Tuesday, February 18, 2014

To Self-Publish or Not to Self-Publish?

Now isn't that a pretty cool cover design?

The Hybrid Author

I did it! I set a goal to self-publish my book this year and I finally met that goal in January. 

Now, I am a hybrid author. What is a hybrid author?

It means I am published with a smaller publishing house, OakTara Publishing, AND I also have a self-published book out at Amazon.com...AND I am still looking to be published with a larger publishing house someday. 

What's the big deal? Well, I'll explain.

REAL Authors

I recently attended a writers conference here in Phoenix. This conference was for and about self-publishing. Many of those on the panel of speakers were only self-published and one also had a book contract with Simon & Schuster. 

As they spoke about their personal experiences with the publishing industry, an interesting thing happened. A young man in the back of the room raised his hand to ask a question to the "real" author on the panel. You know, the author with the book contract with Simon & Schuster? Yeah, that one. Nevermind the other author who had 17 books out.  

Uh, huh. That's right. He only considered the contracted author to be a "real" author. And it made me wonder how many others in the room also thought as he did. Well, that "real" author didn't like where his question was headed, so she cut him off. 

She explained to this impertinent young man how all the self-published writers in the room were also "real" and just because they didn't have that coveted BOOK CONTRACT with a big time publisher didn't mean they weren't "real" authors. She went on to detail her experience with her publisher. She said they got into a dispute with a brick & mortar bookstore recently and that bookstore now refuses to sell any Simon & Schuster books...including hers! So now, even though she has that book deal, her books are not being sold at the largest bookstore in the land. And her book was once on the NYT best sellers list. 

Not much of a fairy tale ending! Finally, she explained to that same young man the reasons why she turned to self-publishing: she wanted people to read her books!

BINGO! And that leads to my next point...

Why Do You Write?

Everyone applauded her speech because not only did she shut this young man down, but she lifted so many others up with her encouraging words. 

I don't know about you, but I'm pretty tired how writers look down on other writers just because they have an agent and, well, you don't. 

That makes them a real writer, don't you know? 

No, that makes them pretentious, limiting, and rather boring, if you ask me. 

I write for one reason only: to have my books read. 

If that desire leads to a literary agent or a lucrative book deal with Scholastic Books, then GREAT! If not, that's okay because, guess what? I saw five kids reading my book last week. That's five kids, my target audience, reading MY BOOK. Woo hoo!

And that's why I thank the Lord for giving me this chance for however long it will last. 

If the reason you write is to sign with a literary agent who will then get you that book contract with a big time publishing house, then you go for it!

But if you write to have your books read, then don't limit yourself to just the traditional method of publishing. 

Try self-publishing! I did it with CreateSpace and it was an easy process with a terrific product in the end. So far, my readers love my book! Yay for self-publishing!

There's a variety of other ways to self-publish your work. When I told the writers at the conference my story, so many of them approached me with hope in their eyes. I could tell they had nearly given up and didn't feel they were "real" writers, but my experience gave them a chance to pursue their dreams even still. 

The Sky's the Limit

So, when it's all said and done, don't limit yourself to one way! Become that hybrid author. Self-publishing isn't all that taboo anymore. Millions of writers are trying it because they want their books read. Now! ...not 2, 3, 10 years from now. 

That's why I did it. And that's why I recommend it. 

Your turn: what are your thoughts on self-publishing? Would you ever consider being a hybrid author?


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  1. Here here! And congrats on the new release!!!

  2. Congrats on the new release, and the excellent blog post.

  3. I started self-publishing, too, with Amazon KDP. I love it. Whether some want to admit it or not, I'm a "real author and real writer" and my books are real, too. I love this blog post because I'm so sick of authors who think they're better because they have an agent or are published traditionally. I also have four novels with a small independent publisher. I love being able to write what I what, keep and make my own schedule, select my own titles, my own covers, etc. and even receiving a higher royalty, but best of all, I do have readers who appreciate my writing and are always asking when my next book will be released. I may not be on a NYT best-selling list and maybe I never will, but I'm writing, publishing, and have an audience for my work. Praise God and Amazon for opening doors other publishers shut. Bravo and kudos to you. Blessings for success. Author B. J. Robinson, River Oaks Plantation.

    1. Thank you B.J. Thanks for sharing your story, too. I hope unpublished writers out there gain hope and encouragement. I appreciate it and continued blessings for your writing career!