Why I am now Self-Published

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                For those of you who were already familiar with my work, I thought I would take a moment and explain the decision that took me from traditional publishing to my current re-launch as a self-published author. If you are unfamiliar with my work, there might still be a lesson to learn from my experiences. I’ll gladly share them with you. Hopefully, it will help you to make the right decisions for your own work.

                Initially, I published the first two novels in my series with a small publishing house. I won’t name the publisher, but if you are already familiar with my work you probably know. In the beginning, everything was fine. Our working relationship was good and things were progressing well. I won’t go into the problems that led us to going our separate ways. Suffice it to say that we had a difference in opinion and leave it at that.

                I’m very grateful to my former publisher. They introduced me to the literary world and I learned a great deal. I wish them nothing but good fortune. Having said that, we parted on equitable terms and severed our ties. With my rights returned to me, I thought about it a great deal before I made the decision to become a self-published author. It turns out that it was the best possible solution for my situation.

                Now, I have never had anything against self-publishing or self-published authors. Actually, it’s quite the contrary. I have a tremendous amount of respect for anyone who is willing to put forth that kind of effort to get their work out there. The metamorphosis from traditional to self-publishing was a difficult task. Anyone who goes through that process has really gone through the fire. It’s not easy.

                For me, it was difficult to get everything done. I had two previously published novels to re-issue and a completed third novel to edit and release. I wouldn’t have able to do it if it hadn’t been for the above and beyond efforts of my new artist, Phil Morrissey. He really came through for me when the chips were down. Not only did I have to create new covers for all three books, there was formatting, layout, typesetting, interior art and promotional material to make. Basically, I had to start from scratch.

                I lost all of the momentum that I had generated while with my old publisher Because of that, I had to start fresh. That would mean more work than I had expected. The re-launch would task my will, my patience and my nerves. I was having to do everything over. I’m still in the process, but every day, I get closer to my goal. One day, I hope to be in the position to be an author exclusively. For now though, I have to keep my job as a Corrections Officer. Oh well, one day.

                The formatting for both print and electronic editions of the book seemed to be a nigh impossible task. I thought that I would surely have to pay someone to do it for me. Turns out, it wasn’t nearly as difficult as I thought. The first one was tough. The second book was cake. I expect it to keep getting easier, as I go. Typesetting, formatting and layout turned out to be a task that I could accomplish without contracting out to a service. So, you know what that means, right? It means that if I can do it, then so can you. I’d be glad to offer advice, if you need it. Just shoot me an e-mail or a message on facebook. Who knows, I might even do a few now and then as a side venture. Who knows, right?

                Editing was once again the bane of my existence. I have said it before and I will say it again. I hate editing. Editing takes all the fun out of the process. It turns something I love into work. Not to mention that cutting sections of text out or changing entire chapters really sucks. I mean, as an author, I put part of myself into my work. Cutting out pieces of it hurts. Am I the only one who feels that way? I don’t know…maybe I’m crazy. Hmm…maybe.

                The digital age has made it easier than ever before for an author to create and publish their work on their own. If you have the dedication to write a novel, then publishing it is no longer a matter of rejection letter after rejection letter. You can avoid all of that and just publish it. Then you get to learn how to market it. That sucks almost as bas as the editing. I mean, I wanted to be a writer not a salesman. Unfortunately, the reality of the modern age is that in order to become a successful writer, you have to market not only the books…you have to market yourself, as well.

                All I can say is, do your research. Look at what has worked for other authors and read books on marketing, publishing and promotion. Talk to people in the industry. Hell, find writer groups of facebook and other sites and ask questions. You might be surprised who will answer you. I know I will always take the time to help out where I can. There are a lot of authors out there who will, too. Just ask them.

                One of the main reasons I didn’t self-publish from the very beginning was vanity. Yes, I will admit it. It was sheer vanity. I knew I could self-publish at any time. What I needed to know was that my work was good enough to be published by a traditional publisher. I had to know if my work was good enough to stand on its own merit. I guess you could say that I craved validation. Just because I could self-publish my work didn’t automatically make it good. I had to know.

                Now, not everyone will need this sort of validation. If you’re ready to self-publish, then go for it. You have the tools to do so, right at your fingertips. If you choose to go the traditional route, then go for it. I wish you the best of luck. No matter what route you take, you will have a lot of work to do. From contract to release to sales, your going to have plenty to do. Remember to enjoy yourself, along the way. This is what we all dreamed of, right? To publish our work and change our title from writer to author! It will all be worth it, in the end.

                So, go for it. Write that book and take the next step. Whether you choose to self-publish or go a more traditional path, you are already on your way. Each step of the process will present its own challenges and its own rewards. The ultimate goal is to see your work in print and for people to enjoy it. I hope to see your name on the best-seller list. I hope to see mine there, as well. There’s room for us both. After all, writing is not a competition. It’s a journey. Let’s take it, together.

 

DA Roberts

The End is only the Beginning.

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