I’m considering some self-publishing.
The items in the minus column are overwhelming: investing in editing and copyediting, not to mention the cost of decent cover art, distribution and retail channels and their final effects on price etc. The time investment versus the likely return. Saturating whatever market slice I have and the likely effects on my other books, which means my other income.
The pluses: making a few niche fans happy (Squirrel!Terror, anyone?) and maybe diversifying (writing advice culled from blog posts from the old, hacked site, dear God, that’s a lot of work and I am not sure I can do it without feeling like a hypocrite because I HATE HATE HATE Books On Writing, considering most of them useless…) or maybe bringing out that Beauty and the Beast retelling that I love so much but that can’t find a home elsewhere (even though I should probably accept that it’s just not a book meant for publication)…
See? Even the pluses have minuses.
Yes, there’s a huge boom going on in self-publishing nowadays. The predictable end result is that everyone in the world can read slush piles now, and pay for the privilege to boot. Sure, there’s good self-publishing (those who have learned their craft and their lessons, and pay for quality control) out there, but the vast majority of it is an unedited mass and it shows. The proportion of decent quality to crud is just the same as it’s ever been, the numbers are just bigger. Sort of like that guy in high school who always seemed to get lucky (boy was like a rabbit, believe me) who a few of my guy friends envied until we figured out over a fifth of Stoli one night that he didn’t get a higher percentage than the rest of us, he just propositioned everything that moved, so it only looked like he had some super-duper Get Laid Secret. The numbers were just…bigger. (This lesson is adaptable to trad publishing, but that’s–say it with me–another blog post.)
Self-publishing works in certain situations, not so much in others. There’s those who successfully bucked the odds (they are long odds, and there have to be a few winners to keep the rest of the chumps playing) and those who already had a platform with a built-in audience (BoingBoing, anyone?) and those who use self-publishing as an adjunct to traditional publishing or basically as an experiment. There are those who can afford to throw money into the hole a self-pubbed title can become, and occasionally they make it big too. There are also those who have made a minor industry out of telling people that they can self-pub and have monstrous success too if they just listen to So-and-So’s Thoughts On The Matter And Become One Of So-and-So’s Faithful Army of Trolls.
Not pointing any fingers, you understand.
There’s also idiots like Yours Truly who undertake a self=pub project thinking there will be little to no interest, but that it will be fun and might be useful for other writers/fans. (Yep. I did that.) To say I was unprepared is an understatement, but it was a nice experiment.
The end result is, I am not certain which type of self-pub (if any) will end up working for me. I’m asking publishing friends and professionals their opinions, reading what’s worked for other people, so on and so forth. It may end up being far too much trouble to pursue, even though I really would like to have a Squirrel!Neo paper book.
Which gets me to the whole point, dear fellow Dames and Readers: what considerations am I missing? What pluses or minuses have I forgotten?
*sits back to listen*