Those who know me well understand just how stubborn I can be. I don’t like to give up or admit defeat. I hate admitting failure. I’m convinced if I just try hard enough, I can make things work. My mantra is — “Just one more try, and I’ll fix it!”
But sometimes you have to admit the truth. Things don’t always work out, and your skills, talent, intelligence, persistence, etc. are no match for reality.
This is me and self-publishing.
Now, just let me say that I greatly admire those who are successful at self-publishing. I think it is a perfectly valid option for authors, and believe those who work diligently to do well with it deserve all the success in the world. I also respect everyone working hard to learn the ins-and-outs of self-pub. and improving their efforts every day. My proverbial hat (I don’t wear hats, LOL) is off to you all.
But as for me — self-publishing is not a good fit, and I admit that I am terrible at it. Oh, I can write good books, and even produce professional quality eBooks and paperbacks — with the help of my great editors and designers, I mean — but I suck at the promotional aspects of self-publishing.
And, as I have come to learn — thanks to my own experiences, but also due to advice from some very savvy authors — self-publishing is ALL ABOUT the promotion.
This makes sense, if you think about it. Perhaps a few years back, when the market wasn’t so flooded with books (many of them GREAT books too) you could put out a self-pub. book and it would sell decently with minimal advertising and promotion. Not anymore. Now you must truly approach this like a small business and invest a tremendous amount of time and effort (not to mention money, although the time and effort is a bigger thing) into the process.
The problem is — I never wanted to run a small business. I loathe marketing. I don’t like selling things to people, and never have. Which is one reason I went into a service career in an academic setting, of course!
So where does that leave me? Well, I can still write books and sell them via the traditional markets (which I am doing under a penname). Yes, I must do some promotion and so on to support my publisher’s efforts. But I really don’t mind being active on social media, attending conferences, managing a website and a blog, doing guest posts, sitting on author panels, speaking or signing at bookstores, etc. I have no problem promoting my books as an author. But… I do NOT enjoy (nor am I good at) being the ONLY marketer for my books. I hate creating ad campaigns and monitoring them and tweaking keywords and constantly setting up giveaways and promotions and… Well, you catch my drift. I am delighted to SUPPORT the marketing of my books. I just don’t want to have to do it ALL.
I mean, life is short, and I’m not so young anymore, and I refuse to waste time on things that make me frustrated and angry. I also hate spending most of my precious time on tasks I find completely unfulfilling and tremendously annoying.
So — while I fully intend to finish out any series that I have started in self-pub — after those are complete I will only self-pub “hobby” books. That is to say, if I self-publish, it will be to release any books I just want to put out in the world for fun, not for profit or even author visibility. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with this, just like I see no problem with people painting, singing, etc. as an avocation rather than a profession. The more art the better!
But, as for what I consider professional self-publishing — I’ve been struggling with this for some time now, and finally decided that I must release myself from a prison where I’ve locked away my joy.
I have to admit — it feels good to admit the truth, and fly free!