Why Self Publish?

Why am I self-published? Well, firstly, because I’m spoiled. I was just talking to my significant other, who happens to live a half a continent away from me. I had sent him a piece to read and critique, and it took several minutes for the email to go through. I know this because we were talking on video when I sent it to him. We live in an era where even that delay is annoying. Only a couple of decades ago, it would have taken a week or two for a letter mailed to him to get there, and that long for it to come back. The video chat is pretty amazing unto itself, speaking as a SF reader and author.

When I first stepped off the deep end and started sending out stories for publication, I was able to email them to editors, who were doubtless snowed under in pixels with the advent of e-slush. Back a few more years into the past and I would have been mailing printed manuscripts. I have waited weeks and months for a reply to those emails, in this age of seconds counting. Which brings me to the second reason I started self-publishing, my own impatience.

I’m a very impulsive person. I love the ability to write, edit, edit again, create a cover, format, and publish. Given the right impetus (and time, which is a rarer commodity), I can have all of that process done in a matter of days. Also, it is all under my control, and that makes me happy, too. I have read horror stories about stories being edited beyond recognition, covers that looked bad, and authors losing rights to stories for far longer than they ought to have.

It isn’t difficult to do all the different things necessary to publish an ebook, but you do need to take the time to learn how to do it right. There are certain norms that will help you sell your work better and you might not think of without looking into them. I took an online workshop from Amanda Green of Naked Reader Press in self and indie publishing that was an enormous help with getting started.

The other thing I will point out is that I am not strictly self published. I publish under the imprint of a micro press. This keeps my work looking more legitimate, and because I work very hard at delivering a quality product, it sets me apart from writers looking for a quick buck in the burgeoning ebook market.

I’ve run a business for years, and been a writer on a level where I was seeking to learn the craft, for as many years. Even though I’ve only started to publish in the last two years, and I am impatient, I have a high standard. I’m not going to publish everything I write, nor am I going to publish a sub-standard product. Keep this in mind – if you offend your readers, or worse, bore them, they won’t come back without a very good reason.

However, once you have all your knowledge and the product ready, you won’t take long at all to get your stories to readers, freshly written. If you take the time to learn marketing and publicity, you will be selling them and making money before a traditional publisher would even have time to make their first response.

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  1. I self publish because I can.

    I shudder to think of the wasted paper and postage spent over the years, sending stuff to help the slush piles grow. In this modern era I can upload my own work into a deep dark corner of Amazon's servers and hope some wayward surfer stumbles across it. Why, in eight months of self-pubbing, I have made dozens of dollars. That's dozens more than I ever got from the traditional submission process.

    1. And because you have to ability to self-promote, and to never have your work go out of print (or e-bookiness, whatever that should be called) that trickle of income can be treated like a snowball, to grow larger with time. I'm treating my work like my retirement fund. Because I'm largely self-employed (not as a writer) I won't have a cushy pension or investments when my body gives out on me. But I will have a lot of words out there. I just have to make sure they are good ones and well-presented.

  2. While I've never self-published, I see the attraction, especially when it comes to having greater control over your projects. I might mention that a lot of writers seem to want somebody to make a film of their work… even though moviemaking entails almost a complete lack of control over their material. I'm planning on posting on this paradox sometime in the future.

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