Thursday, March 17, 2011

To Self-Pub or Not to Self-Pub?

I'm marking calculus papers right now, so unfortunately I don't have time to write a super-inspired writing tip post!

I shall leave you instead with a question I have been pondering for a little while now...

If your novel(s) got rejected enough times and you felt that traditional publishing just wasn't working out for you, would you self-publish/e-publish?




20 comments:

Cherie Reich said...

That's a very good question. If I'd gotten good feedback from agents/publishers but for one reason or another my manuscript was rejected (typically marketing reasons), I might would consider self-publishing. But if it was rejected with little feedback or negative feedback, I'd really have to evaluate my manuscript. The last thing I'd want to do is publish something not ready or not good enough. Personally, I like reputable publishers, including smaller publishers that focus on epublishing. (I say reputable because I had a bad experience with one that wasn't, but others have been great to me.) I'd probably try one of those before taking on the mammoth task of self-publishing.

Rachel Morgan said...

Yeah, the self-publishing route does seem to be seriously mammoth! And I agree - you'd have to know that what you're putting out there is good writing. No point otherwise!

Donea Lee said...

I've seen this topic several times around the blogosphere. It's a good one. I know someone was talking about the "Kindle Millionaires" the other day. Tempting...you just never know what kind of response you'll really get. And there's something to think about your novel if traditional publishers aren't biting. But, if I felt I'd seriously exhausted my best efforts and believed in my story enough, despite rejection, I'd consider it. :)

Rosalie Warren said...

I've already been published 'conventionally' (or whatever it's called now) three times, but my latest novel for adults is only just over 40000 words and I doubt that anyone will want to publish, for that reason. I'm seriously thinking of e-publishing it myself. But if I do, I'll probably have an appraisal of some kind done first - as you say, I'd need to be reassured it was OK.

Lisa Nowak said...

I have a series of books that have gotten good feedback but over five years still haven't sold. All my rejections had come down to marketing issues, not problems with skill or story, so I figured I'd never get anywhere going the traditional route with these books. But I loved them too much to give up on them. With the ebook becoming so popular, I started doing research on self-publishing and liked what I read. I decided to take a crack at it.

Wouldn't you know it, as soon as I made that decision, a small publisher made me an offer. They loved my first book and wanted the whole series. Before I'd started my research, this would have been a dream come true, but now that I'd looked at all the numbers and considered how much control and profit I'd be giving up, I ultimately decided to stick with my self-publishing plan.

I'm sure there will be some people in the traditional camp who will gasp at that, but when I put my emotions aside and looked at it from a business perspective I realized that all I had to gain from the publisher was a small amount of marketing and some validation. Well, I've already got the validation just by having them make the offer, and I'm perfectly capable of doing the marketing myself or hiring a free-lance publicist who won't take the lion's share of my profits.

I'm not saying my choice would be the right one for everybody. You have to have some entrepreneurial savvy, computer skills, and a strong independent streak to pull it off. But I think it's a legitimate option for the right people.

Rachel Morgan said...

Lisa, I remember reading about that on your blog - the offer from the publisher and how, after you thought about it, you turned it down. A brave decision, and I wish you all the best! Hope it works out fantastically for you!

J.L. Campbell said...

More and more I'm thinking about it and having done a little bit of research, I think I might go for it with one of my projects. I'm aiming for year end, and this book will be the one piece of work over which I have total control. That said, I've edited this book several times already, have several more to do before I'm happy and then I have to give it to an editor. Wouldn't want to have a nervous breakdown over not putting out the absolute best that I can.

KarenG said...

I think a lot of it depends on the book. And on the author and all that. There's no magic formula for success either way but requires a lot of hard work. If I didn't have a publisher myself at this point I would seriously consider it.

Theresa Milstein said...

I wrote a vampire YA paranormal that I got a lot of compliments on, from agents and editors. But nobody wanted to take a chance on it because... vampires. I got really tempted to self-publish. Looked into it and everything. But to do it right, I'd have to spend some $ and time promoting. I wasn't sure if I wanted to blow my "debut author" status on something I wasn't sure I do well with.

Maybe in the future. In the meantime, I keep writing and submitting the traditional way.

Good luck with grading!

Claire Gregory said...

Hey Rachel- I went to a publishing workshop a couple of weeks ago here in Australia where the major publishers were all in support of self-publishing. They say the industry is in such a crunch at the moment that not all the books worth publishing will make it through the gate, and that frustrates them immensely. They love to see that people are taking the initiative to get good work out there regardless.

I'm not so sure about my own feelings on it. At this stage, I don't think I'd ever consider self-publishing- I don't think I'll ever have the time to commit to making it work by promoting and publicising. But I definitely think it's the right choice for an increasing number of people.

David Powers King said...

As an absolute last resort after I'm 50? Probably. Until then, I'm trying my best to write something that will be noticed and desired of a publishing house. I've always liked the printed page. I'd like to see my work in that formate someday, if not soon.

Good luck on those papers. Sounds brutal.

Rachael Harrie said...

What a great discussion you've got going Rachel. I think I'm with Cherie, I'll do everything I can to go down the traditional publishing route before I try self-publishing.

Hugs,

Rach

Libby said...

As long as I thought it was good enough then I would self-publish. It would be difficult and you'd have to work very hard at promoting but indie filmmakers and DIY artists and musicians have been doing this for years.

Hart Johnson said...

I think Cherie said MOST of what I think on the matter. I think there are some very good reasons to opt for self-publishing and they really ARE marketing things... sort of wonky genre issues, so nobody knows where you'd fit... that LENGTH thing? Totally legitimate point. I am reading a self-published now that is 158 pages... to long for a novella to short for a novel--I'm sure that was huge in this authors rejection trouble, because it is written well.

BUT, the lack of gatekeeper means a lot of stuff gets out there that has no business being out there--USUALLY it is just because people self publish way too early and the book COULD have been made good, and then there is some percentage that really is just garbage. I'd need to have gotten feedback like 'this is fantastic, but I really don't know how I'd market it'. (I have some adult books with KID MCs that I've considered may reach this point eventually--though I am going to work my tail off to get them published traditionally first)

Faith said...

It's possible... and I agree with a good number of the commenters. If it was a marketing issue, a 'heat of the market' issue, maybe. I'd want to be sure that the product was good enough before ever sending it out into the world with my name on it.

Madeleine said...

I am reluctant to self publish because I have seen 2 self published books that were sadly medocre, so I would want validation from someone in the business, first, before committing. :O)

Rachel Morgan said...

Perhaps one possiblity is this: if you can manage to traditionally publish your first novel (or several novels), then after that if you have work that your publisher wouldn't want to take on based on marketability issues (or some issues that WASN'T "this is a bad book") then it may be easier to self-publish at that point. People will already know your name and know that you've written decent stuff in the past, and you'll know more about the whole business, having already been through it the "traditional" way.

Cally Jackson said...

I'm seriously considering self publishing my WIP, mainly because of word count. It's well over the word count that publishers will accept for YA but still, in my humble opinion, a great story. I don't see why it shouldn't be available to readers who like longer books just because traditional publishers see it as too risky. But I will only self publish if and when I'm sure it's good enough. I don't want to tarnish my writing reputation with something less than awesome! :-)

Wendy Tyler Ryan said...

Yes! Tee hee. You and one other had 'daughter' as a suggestion for me so I am drawing one of your names out of a hat tomorrow. Stop by later Monday to see if it was your name we drew.
-Wendy

Michael Di Gesu said...

Yes,

I am really considering publishing my first novel. I am going to give it another round of queries and if nothing happens that will be my next step.

Michael