Whenever I think about self-publishing, I can’t help but think about how Elloras Cave and Aspen Mountain Press (among other epubs) got started. Now, I might have some of the details wrong, but in essence, both owners started out as a self-pubs because they couldn’t catch a break in NY . So, they started their own publishing companies. Years later, both are still in business, Elloras Cave doing better because it has been around longer. Either way, anyone who has ever signed on with these two publishers, is one degree of separation from a self-published author.
Egads! Separate yourselves now! Don’t even look at them. Indie/self published authors are the pit of the publishing industry. They wallow in scum because they haven’t had their work vetted by an independent source like an editor. No way am I even acknowledging their existence.
That was the attitude for a while and in some ways is still alive today. That was–and I’m ashamed to admit it–my attitude two years ago. I had the prejudice because I had read some self-published stuff back then and it was like reading a first draft. In my mind, self-publishing definitely lived up to its horrible reputation.
Everything has changed and so has my attitude. Not only is it easier–cheaper–than ever to self-publish a book with sites like Smashwords and Amazon’s Create Space, but writers have also gotten smarter. Well…some of them. They’re taking their writing careers seriously by hiring someone to professionally design their covers and edit their work. Even if they can’t afford an editor, but do a so-so job, authors are also pricing their books at $2.99 or less, thanks to the advice from JA Konrath’s blog. For $2.99, I’m not so shallow that I can’t live with a few mistakes. All I ask is that they aren’t so prevalent that they take me out of the story.
Now, I’m not saying that self-publishing is a way to get rich, nor should that be your reason for doing it. You have to love writing. If you don’t, it’ll show. Readers are not stupid. That’s why those who take indie/self-publishing seriously stand a better chance with succeeding in this business. Also, they never lose sight of it being a business as much as it is a love for storytelling.
Indie/self-publishing is harder because there isn’t a safety net readily available. You have to create one by hiring the right people to do things like cover art and editing and even that’s not a guarantee that you’ll do well. The only way to truly measure how you’re doing is by your readership. If you write great stories, then your readers will follow you regardless of how you’re published.
Oh, and did I mention how supportive indie authors are? They know they’re fighting an uphill battle, which is why they’re doing it together. Case in point: Zoe Winters just put out a book based on her experiences as an indie author called Becoming an Indie Author. She could’ve kept the information to herself, but she decided to share it. Again, JA Konrath’s blog is loaded with information. While you’re at it, read Dean Wesley Smith’s blog, too. I make it a point to read about the indie process because I want as much information as possible before I commit to it.
Yes, you read that right. Smashwords was my final tipping point because they made it so easy to go from manuscript to novel. That works for me because it’s more of a chance that my work will end up in the hands of readers. Plus, I firmly believe that they are the key to success. Not the publishing company you’re with. And no, I’m not saying that because I need to justify why I’m not NY pubbed yet. I’m saying that because I still want to be. Being with NY is a great way to promote an author’s other works that might never get into the hands of readers. That’s not to say they’re bad, but rather, they don’t fit someone else’s mold.
One of two things are going to happen in 2011. Either I’m going to self-publish Half Breed when the rights revert back or I’m putting up my paranormal YA on Smashwords. I love my young adult and have a cool idea for a complete story arc. I’d like to see it published and get paid for it, even if it amounts to lunch money. But before that happens, I want to make sure everything I put out is vetted through either an editor or a beta reader. Speaking of which, I’m on the prowl for one or the other. Let me know if you know of someone who’s available. 😉
Oh, and here’s something that make the hairs stand up on the back of my neck and dance. LA Banks is self-publishing the first book in a new YA series based on her NY Times bestselling Vampire Huntress books. I feel sorry for the publisher(s) who didn’t court this series.
Be honest. How do you feel about indie/self-publishing? Do you think it’s time has come? What do you think the future holds?