To self publish, or not…

After hours and hours of scouring articles and blogs, I’ve come to the conclusion that there is no obvious solution to the dilemma I face. Self publishing and traditional publishing both have their pros and cons.

Self publishing is bloody expensive if you’re to fall for one of those high-priced packages some publishing agencies are promoting.

You could always publish on Amazon Kindle. But then you’re competing with 4 million plus books. Everyone wants to be an author nowadays. And according to Amazon’s own survey, only 40 authors have made real money using this platform. Added to that, marketing is all left to you. You have to sell copious numbers of books just to eke a living from being a writer. And with most books selling at a paltry 99c, you would have to have the marketing skills of Shylock.

You could, through CreateSpace order print versions. But you will have to ensure that it makes its way to bookstores and do all the promotions to ensure the sales are worth its value in pages.

Or you could pray and hope a publishing house picks it up. Having the backing of a publisher is perhaps the safer route. Not only do they ensure a well-edited and high-quality product, you know they will back you up with the marketing of the book. Getting that publishing contract is the infuriating problem though. And when you finally do, your cut from the pie is the tiniest piece.

With book sales dropping in the past five years in reading countries like the US and the UK, and more books being available, thanks to self publishing, eking out a living as a writer has become a poor man’s career.

A few months ago I was adamant that I would only publish my book through a reputable traditional company. I believed that being picked up by Penguin, Pan Macmillan or Jonathan Ball would validate my ability as a writer. Well, here’s a rethink.

After having trolled the web searching for a ray of hope, a definite finger in the right direction, I find myself at a crossroads.

Should I even get We All Fall Down (leaning toward this title) published?

Two and half years of writing this novel has seen me through some dark, dark days. If I do go the self publishing route and I get my book out there, how many copies will I sell?Probably only to the six people who actually read this blog!!! Will I be satisfied with that?

I spent an entire night tossing and turning, rolling the options around in my head. So I might sell just a few copies on Amazon. I could sweat and slave and market the heck out of the book. Perhaps get a few more sales in that manner. These thoughts swirled about in my head and then  it popped into my mind – what if I’m fated to be like Vincent Van Gogh, not the crazy part – I would never admit to that. But Van Gogh sold only one painting during his lifetime, yet they sold for millions posthumously. Perhaps futurelings would be interested in my book. Thoughts of time capsules, priceless copies, and millions of Rands/ Dollars to be enjoyed by my children, or maybe their children. I know. Ridiculous thoughts. But my nightly woes became a turning point. So WHAT?   So what if  I sell copies to those six readers. I could  dedicate the book to them.

But seriously, I will sell more. I know the story-line is compelling. And while my style of writing might not be everybody’s cup of tea, some might actually find it refreshing. Have a little faith. I convinced myself to take the leap. And so I will.

Amazon, brace yourself for a new bestseller! ( Sjoe! That was  roller-coaster. I must be more like Vincent than I care to admit.)


If you’re also pondering which route to take, read the following blogs  for more insight into the world of book publishing:

Is Self-publishing harming authors & the publishing industry?  Sameer Kamat

10 depressing facts about the book publishing industry Sameer Kamat

I liked this one:

Should you self publish or traditional publish? Nathan Bransford

This was quite detailed as to how to go about self publishing your book:

Become an Indie Writer! The Indie Writer’s Network

Here’s another peak into WE ALL FALL DOWN – Chapter one




3 thoughts on “To self publish, or not…

  1. Let me start with the fact that I agree with you that self publishing has pluses and minuses, as does traditional publishing. Ultimately, it’s up to each author to figure out what’s best. I would never presume to tell someone like you what you should do as the choice is extremely personal.

    That being said, I don’t think that your picture of self publishing is in any way accurate.

    If you write a book in a popular genre and you have a good cover and pitch, there is no reason that your expectation shouldn’t be a lot higher than six copies. There was absolutely nothing special about my first book, and due to many newbie errors, I got a very mixed bag of reviews. Not quite a year since publication, it’s sold almost 300 copies at the full $4.99 price and I’ve had the equivalent of more than 400 full reads through KU.

    My results are not a crazy aberration. A lot of authors’ first novel have done as well or better than mine.

    To be clear, though, I:

    – paid for editing
    – have a good cover that conveys genre and attracts the eye even at thumbnail size
    – wrote in the decently selling genre of epic fantasy
    – I spent a lot of time getting my pitch right

    If you’re seriously considering self publishing, get over to the kboards writers’ cafe and start reading threads.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the advice. I’m basically just plodding through the process. And all the advice I can get, especially from those who have self published, is highly welcomed. I will definitely look at kboards. I really want to get my book out there.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Lol I like the Vincent Van Gogh parody…Mel whatever route you choose your book will be published! Just keep at it and don’t lose faith. Your sheer determination and dedication is truly formidable.

    Liked by 1 person

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