Self-Publishing, Is It for You?
You've sent your manuscript out to 25 traditional publishers and you're getting the standard rejection form letter. Should you keep sending your manuscript out or should you consider self-publishing?
Reasons to Self-Publish
"I gave up after sending my manuscript out to about 40 traditional publishers," says Amanda, the mother of two boys and the writer of an action-adventure novel for young readers. "So I decided to self-publish, but I didn't go about it in the traditional way. I've done a lot of research on this topic and I knew that if I didn't build up a fan base there was no chance for me to sell my book on any volume scale. I'm a stay-at-home mom right now so I wasn't dependent on income from my book, but I'm looking ahead to when my children are grown. My most fervent dream was to be a full-time writer. So I started by launching a website about action-adventure books. I reviewed books and gave teachers and librarians ideas for how to use the books in their curriculum. I promoted to home-schoolers as well. My boys go to school but I extend their lessons with fun, educational activities so I knew about the types of books and resources that might work successfully in a home-schooling environment. After I'd done this for about a year, I launched my book and I had 100 advance orders on the first day. Now I'm working on a series and my books have sold well enough that I had some interest from a literary agent. I love what I do and it's great to be connected with so many teachers and librarians. My writing has improved as well. I put up short stories on the site and ask for feedback from children as well as parents and teachers. My readers have helped me become a better writer."
Many writers decide to pursue self-publishing because they've been rejected by the traditional publishing avenues they've pursued, but there are other reasons to self-publish as well.
"I decided to self-publish because I have a close friend who's been published by a traditional publisher with whom she's had a rocky relationship," says Julie, an empty nester who started her writing career at the age of fifty-eight. "I've always wanted to do something in children's publishing. I was a magazine editor for years, but now I'm retired so it was time for me to work in a new challenging field.
My friend has had three of her educational picture books published. The last two were published by a relatively new publishing imprint and she's complained to me how unhappy she's been with the art program they created for her books. I knew it was typical for a publisher to select the illustrator for a book. I wanted more control over the final look of my book, that's why I decided to self-publish because I wanted to hand select my own illustrator."