**This blog post was delayed due to a lack of internet access. There’s seems to have been a tradeoff between people expressing their opinions and connect-ability in my area.** I joined a writers group online recently and people have been talking about self-publishing quite a bit. People always mention self-publishing as this new amazing trend in publishing that finally allows everyone to be published, but is it really all that great?
There’s list of pros and cons I’ve been looking at, and to be honest, my bias is I don’t think publishing something you actually care about through self-publishing does you many favors.
You get no recognition, no one marketing for you, no one in your corner. And, I’m not sorry, I like those things.
So, what goes into self-publishing?
Maybe you've written a book and have decided it's fit or public consumption, but is it really? Are you certain you changed every version of your main character's name to that new name you chose halfway through writing? You caught every Mary, Mary's, Mary'd and replaced all of them with Trish, Trishes, Trish'd?
Have you maintained tense consistency? Did you spell 'off' correctly, or did you not catch it because auto-correct can't tell you meant 'off' instead of 'of'?
Before we even got to the publication stage, we have to look at editing. You might look for beta-readers to save you some money, which is fair (and I've done this), but is it the most efficient use of your time? Yes and no, depending on what you're looking for and what your story needs.
A beta reader isn't really paid enough to deal with your shit. They'll help you out, but they may not (read: likely won't) catch and point out the errors that are going to stop your okay-ish book from being a great novel. That's not their job, a beta reader is only there to read and see if the book is interesting and able to read logically.
Then, once we're done with editing, you need a cover. Covers are wayyy easier with places like Unsplash and Canva, where you can easily find images and make free book covers.
Are these book covers amazing? Not really.
Do you run the risk of someone else having your cover? Yep.
I'd recommend using the free editing tools you can find online and creating your own cover, if possible. This is definitely a stage where you can save lots of money though; you'll just pay in time instead.
Something I had not thought about before were ISBN costs and why you want one: Bookstores stock books with ISBNs.
Can you get a free ISBN? Sure, but it's not all that great. Basically, if you want your book to be taken seriously by bookstores and publishers later on, you need a credible ISBN.
Here is a great site that discusses the difference between ISBN's and free ISBN's and why having a KPD ISBN makes your book look sketchy.
How much is an ISBN? Well, let's check Bowker, where ISBNs are sold. One ISBN will run ya 125 dollars, and ten will cost 295USD.
Make that make sense.
Also, I've heard from a few writers now, that moving from self-publishing to tradition publishing is pretty hard. Seems like you choose one and stick with it, and if you want to bounce from one to the other, you go from traditional to self. It's easier.
Now, onto prizes...
Prizes are nice (I've just found out I've been nominated for the Pushcart Prize!!!) and I want them. I want them all. And you probably do too.
Here is a list of prizes for self-publishing. Note how many of them offer you the chance to be considered by literary agents, thus once again suggesting that self-publishing is not the most 'dignified' way to go.
Note that these do NOT include making the New York Times bestseller list or the Nobel prize in literature. That's unfortunate, and it's a shitty distinction to make between self and traditional publishing, but it is a reality.
Self-publishing seems like it can make you more money, you get more royalties after all, but you are going to have to market yourself, pay for your own ads, advertise yourself to bookstores, etc.. So the upfront cost is much higher, with no guarantee of success.
With traditional publishing, there is an advance, and someone handles all that pesky marketing and bookstoring and ISBNing for you. Which is nice.
I'm not saying it's fair or right, but self-publishing also comes with the bias that you couldn't write 'good enough' for a real publisher to notice you. This isn't necessarily true, but it is something to think about.
Does that mean I won't self-publish? Not necessarily, but it does mean I'mma be hella cautious. I'm also not going to publish under the name Mea Andrews for many of these things as I experiment with self-publishing.
-With everything going on where I’m at, my connection to the internet had become sparse (I’ve even written this blog post in a word document and C+P’d it on over since my connection never lasts that long) and my uploading of written work has had to change.
Where Nightmares Roam was supposed to have 1500 words uploaded a day for four months. Luckily, I got to complete one full month before the internet connection became almost completely unstable.
I’m looking into alternatives for internet access.
This means that WNR will spend at least December on a twice a week upload schedule. A new chapter should even be uploaded today if I’m lucky!
This is an ongoing problem at the moment and some of my writing for this project requires research that China’s Bing is pretty shit at, so that may also influence uploads.
-I found an editor for my finished novel, so I’m going to be sending that off to them in price-manageable ten thousand word chunks for a few months. In the meantime, I’m editing it one last round in 10k chunks myself before sending them off.
Thankfully, my internet problems do not affect this endeavor.
-Drone Girl is still on hiatus.
-Poetry. Hmmm…I had three poems accepted recently at Olit but have been unable to check my e-mail regarding anything else. I have also been unable to submit work recently, and I’ll be honest the recent circumstances around me have been tumultuous, so I have not written any new poetry in over a month.
I have just found out that my poem, 'Swimming,' with Tipton Poetry Journal has been nominated for the Pushcart prize!!!! WOOOOO!!!!
-Self-publishing endeavors: I have a few things I want to try out, super small projects to even see if the platform is worth using. There will be publishing under an alias. I will not be sharing that here.
Here's a picture of my nomination: