Self-Publishing: Blessings and Woes

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In the article Why You Need to Become an Independent Publisher, Geoff Livingston advocates writers to consider self-publishing; he also shares the valuable things that he has learned in the process. Livingston states that the trend of independent publishing is mainly due to “retaining artistic direction, a higher percentage of profits, and the increasing lack of editorial and marketing support offered by traditional publishing houses”. He offers suggestions on producing an outstanding manuscript and marketing the book after it has been published.

Meanwhile, Joe Belanger discusses the potential disadvantages of self-publishing in his article Self-publishing risks and rewards explored. He points out that independent publishing not only means that authors must be involved in the “creative aspect” of production, but they must also make “a series of business decisions”, which possibly takes up the time that could be spent writing and even leads to unwise decision making without seeking professional guide, which could make authors suffer financially. Self-publishing seems to become more and more popular these days and has certainly presents a challenge to the traditional publishing industry, but as an author, you do need to think twice before taking this path.

Image credit: Copyblogger Media

31 thoughts on “Self-Publishing: Blessings and Woes”

  1. After reading all of the posts on this, I agree with everything except the statement that “anyone can write a book”. That is one thing I will completely disagree with. Can anyone put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard and come up with a book? Yes, anyone can.
    However, writing is not just putting thoughts down on paper. Writing is an art. As authors, you have to become your character. You have to react the way they would react and say what they would say, create the world they are going to live in and make it believable. You have to live the experience in the book, whether through your imagination or through real life.
    You pour your heart and soul into your character or characters and make them a real and believable person even though they are fictitious. You have to make your reader hear their voice and see through their eyes, as if they were living it with the character in your book.
    You do not publish a book on your second draft. Give me your seventh, tenth, or fifteenth draft. I want the one that is so very polished that nothing makes me stumble through it.
    I LOVE Indie authors. I have found so many that write better than the highest paid, traditionally published, agented authors. Yet if they tried to find an agent, they couldn’t because most agents don’t care enough to read what they have written.
    Take J. K. Rowling, infamous author of Harry Potter. She sent her manuscripts to so many agents and it was rejected so many times. Why? I wonder how many agents are kicking themselves now.
    The negative aspect, though, is that everyone does write a book and publishes their second draft and that is where we have those that think they can make a million dollars with their first published book. When they see it doesn’t work that way, it is tossed in the waves of the sea of self-published books and their rolling waves cover those that are AMAZING authors.
    My purpose, as a reader, is to find those shimmering jewels that the sun catches just right. My purpose as a reviewer is to tell others about the jewels I have discovered. I must try and calm the endless waves of water and sand as it sifts through my fingers where lo and behold I find the jewel.
    Self-publishing is a hard route to take. Those that do and create a work of art in written words, I applaud them.

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  2. My book is in editing with a professional right now, but I will probably self publish. I have taken the middle road which is to use professionals to make sure my book is the best it can be, yet self publish so I have a bit of control. Where my fear is…the marketing. It will not be an easy task and a lot of work will have to go in it. Thanks for stopping by (I love company) and I appreciate your sharing valuable information.

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  3. Interesting responses, all. I’m of the wise view that in the many benefits and bummers afforded by self-publishing, the bummers prevail. The ease of self-publishing serves to convince every Tom, Dick, Harry & Harriette that (a) they can write, (b) can produce a book and, worse, an interesting book (c) can produce the next great American novel and (d) can possibly claim fame & fortune.

    Result: A tsunami of drivel, pedestrian (at best) and embarrassing, lame, inane unworkable worthless crap that should’ve never seen the light of day, only the bottom of a certain round receptacle. And I’m being polite! 🙂

    Fortunately, as we’re all aware, self-publishing gives voice and airtime to well-written books that wouldn’t have seen that light of day in the publishing industry of yore.

    Still, all said, the flood of crap outweighs the quality, considerably. You can’t fight the forces of nature, only hope that SOMEONE out there will recognize and appreciate quality writing, if yours happens to be. Sparkly is that gemstone in the literary cesspool afforded by self-publishing.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Thank you for the information on self-publishing and traditional publishing. It is because of work like this that a writer (moi) can make choices and take action the best way possible.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. All very, very interesting. It seems to me that almost anyone can write a book – the really difficult bit is marketing it! Of course that’s rather an exaggeration but basically I think that is the major problem with self-publishing. One just has to cling firmly to the thought that really high-quality work will eventually reach the top of the pile no matter what – fingers crossed!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I agree — and very often it takes more than “high quality work” to get your writing noticed by the readers! That’s why writing is an act of art but publishing must be considered a business enterprise, which takes strategies, networking, and even the ability to identify a good timing for a certain publication……

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      1. Well said. And maybe we should also add – a sheer stroke of good luck coming suddenly out of the blue! I particularly like that idea as It leaves us open to the wonderful thought that tomorrow, perhaps, we’ll check our email and find we’ve received a breathtaking offer during the night which will make us fabulously wealthy and give us world-wide fame!
        “Hold fast to your vision,
        Tho’ grievous the strife.
        For to flesh forth dreams
        Is the prupose of life”.
        (Self)

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Having been published through a more traditional method, I have to say I am glad I went that route instead of self-publishing, at least on my first project. The editor had a wealth of experience, and was really smart in how he pushed me to make my draft better. I didn’t have to worry as much about promoting my book. It doesn’t hurt your credentials, either.

    However, if this isn’t an option and you have the time for all of the other details that go into it, self-publishing is a real option. I am considering it for my next project. If I do, I am glad that I have that initial experience of traditional publishing to guide my way.

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  7. Thanks for following Inspired by Books, and I am glad I discovered your blog. Concerns around whether self publishing is preferable are especially important if you require large numbers of readers — what I love about self publishing is not having to wait – at least not very long – to have readers. I don’t mind so much if the numbers are small, if at least there are people who genuinely care about what I have to say.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Thank you for following my blog. It is a pleasure to follow yours in return. I am an indie author and I think you are right about using too much time to make decisions instead of writing. I spend an inordinate amount of time promoting my work. But it is what I need to do to spread the word since I do not have any help there. Best wishes.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Hi Sherry, thanks so much for following my blog – and for having such an interesting one yourself. I agree with your comments about self-publishing. I’d add that it’s important not to rush the process; to rework your manuscript until it is absolutely as perfect as you can make it; proof read a dozen times for the typos that will surely slip through. And put some thought into marketing. Being a writer is a long-haul proposition anyway, so if it took a year (most likely longer!) to write your masterpiece, make sure it gets published right. We live in interesting times for writers for sure!

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Interesting yet common perspectives in those articles. Knowing several writers who have self-published, it’s my experience that one of (if not the) biggest reasons people are doing it in such numbers is because it’s easy. Anyone can write anything and self-publish in no time. No going through lengthy edits with an agent or editor. No querying process that so many find frustrating and demoralizing. No long wait time for the book to come out. Most of the writers I know aren’t even considering traditional publishing for these reasons; they “… just want it out there, already.” The result? Tons of nigh-unreadable content floating around. It’s a shame.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Great insight, Ron. It seems to me that many authors think as long as they can get a book published, that’s it! But that’s far from success. If they do wish to build up a large readership and actually sell the book, they definitely need to keep working on it instead of just uploading the first or second draft…… It’s understandable that many are trying to avoid the complex — and sometimes irritating — publishing process of many traditional publishers, but i would say that authors must also make sure the quality of their content and layout actually live up to people’s expectation of a readable book……

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Yeah! I agree with you. I have downloaded tons of really BAD books from Amazon that people have self-published that obviously had not been through an editor. Books that are so full of spelling and grammatical errors that they were unreadable. Fortunately, Amazon.com lets you return e-books that you have downloaded for kindle so you don’t lose lots of money on garbage.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Interesting reading. I’ve chosen (self) e-publishing for my first book but may go a different route for the manuscript I am now writing. If you’re interested I have more along this line in my posting The Agony-Ecstasy of Publishing, i.e. My heart beats an irregular staccato; my pulse races; my stomach is queasy. Why am I so stressed? I just e-published my first mystery/suspense. Will people hate it or worse yet ignore it? Why would I put myself through such misery? I’ve accepted this risk for the pure adventure of writing and finessing my own novel; with the hope that others might be entertained by it; and because I am passionate about confronting humanity’s abuse in its many forms.

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