This week in the world of self-publishing:
Some writers get an early start, and as Britney Tabor of the Denton Record-Chronicle notes in this December 3rd article on fifteen-year-old self-publishing advocate Brittney Dear, a little help doesn’t hurt. After moving from a fourth-grade essay on snow leopards to writing full-length novels, then battling her way through the dreaded-but-inevitable Writer’s Block, Dear faced yet another challenge (and one we’re probably all familiar with on this blog): overcoming the know-how barrier to moving her book from manuscript into published book. She turned to an expert, Tabor records, and “Rocky Callen, a published author and book coach from Maryland, gave Brittney advice on self-publishing her first book. She referred her to editors and illustrators and gave her marketing pointers.” With this help, Dear (who writes under the nom de plume Brittney Kristina) worked “six-, eight- and 10-hour shifts three to four days a week as a lifeguard in Prosper and teaching swim classes […] to pay editor and illustrator expenses for the book.” Dear is already enjoying success as her book (Forsaken) finds its target audience, Tabor says, but it isn’t about the money. Instead, Dear hopes her story “inspires teens to do anything they set their minds to.” Here’s hoping, Brittney!
(Bear with me a moment on this one:)
Last Saturday, author Simon Abah (who has contributed to news outlets as diverse as the UK’s Guardian and Olaitan Ajiboye) voiced the concerns of many when he wrote in the Nigerian paper Leadership that “Book-shelves today are full of works by self-published, self-approved writers whose standards are dismal.” And while Abah is specifically seeking to address a problem he perceives to exist in the Nigerian book market, who among us indie authors hasn’t heard this sentiment expressed somewhat closer to home, about what we do? The reason I think it’s worth including Abah’s article in this week’s news roundup is to highlight exactly why this concern is ill-founded.
Where does Abah, and where do all those other nay-sayers go wrong? They think the primary reason to self-publish is to avoid rejection. Says Abah (case in point): “How can you be an effective writer if you do not suffer rejections leading to reworking of first, second and countless drafts? People who avoid this tortuous route do not have the writing spirit, aren’t confident of themselves and do not understand the concept of patience as a virtue.” But a self-published author might clue Abah in to one simple fact: self-publishing is no easier a route than traditional publishing! Indie authors face equal, if different, barriers to entry into the publishing market: financial barriers, barriers of time and energy, barriers that can only be overcome by intensive research and application to marketing expertise, skill in self-promotion, and the readiness to put everything else on hold to get the book to its ideal readers. In fact, we say an “Amen!” to Abah’s point that we ought to base our “writing efforts on conviction rather than commercial necessity,” that we should “not let insincerity become the hallmark that carries [us] into the future.”
Here’s some news: self-publishing makes room for more authors to hold true to their original visions for their books––to remain sincere––than any number of rejections might do.
In a December 4th article for HuffPost Books, self-publishing author Kristen Houghton (of HuffPost’s ‘The Savvy Author’ and Cate Harlow Private Investigation series fame) lays the groundwork for a beautiful argument to choose self-publishing this holiday season––and incidentally, provides the perfect rebuttal to our previous news item. She takes the time to define and describe the distinction between self-publishing, hybrid publishing, digital publishing, and “boutique” publishing––all of which intersect in various ways, but occupy different axes on the indie spectrum. “Major upheavals and changes in publishing benefit authors who now have choices other than the traditional press,” she writes. “Publishing houses have staffers to read proposals and manuscripts, teams of editors, cover designers, book layout designers, printers, and distributors; all this is done with no certainty that the book will find its audience. They’re hesitant to take a chance.” But, as we’ve mentioned before, it’s not all about rejection. The fact that “you are in charge […] isn’t a bad thing. It’s your business and you are the CEO and CFO of the company.” To start your week on a high note, check out the rest of Houghton’s article at the link.
As a self-publishing author, you may find it helpful to stay up-to-date on the trends and news related to the self-publishing industry.This will help you make informed decisions before, during and after the self-publishing process, which will lead to a greater self-publishing experience. To help you stay current on self-publishing topics, simply visit our blog every Monday to find out the hottest news. If you have other big news to share, please comment below.
ABOUT KELLY SCHUKNECHT: Kelly Schuknecht is the Executive Vice President of Outskirts Press. In addition to her contributions to the Outskirts Press blog at blog.outskirtspress.com, Kelly and a group of talented marketing experts offer book marketing services, support, and products to not only published Outskirts Press authors, but to all authors and professionals who are interested in marketing their books and/or careers. Learn more about Kelly on her blog, kellyschuknecht.com.