Self Publishing All The Rage? Huh?

Okay, I’ve been hopping around blogs lately and all the talk about this writer going from Self-Pub to Traditional, and that writer turning down traditional pub big $ to self-pub oh my!

Here’s my take, and let me tell you – I know the ropes inside and out. How?


We have choices! Yep, that’s what is going on. Again I say it. Writers should now see themselves as a true business entity. An entity that has the ability to decide what is the best way to sell their work (and each work has a different road to be sold). That work being short stories, poetry, novels, comic books, scripts or whatever. That means that an author no longer has to define the potential of a sale based on one avenue. Now we have many avenues.


I, an African American, who grew up in Washington DC which has been a known to have a diverse group of people desired to read books that identified with my personal struggles in life. Where did I find these books? Many places like, street vendors that sold books written and published by African American Writers, colleges where I attended (since I went to a predominately black college) and Indie bookstores that specialized in those authors – self published African American authors.

Truth is, when I was just a reader (not the writer pursuing to sell her own stuff) I didn’t even look at the books to see who published them. I first checked out the cover, then the back of the book, and a few of the first pages. Viola’ then I’d decide to shell out my cash for it.

Oh, don’t get me wrong, I still purchased mainstream books that were in the bookstores and libraries, but the ones I found at the street vendors, my college, or when an author came to speak – they were gems.

I still own all of those books today – you know why? Because no one else has them. Some of my friends from college even ask me if I still have one or the other.


If you just want to only write and have someone else do all the selling – those days are gone. Sure, famous writers seem to have all the promo – but remember, in life there’s a price for everything. Don’t waste your time hating on someone that’s got something you want – make it happen for yourself!

Authors of all sorts have to do some of the work. Publishers don’t have full pockets and now don’t mind investing in authors that they see are willing to do some of the work. Truth is, my small publisher, doesn’t want a pre-Madonna author that refuses to help promote their book in some way.

For an self-published author to have success, they have to have a decent cover, good book, BUSINESS KNOWLEDGE (so they should research what they are getting into first), and time. It takes time to be successful in the Indie game. My friend who is self-pub invested 3 years of constant marketing care and feeding before she hit number #35 on the NY Times Best Sellers list.


First and foremost I tell you to pursue getting a Lit Agent, then selling your stuff to a large publisher or submit direct to publishers. Before you do that – LEARN THE PUBLISHING BUSINESS! If that road doesn’t work out for you – consider other roads for that ONE piece of work. Then write something else, pursue the above, and it that doesn’t work – consider other roads.

Now, see yourself as a business. Each work you produce has a different road to be sold. Figure out that road for each, but be willing to try them all. You just may find out that those large publishers – are doing the same things to sell their work that you do as an Indie – it just may take you a little more time 😀

~ by LM Preston on March 30, 2011.

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