extroverted social bug. So marketing is right up my ally. In conjunction with being okay connecting with and talking to people to market my book, I have the training to be an entrepreneur, I know the ins and outs to starting a business and marketing things – this gives me an edge. Of course being able to market things well does not grantee results or that I have a good book. There are many pit falls to self publication such as an editor and having a professional look. Fortunately, I have been so blessed to have a professional editor in my family who happily provides their editing services to me for free. The one thing I’m lacking is a good professional looking cover. Of course I have a good deal more editing to do I have a friend who is giving my novel a read through and is offering suggestions to give my book a better presence. I have the first few chapters and am taking the time to work through those. I am hoping that this multi-year project will be reaching a head here soon and I’ll have something to speak for in the near future!