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Ten years ago, having nothing but a hard drive full of unpublished manuscripts and a dream wasn’t uncommon. Traditional publishing was just as hard to get into as it is today, and while self-publishing existed, it was extraordinarily difficult to be a successful self-publisher and was largely not taken seriously as an option.
But now things are different. Now self-publishing is a perfectly valid and wonderful option for many writers. Now you’re just as likely to hear about breakout indie writers as you are successful debut traditional authors. Self-publishing has proven itself, and there are opportunities for writers like never before.
And I’ve noticed for some time now, that there’s been a fair amount of pressure on writers like me—writers with books in the drawer who continue writing anyway without an agent, or contract, or other milestone of publishing success.
I’ve noticed people looking at writers like me and saying well, why haven’t you self-published?
I mean, it’s a valid question, particularly for those with polished manuscripts and a lack of response from the traditional publishing world. But the thing is, self-publishing isn’t for everyone.
Those who have self-published know that going indie isn’t a decision you make on a whim—it’s a career move, and one that you have to be fully dedicated to in order to succeed. It involves taking full control of the book publishing process, from first draft to final, fully e-book formatted ready-to-publish draft. It means finding an editor and a cover artist and taking on the full responsibility of marketing, all the while writing the next book. It’s a lot of work, and for some people, it’s a fantastic choice.
But then there are writers who would rather trade the control over the cover and layout and marketing decisions for an opportunity to work with a publishing team—to have an agent by your side and some career guidance along the way. Some writers prefer the collaborative effort of creating a book, and don’t mind trading the lower royalties for the chance at wider, in-bookstore distribution. Not that there’s any guarantee of that, mind you, but for some, the risk is worth it. For some, that’s the choice that’s right for them.
I’m not going to say that I’ll never self-publish, because I don’t know that that’s true. Maybe one day I’ll decide that it’s time to wade into the indie waters, but for now, at least, I’ll continue to pursue the traditional dream. And if it never happens, then it never happens, but I’ll keep writing anyway and I’ll do it with no regrets because I’ll know I pursued what was right for me.
What do you think? For those who have self-published, would you agree that it’s not for everyone? For those that haven’t, have you ever been asked why not?
Going indie isn't a decision you make on a whim. (Click to tweet)
Self-publishing isn't for everyone—and this is why. (Click to tweet)