OLD POST ALERT! This is an older post and although you might find some useful tips, any technical or publishing information is likely to be out of date. Please click on Start Here on the menu bar above to find links to my most useful articles, videos and podcast. Thanks and happy writing! – Joanna Penn
I have been getting a lot of emails recently about self-publishing, so I just wanted to clear up a few points! I also wanted to smooth relations between traditional publishing and the growing indie author movement. I don’t think these two are mutually exclusive – they are on the same continuum. There is room for all of us. We are all bonded by the love of books and reading. So here is my own perspective.
Firstly, I love self-publishing as an option! It is fantastic to be able to hold my latest book in my hands and send copies to my Mum and sell some of them on Amazon.com. Brilliant! I also love ebooks, cross-media, podcasting, blogging and all the other adventures in publishing that we can have these days.
But the reason I personally chose to self-publish is this.
Once I had finished my first book, “How to enjoy your job”, I started the process of finding a traditional publisher. In Australia, there are very limited options in terms of agents and publishers.
I tried the query letter approach and had rejections. I read books on how to do the best query and best proposal letters. I went to workshops with editors, agents and publishers and felt despair. I spent time and energy chasing traditional publishing. I felt miserable and shut out.
Then I discovered Lulu.com and decided not to wait any longer. I decided to spend my energy on promotion and platform building instead. I hate the negative energy of discouragement. But I love action and learning and experience!
So I went on the offensive. I got national TV coverage, national newspaper coverage and won an award for book marketing. I did a book trailer and wrote stacks of articles. I made a blog for the book. I sold print books through Amazon.com and also got my book for sale in India at Pothi.com. I now give away the ebook for free taking the example of Cory Doctorow. I have a database of people who download my free “Enjoy Your Job” workbook .
Basically, I have been doing everything I talk about on this site. I discovered along the way that I LOVE the promotion and the marketing that goes along with the writing, and the adventures that I can have in publishing. I love the people I am meeting. I love the authors who are out there self-publishing and making it happen, who are not being depressed by rejection. I started this blog because of the amazing and exciting things I am learning myself. I am not an expert. I am experimenting as well. It’s a brilliant time to be an author. I truly believe that.
But I also LOVE print books, and still dream of the 10 book deal with a big publisher (like Gary Vaynerchuk) I want to be Jack Canfield, a mega successful self-help, non-fiction author. I want to be Paulo Coelho, prolific spiritual author with a huge following. I want to be J.C. Hutchins, on the edge of the cool gaming, cross-media world. I will be Joanna Penn, self help author extraordinaire!
But I am still learning my craft and honing my own message. So I continue to self-publish (my next 2 books are on the way to Amazon right now) because I still prefer to spend my time writing and promoting (and blogging and interviewing!) rather than chasing traditional publishers.
This is a personal post about my own journey. So why do you self-publish? (or continue to chase publication?)