A site-specific instillation A Sudden Gust of Wind by Serkan Ozkaya.
21c Museum Hotel, Bentonville. – Photo by Samantha Baker

So, I’ve started researching self-publishing. I completed the manuscript for my first novel a year or so ago and began querying it to agents and publishers right away, knowing that it could take a while for anyone to even look at it, much less get back to me. I racked up a few rejections- not a ton, but enough to feel like I’d given it a college try.

I was (and in truth, still am) hopeful that my work might catch the eye of someone with more experience and know-how in the world of publishing who could guide me through the process. I didn’t know what the steps were to get my story from words on a computer screen to pages in a printed book: editing, formatting, cover design, marketing- the words all drifted in the ether in a kind of nebulous web of Things-That-Needed-Doing that I had no idea how to do. Yet.

After a while, I came around to the notion of self-publishing. A plan formed in the back of my head to release the book online in a regular series of free chapters. Even after an extensive re-write, the story is quite long, and very episodic. It might do nicely as a weekly or bi-weekly release. And I could maybe offer a Kindle version for the lowest possible cost for anyone who wanted to read the whole thing at once…

I let the idea sit for a week or two to see if it would go away. It didn’t.

So, now I’m researching self publishing. I’ve begun by seeking out some podcast- the first few have all been about the State of the Industry and casually throw around terms like “KU” and “ad revenue” and “perma free” and so on that I’m still trying to learn, but so far the more I hear the more I like my options.

It might be time to start writing out a Plan.

~ by Gwydhar Gebien on October 15, 2020.

10 Responses to “SelfPub”

  1. I researched…sort of…self-publishing, too. From my limited internet understanding, it’s about investment. Like being a self-employed business manager or slaving away for some bigger brain who pays you dividends until the business runs dry and you get liquidated with the former equipment and assets which are no longer of much value.

    What I vaguely recall is an investment of about $3,000 to get a sample batch of about 24 copies of your book for first-list friends/customers and then production begins on bigger quantities of copies from which you get 90% of profits, losing solely printing costs? Versus professional agent/publisher publishing, in which you let others take care of everything except the original work’s creation–which you’ve done before you hand over the paperwork (ha)…and you get roughly 10% of profits, if you’re lucky…sometimes you get a lump sum of $3,000-8,000 for your part before you sign off profits to the publisher.

    Is that your assessment?

    • I’m still just starting my research but it looks like most of self publishing focuses on ebooks and digital release with print-on-demand for hard copies when necessary: so it DOES take some capital to get yourself started, but you don’t have to commit to a big print run and then figure out how to store it/ship it/sell it. Advertising and building a reader list seem to be key.

      • So, in essence, uphill battle or roller coaster of maybe. I’m still unsure how to handle my own books. But I have people who are eager for me to publish…without even seeing a sample…that’s both exciting and unsettling, because I keep feeling “hype” is luring me to fail.

      • It’s definitely a risk, but if you have the follow through to write a book there’s no reason why you shouldn’t have the follow through to publish it. What genre do you write?

      • Currently, I am building a mini-series of…well, they are hard to define. 🙂 And, the formula is yet a personal secret. But, I guess you could say they are fantasy adventures. Each a bit different from the next.

        As for the “follow through,” I find myself thinking about J. D. Salinger getting The Catcher and the Rye published and how he freaked out when the publisher suggested he might be crazy. I may have the desire to be published and get people around the world to read my stories in their own languages…but I refuse to sell myself out for some fake “bestseller” status and a fraction of what I could earn from my hard work. At the same time, I am concerned self-publishing might be a costly delay with lackluster results. So, I am biding my time, watching the signs, waiting for the sun to crest over the pyramid… Looking for the right partnership to see me through to a favorable result.

      • I wanted to add…the above is the main project. But, I also have previously mentioned, surely, that I have 2 collections of short stories (currently unfinished) which are a bit like the mildly humorous side of the Twilight Zone….4 books of erotica short stories which follow a certain theme without being a series…and a supernatural miniseries for which I have a cool combination cover idea. But, almost all of my book (plans) are incomplete.

  2. I thought I might have discussed this with you back when I took a one-day publishing class. I spoke with a guy who was pro-professional publishing, who had published a sports book he composed. But, he was so closed-off to self-publishing that all he was good for, for me, was a list of agent and publishing services, like a mini-phonebook or Google search. Some class, telling everyone to just fork over their work to…someone. Now, everyone give the guy 20 bucks.

    • It does seem to be a pretty divided topic- I can see the merits to both sides but I like having a direct relationship with readers so self publishing is starting to gain traction.

      • It’s an investment early on but, possibly, more beneficial to the author…at least, in terms of income. Yet, I suppose, the pro route gives you more likelihood of being advertised around the globe…provided you have a good relationship with the publisher and/or agency that assists you… [I’d suggest talking with people with experience from both paths. I just don’t know anyone, personally, in that position.]

      • From what I’m learning there are great ways to be seen around the globe in Self publishing platforms too. Pro publishers can certainly put more money behind you, but only if they choose you book to be the one they really feature out of their catalogue

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