Saturday, April 30, 2011

Self-publishing

Self-publishing one’s own books used to have a certain “ick” factor on the part of publishers and the reading public alike. With no company acting as gatekeeper, standards of professionalism could not be guaranteed and often there was no way for the reader to be assured of purchasing a quality work.

But times and technology changes people’s ideas and what was once anathema is now de rigueur. Well-known authors have decided to take their careers into their own hands, bypassing a group increasingly viewed as “middlemen”. New authors are seeing new frontiers and forming their own bands of loyal readers.

And readers have benefited from this expansion of self-publishing, especially in the ebook formats. Look at all the choices! Without traditional publishers as gatekeepers, anything and everything is out there for you to pick and choose from. Yes, this means that standards of professionalism are often a crapshoot, but, as in every business, the best will rise to the top and the unprofessional will eventually find another job.

So why did I choose to self-publish Tales from the Ramayana? Mostly because it’s a collection of short stories (strike one – no publisher’s really looking for short stories) taken from an old epic from India (old? Yuck! Strike two. And is it anything like the Odyssey? That was a stupid story. Wandering around lost for ten years? Why didn’t he just ask a woman for directions and go home? Or is it like Beowulf? I hated that in high school…Strike three). I’m out!

But at the center of this truly cool epic, is a love story sure to set your heart aflutter. The four short stories in my telling of the Ramayana show how Ram and Sita meet, fall in love and then convince their families they should be together. And you want to talk royal weddings? You should see theirs! Hands down theirs was more glorious than any of recent memory.

I’m not the only Scribe to jump into the self-publishing waters, either. Tara Nina has an offering out, an erotic romance with a hunky cowboy you won’t want to miss!

So readers, what are your concerns about authors taking the plunge into the self-publication waters? If you were giving advice to authors, what would you tell them?

And authors, what do you see as the benefits (and pitfalls) of taking matters into your own hands?

As always, play safe!
Diana

6 comments:

Lynn LaFleur said...

I think self-publishing is definitely a great idea. Readers are very smart. They know what they like in a book and will support authors who give them that. If an author's book is a combination fantasy/paranormal/BDSM with a little ménage action thrown in, that's okay. An author can self-pub a book like this and not have to worry about making it work in a publisher's cubbyhole.

I plan to join Diana and Tara in the self-publishing world soon.

Lynn

Diana said...

LOL Come on in, Lynn! The water's fine :)

Angelia said...

The primary problem is distribution.

I self-pubbed two collections of previously published short stories. They don't sell on Amazon. They don't sell on ARE. They don't sell at the Literary Underworld Author Collective or off my site. They sorta sell by hand, but only if I get to read from them.

I have enough trouble making money when I'm selling hundreds of copies through my publishers. The piddly few sales I make on the self-pubbed...let's say I'm glad I'm not depending on it for convention money.

Cindy Duprey said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Diana said...

Angelia, I think the hardest part of self-publishing is the promotion. With a publisher, you get at least an initial push. When you're the publisher, you have to start the ball uphill without any help.

Twitter, my newsletter, my blog, my website...these are great places to start that promotion, but not nearly enough. I also have to put in time on the forums, send copies to review sites, and get the word out any way I can. The promotion end of it isn't nearly as much fun as the writing end (at least it isn't for me), but I keep plugging because, sooner or later, I'll find the top of that mountain! :)

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