Sunday, January 19, 2014

The Post Where I Tell The Truth

We all know we support and love indie publishing--small press and self pub. And I want to be super clear before we get started:

I love my job. Writing is what I've always wanted to do and I get to and there is, in my opinion, NOTHING better than that.

But let's look at something we don't always consider: the unfortunate downsides of self publishing/small press.


-You are your own boss. And the job never ends.

I have been on deadline since March of last year. With one month off for major holidays--and I mentored in a contest and prepared a book for release the next month--I haven't had a deadline break in almost a year. I love deadlines--I work incredibly well under them. But the fact is, eventually they get exhausting. And even when you don't have a deadline, as a indie author, you always have something to do: emails to answer, a book to edit, expenses to track, social media, teasers--it's a never ending cycle. You are, essentially your own boss and that means you will always have something to do. If that isn't incredibly appealing? Not the job for you.


-This is not a get rich quick scheme.

 Publishing well takes money--I spend between 850-1500 per book. That is an initial investment and doesn't include mailing prizes, or events. When you think about each book making me just over two dollars a copy--do the math. Yes, you can make a steady income, but the fact is you don't go into publishing for money. Small press royalties are usually a lower percentage without the attractive high price point of you get with traditional. So the initial payout isn't a deterrent, but you still won't be making a ridiculous amount of money.


-Everyone is doing it.

So they are. But there is still a stigma attached to self-publishing and standing out in the ever crowded indie pond is becoming more difficult.


-Trends do matter.

So you don't have to have the approval of an editor to gamble. But when *you* gamble, it's with your money. Sometimes, the book you adore is not what the market demands and that, my friends, is a slightly heartbreaking choice to make. Because it isn't about what you love--not entirely. It's also a business decision. 


-It's all on you.

 Wild success. Crushing failure. The somewhat disconcerting mid list--whatever you do, the results are on you--especially true for self-publishers--because you don't have anyone BUT you making these decisions. That is at times exhilarating, and other times infuriating and daunting.

There are a lot of ways to spin self publishing to make it sound attractive and clearly, I like it. But these are some points bear considering. One last thought:


It is terrifying and thrilling and one of the most rewarding things I've ever done. I am exhausted and work constantly--even at family birthday parties--but I wouldn't change a second of it. <3


  1. Very helpful, thank you for your honesty.

  2. This is all *very* true. You need the same personality type as you would going into any entrepreneurial endeavor, because that's basically what self-publishing is. Going it on your own, taking all the risks, and being ready to "wear all the hats" has to thrill you instead of scare you. That doesn't mean you shouldn't build a group of mentors and assistants to help you - you should! But someone who is an entrepreneur at heart is always champing at the bit to push the envelope on what they can do on their own.

    Good luck to all the authors, on whatever path they choose to take!

    :) Sue