Sunday, August 11, 2013

The 12 Steps of Self-Publishing. Step 1: Deciding Whether to Self-Publish.

I've just self-published my first ebook, and it's now live on Amazon for 99 cents.  It's the noir story I referred to in one of the previous Stories of the Week, and is titled Even the Pretty Ones.  Deciding to go forward on my own wasn't an easy choice, and I've resisted the urge to self-publish for quite a while now. 

One of the main reasons for my hesitancy was my unfamiliarity with how the system works.  Basically, I don't know an "epub" from a tavern. 

It turns out, the process was both easier than I thought, and much more difficult.  In this series of blog posts, I'll go through my experience step by step, in case others are considering a self-pub crawl, but are as intimidated by it as I was. 

Step 1: Denial... Oh, wait.  That's for something else.  I meant to say, Step 1: Deciding Whether to Self-Publish

I'm always quite slow to adapt to technology (I still have a flip phone, for instance), but even I had to admit that the publishing model isn't quite like it used to be.  I don't expect I'll suddenly flip out and start self-publishing all of my stories and every book I write, but it's definitely a viable option these days.  I used to think there was a stigma associated with self-published books, but that doesn't seem to be the case anymore.  It could be due to the "50 Shades of Grey" phenomenon, or it could just be because that's the direction the industry is headed in. 

There are still benefits to the old model, though.  It's pretty nice when an editor thinks enough of your book or your story to want to share it with their readers.  It's not only a decent ego boost, but it's also something you can put in a list of credentials for the next time you submit to a publisher or an agent. 

And it's also nice not to have to do all the promotion yourself. 

Frankly, though, even if you get published by a traditional publisher, the author is still expected to do the lion's share of the promotional legwork.  Particularly if you're not represented by one of the big boys.

As for the main reason I chose to self-publish Even the Pretty Ones: well, I was tired of searching for noir magazines to submit to.  Most of the noir markets I found seemed to have either dried up or weren't currently accepting submissions.  The ones who were accepting often wanted stories that were the wrong word count (places that pay by the word seem to like stories with very low word counts...) or they only offered a token payment. 

So I figured, what do I have to lose by putting the story out myself?  Plus, it would give me a chance to test out the self-publishing waters. 

Those waters have always looked rather murky and daunting from where I've been standing, but maybe that's simply because I hadn't yet dipped my toe into the sea.

Stay tuned for Step 2, which I'll be posting in the next few days. 

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