On the Subject of Self-Publishing

It’s been a little over a year since I published my book, and I wanted to talk a bit about the experience. I published the book myself after a good few years of trying to do it the traditional way of getting an agent and then a publisher, and it’s been an interesting journey. There have been ups and downs, and I’ve learned a lot.

The first thing I learned is that it’s hard work. Agents and publishers handle a lot of the fine details, all of which I’ve had to do myself. This includes commissioning cover art, hiring someone to format that into a proper cover, and managing the marketing of my book all while balancing my budget to make sure I can get the best quality for what I can afford. That all takes up a lot of time I could spend writing, but it’s necessary if I want the book to do well. 

And overall it has done well! I’ve gotten a lot of reviews and about half of them aren’t even from friends and family! People really do seem to enjoy my novel, and that’s a gratifying experience. But I’ve also had to keep certain things in perspective in order to properly enjoy all the good that’s come my way. Something that has to be acknowledged is that, especially with a first novel, the chances of hitting it big are quite low. 

If that sounds discouraging… Well, I’m afraid it is to a certain extent. My book has gotten a lot of love, but I’m not going to be living off the royalties I make from it anytime soon. All I can say is that it’s still been rewarding, if not financially, so just be aware of what exactly you’re signing up for and you’ll probably get more out of it.

Ultimately, I don’t regret this and I think it’s been worth it. I have a book out there with my name on it! I wrote that book. I put in the hours for writing and editing and everything else needed to get my novel out into the world. I’ve left my mark in some small way doing something I love, and I wouldn’t give that up for anything. 

So if you’re writing a book, the traditional publishing route isn’t working for you, and you’re considering self-publishing then I say go for it! Just keep in mind that it’s a difficult road to walk, and to manage your expectations. It’s probably going to be a long, slow process that requires a lot of effort to get off the ground. But even now when I remember watching my book finally go public I can’t help but smile.

It’s a great experience. If you’re willing to put in the work, then I’m sure it will be the same for you too.

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