|Photo by Gayle Shomer Photography
“If you wish to be a writer, write.”
I remind myself of that constantly, especially when I feel discouraged that my career is stalled. Nowadays, I feel like there should also be some inspirational quotes out there relating to publishing. Two or three years ago, I wouldn’t have even considered self-publishing my own work. But lately, it seems like every time I turn around, I find myself face to face with writers who have taken control of their careers and followed successful and satisfying journeys into self-publishing. I find myself more intrigued and inspired by the prospect each day.
I know that when I first started writing professionally ten years ago, there was still a bit of a stigma attached to self-publishing, particularly through vanity presses that virtually published anything as long as the authors were willing to pay the price.
But times have definitely changed. There are still writers who would prefer to try their hand at traditional publishing first, and that’s perfectly fine. But there are some cases where self-publishing can actually help strengthen an author’s platform or garner enough attention to attract a traditional publisher down the road.
I recently interviewed a local writer who decided to publish her historical fiction novel after she had actually secured an agent. While the agent loved this author’s work and they had a great business relationship, the agent was unable to interest any publishing houses in the book because of the subject matter and genre. Instead of giving up, this author started work on a second historical fiction novel and pursued publishing the book on her own. She developed a marketing plan and drew up a list of book review blogs to contact and even garnered a positive review from the Sacramento Book Review. I checked on Amazon and as of this writing, the book has almost 30 reviews and has an average of 4.6 out of 5 stars.
Now, granted, this author has a full-time day job and writes fiction on the side like many of us, but she was positive and encouraging as she chatted with me about her experience. She did stress that you shouldn’t self-publish impulsively but that it is definitely something writers should consider if they are getting good feedback from agents and editors but are stalled at finding a publishing contract.
While I am in the process of shopping around my middle-grade novel, I’ve also begun considering self-publishing either a novella or collection of short stories digitally. I personally know a few writing instructors who have found success in micro-publishing resource guides as PDFs and it is definitely something I want to explore further as a way to help grow my platform before I hopefully publish traditionally.
Here are a few articles on self-publishing that I think are helpful:
Divergent Paths to Publication
Which Publishing Path is Right for You?
Self-Publishing: The Debate is Over
Have you ever self-published your work? What did you like or not like about the process?
Renee Roberson is an award-winning freelance writer and editor who blogs at Renee’s Pages.