Sunday, January 3, 2010

Self-Publishing, Pros and Cons

In the changing world of publishing today, many authors turn to self-publishing. I received a copy of an article in an email today and decided to share an excerpt with you. I don't know who wrote this, but if you do, please let me know so I can give credit. I 'd like to hear what you think about these words on self-publishing.

"When is it not a good idea to consider self or subsidy publishing?

In the first place, let it be said that self-pubbing is usually only a viable business plan for non-fiction authors, not novelists. That's just a general caveat. And by "business plan" I mean, of course, a plan with some potential to recoup the original investment and eventually make a profit.

My biggest caution would be to you authors, particularly fiction authors, who have been trying to get published for less than two or three years, and you're getting impatient to get your books in print. Especially if you've been told your writing is good and getting better. For you, the process of traditional publishing may actually be working for you; i.e. encouraging you to continue improving your books until they become something really good that many people will read.

To self-pub out of impatience may be subverting this process and short-changing yourself of the experience of continuing to grow yourself as a writer. Besides, last I checked, impatience doesn't bring with it a marketing plan. You may be impatient to publish, but if you do, you may end up with the same old problem: nobody's reading your books. First, because they're not good enough, or at least not as good as the competition. Second, because you have no way to sell them."

These words bring to mind a remark made to me by a former student of mine: "Yes, I had no trouble getting the book published. Now I have boxes of books in my basement, but I don't know what to do with them."

Once the books are printed, do you have a marketing plan? We'll discuss that in another post.


Tipper said...

Very interesting points to ponder : ) I just read a book-one of the best I've ever read. I'm left wondering why isn't this book a national best seller-why have I never heard about it before? It was self published-I bet that is why.

Brenda Kay Ledford said...

These are good words of advise concerning self-publishing. Thanks for sharing this interesting article with us.

Glenda Council Beall said...

The term self-publish is confusing these days. A book store owner told me books by Finishing Line Press were considered self-published.
I guess the book has to be published by a large NY Publishing House.
What do you consider "self-published?"

Glenda Council Beall said...

Tipper, that is the sad part of this publishing business. Some books like Marshall's get no promotion because it is self-published. But many good books are published by companies that do no promotion of the books and even if they are good, no one knows to go into Barnes and Noble and ask for them. Publishing and sellng a book now seems to rest solely on the authors' shoulders.