Monday, November 14, 2011

Put those shelved books on the shelves!

Self-publishing is a little too easy. Check out if you don’t believe me. I found them after finishing Nanowrimo last year, where the award for winning Nano was a free proof of your book. I swear, Createspace hands out those coupons for free proofs like they are gateway drugs. I've had three coupons for free proofs in the last year, and by the time I finish writing this post I'll probably find another.  

Oh look... a free proof.

There’s something so amazing about the idea of holding an actual copy of the book you’ve believed in... So amazing. You have to try to do it... it's free... What's the harm?  And then, once you’ve done the hour’s worth of work to get the book in proof format,  all you have to do is click one button and you’ve self-published.


 Your mom and your friends can buy your book. It might be the big break you've been daydreaming about...

Money will flow towards you.  

This is it...You can do it...

Why not, right?

Gateway drug, I tell you.

The problem is,  with that one click, you’ve almost guaranteed that a traditional publisher won’t publish your book, ( right?...sad.), and once those five to twenty people who are related to you buy your book, it will be just one of a billon self-published books clogging Amazon’s shelf space.

How's that for an emoticon?

That’s why… in case you are wondering… I’m not going to self-publish Funny Tragic, Crazy Magic. I believe in that book. I think it’s awesome. So awesome, in fact, I can’t believe I wrote it. I think more than five to twenty people would like to own it.

However...this brings me to my point… reluctantly...Funny Tragic, Crazy Magic is my fourth novel, which means there are two other perfectly good novels sitting on my hard drive doing nothing.

(And no, my math isn’t wrong. My first novel is so laughable, that it doesn’t count, and things that can’t count, can’t do math.)

 Oh great, a math joke.

These two other novels aren’t bad. They even have moments of awesome.  I’m not … super… embarrassed for other people to read them. I just don’t think they are the novels that will break me into the publishing business.

So… why.... not… self … publish… them…

I think you can read my hesitancy.

I’ll tell you the reason why I don’t think I should do it.   

  1.  Although I didn’t mean for this to happen, those first three novels ended up more autobiographical than I intended. If I self-publish, besides the one or two random people who stumble upon the book and like the idea enough to purchase, the only people who will buy these books will actually know me… And they might pick up on those autobiographical Freudian slips.
  2.  See above. It's so embarrassing, I had to say it twice.
  3. If I wanted to get money from my friends and family, I’d sell Pampered Chef. 

But the idea… it intrigues.  Mostly because then I could hold an actual copy of the book in my hands, and keep a serious face when I call myself a writer. I’d be a professional, a money making writing machine... not a hobbyist mom who keeps writing novels instead of creating scrapbooks. Or cleaning. Or looking at my children.

And those books are just sitting there…

Dern gateway drug.

What do you think? Would you do it?


  1. I'm with you, Sheena. I think that unless you're a marketing whiz (and I'm not), self-publishing has two possible outcomes, both of which are sub-optimal: 1) You ensure that a great book never gets recognized, or 2) You publish a book that should have been put in a drawer and left there. There are success stories, but they are about as rare as winning the lottery, at least for first-time novelists.

    Great post!

  2. Yeah, self-publishing is just too easy. I have nothing against it, and I have read some that has been very good, but so much of it is not.

    I don't want to put a book out there with my name on it until I know it is at a professional level.

    So my question is, how do you really know you have reached a professional level without a professional expressing interest in it?

    That is why it is traditional route for me. I need that validation. :)

  3. Sometimes I want that drug, I really do. To have instant validation instead of waiting through months or years of rejection is very tempting.

    OTOH, you guys are right about the value of agents and publishers in marketing and polishing a work to its best.

    Is there a point where you would say to yourself that you've subbed enough and put it up?

  4. I like you.

    And I want to read your book (when it's published by a real company and you're a famous writer).

  5. What if I self-published with a pen name? Then my professional name wouldn't be tarnished...

    OTOH, then how would my mom find my books?

    p.s. I like you too Marianne, thanks for reading!

  6. Susan, I think it's possible there is a point when I would self-publish, and I'll know that point if and when I get to it. If I truly love a story, and truly believe in it, and I know in my heart I've exhausted every avenue to publication, and I've gone on to write several other books and still believe that this one is the best I can offer the world... then maybe. But I'm not making any promises :)

  7. I personally feel that it is better to put your novel in your blog rather than spending so much money through self publishing. Becuase, when you upload something in your Blog, some people will read and may be some of them may become your fans.

  8. I haven't done a whole lot of research on the subjects of self publishing vs. traditional. But I do have a dear friend who is self publishing and releasing her first book "The Golden Sky" on November 18th this year. She has put a ton of time and effort into getting her book ready to sell. She has had many many countless people read her proofs and she has had it professionally edited as well. She dedicated her blog to the promotion of her writing and her books. Writing a new post each day, and not short paragraphs I might add. She has worked her tail end off to publish this book and do it right. Yes most people that self publish don't even put an fraction of the effort into their advertising as my friend has. And to them, I say shame.

    If you believe in your book enough you will put in the effort to make it known, with or without traditional publishing. If you would rather just have a proof of your book to sit on your coffee table or by your toilet, then why not? You don't have to publish the book to be able to have proofs printed off. And the books themselves don't cost a whole lot to print, so even without your "free proof" coupon it might be worth looking in to.

  9. I put a book up on Amazon at the beginning of October. I've sold 180 books in six weeks.

    The book is a collection of short stories and novelettes about one main character. Nothing anyone would every pick up.

    It is my opinion is that if you write something really, really good, or really, really successful, the publishers will come sniffing.

    I hate playing a three year waiting game with agents and then with publishers. Life is way too short, at least for me.

    I plan on having ten books up on Amazon by the end of next year, under my pen name: Guy Antibes. Some might know me as Owasm.


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