The Self-Publishing Debate by Olivia London
My mother called yesterday, with what she hoped would be very helpful news.
“Honey,” she said, her voice somersaulting over the phone, “I was watching Anderson Cooper’s show and he interviewed a writer named Amanda Hocking. Have you heard of her?”
“Yes, Mom. And I know what you’re going to say next.”
“She’s making a fortune! Now, why can’t you do what she did and self-publish your books?”
I have explained to my mother countless times why I prefer developing relationships with publishers and editors as opposed to buying banner ads for books that may or may not be good.
When an editor rejects one of my stories, I know I still have work to do. When a publisher I consider to be the world’s best purveyor of erotica accepts my work, I not only feel a sense of accomplishment, there’s a stamp of validation not often attendant with self-aggrandizing efforts and a satisfying way of belonging to a community.
“Well, if you won’t self-publish, will you at least start buying lottery tickets?”
“Thanks for the vote of confidence, Mom. Gotta run!”
I feel guilty when the call ends, knowing that my mom has made a lot of sacrifices for her children. She, like most mothers on the planet, wants nothing more than to see her offspring happy and successful.
And I’ve caused her nothing but heartburn. Not only do I refuse to self-publish, I have never once bought a lottery ticket. I’m simply the kind of writer who plods along until her hair turns gray reveling in modest triumphs along the journey.
Just like I don’t begrudge anyone his or her literary success, I don’t resent people who win the lottery (except for this one obnoxious guy in Michigan who, after winning two million dollars, had the nerve to find some weird loophole which allows him to keep collecting welfare checks).
In the current issue of The Writer (www.WriterMag.com) you can read about “6 Self-Publishing Success Stories.” Anyone looking to self-publish can benefit from reading this article; it’s full of helpful tips and inspiration. And I can’t help but admire authors who have stories to tell and will do whatever it takes to get stories to readers, no matter the cost.
Cost is a big consideration. CreateSpace seems like an affordable way to go, but there’s still the cost of distribution and advertising. Do you have $575 to pay Kirkus Reviews and can you afford to hire editors and graphic designers? If you have a story to tell and a little disposable income, the shifting tides of the publishing industry may reward your efforts.
Anyone still holding fast to the cliché “sex sells” should try writing erotica for a living. There are some very talented people writing steamy stories but just like with any other genre, it takes years to build an audience and a steadfast commitment to craft not to give up and throw in the towel, (or, ahem, hand towel).
I’ve had a few unsavory experiences with people I don’t believe should be publishing newsletters let alone books, but those experiences only served to make me exceedingly grateful for the wonderful publishers and editorial contacts I have now. So, while I’m not knocking self-publishing, I doubt it will ever be an option for me.
To keep the writing process rewarding, I need to keep establishing relationships with publishing professionals as well as keeping readers interested.
Thanks for reading!
Olivia London is the author of the story collections San Francisco Lovin’ and San Francisco Bliss, both published by Renaissance E Books and available from Amazon.com. Titles available from Xcite Books include Healthy Addictions and Soul Bumping. The author may be reached at email@example.com.