Wednesday, November 7, 2007

My New Attitude About Self-publishing

Today’s blog will have to be short. It’s actually already tomorrow, so I’ve officially missed today’s (yesterday’s) blog. Whatever. It’s 12:40 a.m., and I’m ready for bed.

I never wanted to self-publish my work. As I’ve waited for query after query to be answered by agents and publishers, and years have gone by with my projects unwritten and unpublished, friends and acquaintances have asked me, “Why don’t you just self-publish?”

“I don’t want to.”

Sounds like a simple enough answer, right? Well, I didn’t. But then I went ahead a produced a few booklets (short books) to sell at the back of the room when I was speaking. Of course, I was speaking on the topics of the book I was trying to get published, so the booklets were like mini versions of these books. And why was I speaking on these topics? To build a platform. I didn’t see these booklets as self-publishing ventures, but they were.

Recently my friend, Karen, got all excited about e-book publishing. She got me on board and I did some research and realized that it’s pretty simple. And pretty cheap, too, compared to what I pay at Kinko’s, my personal publishing house. (Michael, the night manager there is my publisher; he seems pretty vested in my success.)

It wasn’t until I got that bee in my bonnet that I wrote about yesterday, however, that my attitude about self-publishing really changed. When I decided that I just wanted to start writing again, when I decided that I was tired of wondering who the heck I was and to be who I knew I was, and to write, it dawned on me: If no one reads what I write, what the sense in writing?

I’ve always wanted to help others through my writing. How can I do that if they can’t read my writing?

I could be sitting her until doomsday waiting for an agent to sell my book to a publisher or for a publisher to buy my book from me. I’m better off going ahead and publishing my book any old way I can. Then at least someone might read it. At least they’ll have a chance to read it.

And, get this…here’s the really great part. If I sell enough books, a publisher might actually come looking for me! Yes, that’s right. If I can prove that my book will sell, the publishers will be knocking on my door for a change!

Plus, in the process of selling the book and promoting the books through talks, workshops, teleseminars, articles, etc., I develop – you guessed it – a platform. (Yes, I am back to being a promoter and a marketer.)

I remember now my agent’s husband telling me to go out and promote one of my booklets, which I want to expand into a book. He told me to come back in six months or more when I had done a good job of this. As part of my promotion he suggested that I go ahead and expand the booklet into a book and sell it any form I could – in a binder for $20, as an e-book, as a self-published book on – and in any way I could – back-of –the-room sales, through my web site, special promotions, etc. Funny…at the time I was just annoyed that he wouldn’t peddle the book to publishing houses for me right then and there. Now, I see that I can write the book (be a writer) and publish it (so people can read what I write), and in the process I might actually accomplish that platform he wants or convince a publisher the book will be worth its time and money. And, I might make a lot more money off that book in the process than I might waiting for my royalty checks from a publishing house. (Not to mention that my agent will take a cut out of those checks before I ever see them.)

So, when someone asks me why I don’t self –publish my writing, my answer now will be, “Why don’t I? But I do! Every chance I get.”

(And you should, too.)


Linda said...

I have a friend who self-published and she is happy with the result. She used the books to market her business and increase her prices. Clients never ask, at least they never ask me, who my publisher is. They are just impressed that I wrote a book. The same applies to my friend.

Nina Amir said...

There's just a huge time lag between when you get that contract from a publishing house and when your book actually hits the stores. And then there is the difference in what you get paid -- or even if you ever get paid. I still would love to be picked up by a publishing house, don't get me wrong. In the meantime, I'm not waiting around anymore. (And that's a huge change in attitude for me.)