I did an interview recently with Dan from Published Now. Published Now is a website that talks about self-publishing, and I really enjoyed answering Dan’s questions. One of the things I get asked a lot is “should I self-publish my book?” My answer is, I don’t know, should you? Because that decision might be different for every single person and every single book.
Self-publishing can be a good option if you have a following, are writing nonfiction or poetry, and know a lot about marketing and promotion. Even then, it still might not be the best option. It all depends. One reason I enjoyed Dan’s interview questions is that he asked why I chose to self-publish my first couple of books. It’s a question I don’t get asked a lot. I think people assume a lot when you self-publish. There is still a perception in the market that self-publishing is an option people take if they can’t find a publisher. That’s certainly not the case. Self-publishing has been around for years, and even when it first began that wasn’t the case.
I self-published my first book in 2004. It was a book of poetry that I was publishing for myself. I talk about why in my interview and also in my “This I Believe” essay. I really was just trying to prove something to myself, and this was the easiest way I could do it. I never sent my poems out to be considered by an agent or publisher. I just published them.
At the time I published my book, I was already moving toward a freelance writing career. I always wrote freelance articles in addition to my full-time job, but I don’t consider those part of my freelance writing career. I wrote and got paid for every article I did, but I only did a couple a year at the most. I had a full-time job and that was my vocation back then.
After The Difference Now was published in 2004, I was amazed at how well it sold. It not only gave me the confidence to keep going, it encouraged me to learn more about marketing myself and my books. I did two books in 2005, (another poetry book and a dating book) and from that got a few more freelance writing gigs. One thing led to another. That’s the way it’s always been with me.
Will I continue to self-publish? It’s hard for me to talk in absolutes about anything, and self-publishing would certainly fall into that. I think the ability to start your own company gives you a lot of flexibility and can be a good option depending on what your goals are. But it certainly isn’t for everyone in every single circumstance. Anyways, I give some advice to those looking to self-publish, and a lot more information in my interview, so please check it out!