Tuesday, April 12, 2011

There's More to Self-Publishing Than Meets the Eye

My mind is boggled. There is so much going on in the publishing world right now that it’s almost too much to take in. Almost. The fact of the matter is that there are more opportunities for writers now than ever before. Along with those opportunities come some immense responsibilities. If you are self-published, as I am, there is a mountain of work you need to do to keep your name and your books out there. There is no vast marketing machine behind you. And that impacts your day in a big way.

As an indie writer you need to allocate a certain amount of time every day to working on marketing. Blogging, tweeting, facebook interaction, emails, online forums. Book trailers, covers, beta readers and interviews, blog tours and more. There’s a lot more to self-publishing than simply writing a book and downloading it to a website to turn it into a print or an e-book. This means less time for writing, rewriting, editing, creating.

And while the work sometimes seems daunting, I wonder how much support a new author would get within the cogs of a big publishing house. Celebrities and established authors will always get the most attention, and with the economy being what it is exactly what would a publisher do for someone just starting out anyway?

There’s been a lot of discussion lately on other blogs asking if traditional publishing routes are better than self-publishing and I have to ask the question too. In my mind traditional seems like the Holy Grail. That’s what every writer out there would love to have: a book in print. To see it on a bookstore shelf or in the stacks at the local library would indeed be a heady thrill. I just don’t see it happening like it used to.

Agents are more reluctant to take on untried writers and publishing houses aren’t as likely to be interested in taking a chance on someone new. E-readers are becoming more prevalent and more affordable which allows readers to experience a greater variety in the books they buy. Independent writers generally keep their prices in the lower range which buyers find attractive and reading our stuff.

So for me self-publishing is the way to go. For now. Who knows what the future will bring? I want to write. I want people to read my books. I’m not looking to be a millionaire, I want to write. So my day must be divided up into other areas to allow me that time to write then that’s the price I pay. And readers will get my books and read and enjoy them so my efforts are not in vain.

That’s the payoff for me.

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