Thursday, February 4, 2010

Why Don't I Self-Publish? (revisited)

I get this question a lot.  I'm betting just about every person cranking out stories is asked at some time or another why they don't "cut out the middle man" (actually, most of the editors I've met are women) and go it alone?  In fact, it was the first question I answered on this blog, a year ago next week Re-reading that, I find that even though the technology and the market have evolved, my position hasn't changed much.

In answer to a similar question, the always-brilliant John Scalzi wrote a short (and incredibly violent) play for three actors on why a writer would be insane to want a world where publishers were thrown aside in preference of a "Do it yourself" world.  Check it out at his blog "Whatever".

His wife reminds me of a certain engineer I know.


  1. There are a lot of good reasons to self-publish, but one of the best is that you may get picked up by an agent, or a traditional publisher. Is it better to send a manuscript to an agent, or a published book, complete with a "sticky note" that says "1,500 copies sold so far"? Other reasons center on profits and priorities. If you want to get your book out there, then self-publishing accomplishes it. And, if you are careful with your spending, and active and smart with your marketing, you can create a nice cash flow.

    I sold over 2 million books, in 20 languages, and many of them were from my self-publishing efforts. The rest were from a small, independent publisher.

  2. Honestly, there's more validation in having someone else buy and publish your book. If you're lucky and they decide to put some marketing behind it, you're also relieved of having to do all the selling yourself. Really, I'm just the writer. That's all I want to do. Self publishing the Compendium was the only way to go, but I really wouldn't mind if someone else wanted to. And I'm going to do my damnedest to get someone else to publish my novel (and any that follow). But if that fiails, I expect I'll eventually do it myself, just so my friends at least have a copy they can read off line that they didn't have to print out from a PDF! :-)

  3. Maggie, your story would make a great guest post for Pages to type. We don't deal enough with the perils and heights of writing nonfiction and history. (hint hint)


Pages to Type is a blog about books, writing and literary culture (with the occasional digression into coffee and the care and feeding of giant robots).