Self-Publishing: What I’ve Learned So Far

When I decided I would write a book, I had a general idea of what it would take to accomplish that: a computer, a few months, and an editor. About halfway through the process of writing my first draft, I started to think about how I would share this story once it was done. To self-publish or not to self-publish? That was the question.

Having only been a published author for a little over a month, I am in NO WAY an expert at all on self-publishing. Anything I say in this article is strictly from my experiences so far. If you decide to self-publish, I can guarantee you will have a different experience than I have. There is no set in stone right way to do this. You have to figure out what works for you and go from there.

Here are my self-publishing pros and cons. In a year, I’m sure these will have changed some. Maybe I’ll write another one of these articles then. But for now, here are my thoughts:

Pros to self-publishing

  1. (Monetary) Freedom: I set the price of my book. I keep 65-70% of the sales of my book.
  2. (Story) Freedom: I don’t have anyone telling me that my book needs to follow a certain theme or include a certain arc so that it will sell X amount of copies to ____ audience. My story is 100% my own. I am fortunate enough to have found an editor that supports my story and my vision for where it will go, and her suggestions only aid me in sticking on my path.
  3. My husband: I am fortunate enough to be married to a graphic designer. What does this mean for me? Free cover art and ebook formatting! Now, I realize that not everyone can marry a designer or be friends with one, so this is a very limited “pro.” For me, though, this is one of the main reasons I felt comfortable going the self-publishing route. While I’m not the one designing my cover and laying out my book, if something doesn’t go right, I know where the designer sleeps. 😉
  4. Ease: This might seem like a throwaway point, but it’s definitely one I claim. While it may be potentially dangerous for some, I love having full control over when and where my books will be published. It allows me to work at my own pace without the unneeded pressure of a release date looming over my shoulder.

Cons to self-publishing

  1. You’re on your own: You are your own agent, publicist, and publisher. You have to become incredibly gifted at constantly changing hats. Want your book to do well? You better have a solid marketing plan set up that will work well around your writing schedule (if you’re trying to get started on a follow-up book or brand-new project).
  2. Getting your book reviewed: Reviews help sell books. Period. This was one of the hardest things for me to grasp at first, and then I was looking all over the place for a solution. Then I was directed to the miracle that is Goodreads. There are so many review groups on there that will give you an honest review in exchange for a copy of your book. Take the day and invest the time in joining the groups that best suit your genre.
  3. Sales figures: There have been plenty of times where I’ve logged onto Amazon or Barnes & Noble or iBooks, looked at my daily sales, and felt really discouraged. This kind of ties in with #1. I don’t have someone to constantly plug my book. It’s all on me. I’ve arrived at a place where I realize that 1) this is my first book, and no one knows about me and/or cares about me yet, and 2) I’m doing this because I love it. This isn’t my full-time job, even though one day I would love it to be.
  4. Getting the word out: This is different from #2. I promise. When I say “get the word out,” I mean be featured on blogs or websites, whether it be an author interview or book review or both. I’ve been very fortunate to find a few very awesome and courageous people over the past few weeks who have agreed to take the time to talk about little old me and my book baby. I can’t tell you how many emails and contact forms I’ve filled out, but it’s worth it when I get that one response back after a week of submissions. Just put your head down and keep digging. Eventually, someone will bite.

So there you go. Like I said, I’m no expert. These are just a few things I’ve dealt with or come to realize over my infant stages of self-publishing development. Let me know if you have anything you’d add to either list!


The Mirror Stage is available now on AmazonBarnes & Noble, and iBooks.

6 thoughts on “Self-Publishing: What I’ve Learned So Far

  1. So, I’ve found that you don’t know how much you know until you meet someone who knows nothing. These are some great insights that took me a lot longer than a month to understand. I would just add that book 2 helps sell more of book 1, book 3…etc. Good luck! 🙂

  2. Pingback: The Writing Process: Naming Your Characters | J.J. Stone

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