Why I never even tried

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The road for an author splits into two at some point: traditional publishing, versus self-publishing. The writer has to make a choice, and follow through.

I took the decision to go self-published after a lot of thinking. I never even tried to send a manuscript to agents or publishers, because I had heard of the awful rate of success for people doing so. I didn’t want to waste months, or years, chasing after people who only take 1 to 3% of the requests.

I figured, should I one day produce a killer, best selling book (one can dream), then I might change my mind, but in the meantime, I don’t want to write for rejection only and discard all my hard work at the bottom of a cupboard or in the recess of a USB key.

I am also getting some experience through my readers. Their reviews show me the areas I need to work on, and where my strengths and weaknesses lie. How could I get that if I didn’t expose my work to the masses, but only to a bunch of people who might not even offer any word of advice? I think most readers are savvy enough to point out what an agent would as well, and to me, their opinions reflect a more realistic view of the market. I will not insist on the well known story of best selling authors getting turned down by agents many times. Everyone knows that. See my point?

Another key aspect that made me choose self-publishing was the marketing aspect. In all my naivety, I believe that agent equalled squat to do for marketing, they did all the hard work, and you could concentrate on the job at hand: writing. But oh no. Unless you are a very famous author, marketing still falls down to you (and even then, successful authors have to put themselves out there, though to a lesser degree.)
I think marketing is the most complicated, back breaking, sweat producing aspect of an author’s life. I don’t like it one bit. Do any of us do, in all honesty.

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Take Twitter for example.  At first, I followed a few people, and I could read every single one of their tweets, which was great, because if I follow someone, it means I am genuinely interested in what they have to share. Then I realized I had to increase my following/followers crew. I’m still picky in my choices, hence why I’m still far from the 000’s most Twitterers (Twitterers?) follow. But now, because I passed the 00’s, I am overwhelmed with the amount of tweets. I miss 80% of them because it would take me forever to read all of them. How can I follow someone if I can never read what they share?? And can they see my tweets when they already follow three thousand others?
I wish I could pick my favourites as well, and have their posts come out on top of my feed. If this is possible, please feel free to tell me how!

The only disadvantage of a self-pubber is the amount of money we have to fork out upfront. Our books are products. They need investment, from editing, to advertising and promoting. And the return is…yeah. I’m thinking long-term investment, it sits better with my thrifty nature!

How did you make the decision yourself to go traditional or self-published? Have you changed your mind since?

 

 

 

 

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7 thoughts on “Why I never even tried

  1. I think in this day and age self publishing is a good alternative to traditional publishing and somehow it makes me happy to hear authors choose for self publishing and the freedom that gives them. I personally believe that self publishing is the future or at least a big part of it. I’ve read so many awesome self published books, which might never be available to the public if we had tor ely on traditional publishers. Yes they are a business and have to make hard decisions, but I also think that means a lot of great books for which there is an audience won’t get published and I think that’s why self-publishing is great. And I think it’s interesting and flattering you hold reviewed in such high regard!

    And yes marketing still falls partly on the author even when traditionally published and I think that’s because readers don’t just follow publishers, but they want to follow the author. If they are interested in your books they will follow you on social media, not just the publisher. And if you want to reach your audience you can use social media for that.

    And concerning your twitter question yes that’s actually possible, you can create a list on twitter and then when you visit that list you only see those. I don’t explain it well and I haven’t used lists myself so far, but have heard of them. Here’s twitter their explanation about lists: https://support.twitter.com/articles/76460#

    Yes self publishing costs money, but hopefully in the long run it pays off. I think that’s the hard part about big investments, you pay a lot of money now and it’s hard to see the result and you probably have to wait a long time before your books get popular enough that you actually win that money back. Then again I do think it’s worth it and important to invest in your books and it will help you. For example a professional looking cover, like yours, already makes such a big difference as it’s the first thing readers see.

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  2. Let me say this before anything else; Thanks so much for following my blog, and also, YAY SELF PUBBED/INDIE AUTHORS! 🙂

    I made the decision to self publish *almost* as soon as it was available. Or at least, as soon as I learned more about it. When I was a kid, I’d hoped to become a child author, so that’s how far back my dream of getting published goes, and when I was in my early twenties, I sent my first manuscript off to be, well, rejected haha! Still, I’d become leery of the traditional publishing route at that point. I’d heard all about how authors who signed contracts had no control over their covers or even, in some cases, the titles of their books, and I wasn’t keen on the idea of giving up any type of control over my work. Maybe I’m a control freak, but I do think I’d be willing to work with someone as opposed to “oh, you don’t like it? Tough cookies, shut up and write another story for me to make money off of.”

    So self publishing was definitely the way to go for me. It’s certainly a lot of work, but writing is a passion, and I’m fairly content to do it. Marketing is definitely a pain in the butt, but I still spend most of my time writing my stories anyway lol!

    As for twitter, I rarely use it for the same reasons you mentioned. I have one, and I have a lot of followers, but I’m not very active and don’t really feel like taking the time out to make a list. When it comes to social media, I’m just more active on facebook, and find it to better suit my needs. 🙂

    Anyway, great post! Self publishing isn’t for everyone, but it’s always there if someone wants to try the traditional route first and continually gets rejections. 🙂

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    1. Exactly. I think it must feel disheartening to get rejected all the time, and in the end, harder not to take it personally (I know I would). Publishers are what they are: businesses. They take on what sells already, and rarely take a risk. I believe us Indie author can push the boat, blend genres and go outside the box publishers want our novels to fit into.
      And you’re right, it’s liberating not to have someone breathing down your neck, urging you to write a story that has to follow their own guidelines rather than yours.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Right! We’re in a business of selling books, but we’re also pursuing a passion, and I’d honestly rather be the starving artist happy with what I’m writing than miserable in my art and famous for something I personally don’t care for.

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  3. What I find the hardest, is to promote my book without shoving it down people’s throat like an annoying, repetitive advert. As a natural internet lurker, I also have to go against my instincts and expose myself a lot more. Not that easy either! 🙂

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