Why I Chose Self Publishing

When I finished the first draft of A Long Walk I was shocked to discover I had something I thought might be worth publishing eventually, with enough revision. I had intended it as more of a long writing exercise, a way to work on my ability to finish stuff, not as a product for release.

As I worked on it I started to research the market, trying to figure out which publishers to approach. Well, to be accurate, which agents to approach. See, I was pretty naive about the industry, but it took me about five minutes to discover that most publishers only accept manuscripts from Agents.

I started looking at things like royalty rates. It turns out that 15% is a damned good royalty rate. That’s a dollar fifty on every ten bucks. That’s for hardcover by the way, first run hardcover books. Also, that’s a really good rate. Most first time authors don’t make nearly that much. Paperbacks are even lower.

The rates on e-books are worse, much worse. Not only that, you pay for delivery.

The idea is that the publisher will handle the editing (if you haven’t already done editing and you are a first time author there is almost no chance an agent will take your book, the quality of writing probably isn’t there yet) and the marketing (publishers rarely do any marketing for new authors).

Then I started looking at self-publishing and what’s involved. So, I would have to market my own work, I would have to pay for editing, I would have to pay to have my own cover created (or do it myself). Lots of work, even a prohibitive amount of work, but other people were doing it.

Then I started reading stuff by the people who were doing it. J. A. Konrath and Dean Wesley Smith seemed to be the top of the heap, so I read what they had to say. A lot of it resonated with me. The biggest piece was the idea that the best marketing you can do is to have a lot of books written. Don’t rely on becoming a best selling author (my first novel is pulp zombie horror, and I have a love for pulp, so that was probably never going to happen for me no matter what I did), rely on selling a few copies of each book you write every month, and write a crapload of books. That way you can increase your profile (you have books show up in many different searches, many different markets) and profit from that sort of sales.

That was it, I was sold. I don’t believe in having a single source of money, because that source can dry up. Having many, many small sources of income that add up to something decent is much, much closer to my preferred model.

So, self publishing it was to be. Now, I’m still trying to figure out what that will mean overall (and there will be many posts on here exploring it).

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