The Two Faces of Self-Publishing

As I mentioned in a previous post, a lovely NYC literary agent agreed to represent Her Very Own Demon, and shopped it around to some of the big publishers.  The feedback was nearly all positive, the publishing houses liked the book considerably, but for business reasons, it didn’t quite fit into their catalogs that season.  I’ve got to tell you, it was increasingly disheartening to receive rejection after rejection that praised the book and yet said NO, it’s not quite right for us at the moment.  I kept thinking, come on, someone, one of you, take a chance.  You liked the book.  You enjoyed reading it.  You said it was one of the best you’d seen in years.  So just take a chance!!  But no.  Not one of them did.

So now I’m reverting to self-publishing on CreateSpace.  As disheartened as I am by the publishing house rejections, I am thrilled that another option exists.  Ten years ago, that wasn’t the case.  A writer, for absolutely no money, couldn’t feasibly publish a book, and certainly not to be sold on a juggernaut of a book platform (Amazon).  No one would have imagined such a thing.  But now, having formatted the interior and designed a book cover, I am about the publish.  To send my book into the wild blue yonder.

I have a realistic expectation that Her Very Own Demon won’t sell one copy.  And that is the flip side of self-publishing these days.  There is great freedom for any and all writers.  Write something, self-publish it, send a piece of yourself into the world.  But anyone can do that.  There is no filter.  Essentially nothing exists to distinguish the good self-published books from the not so good.  They are all jumbled together, millions of them, I would suspect.  So the question becomes, how on earth does a self-published writer cause her book to be noticed among all the others?  Especially at little to no cost.  There are a few fairly minor things that a person can do, but nothing that will divert the book into truly useful promotion channels.  The book is out there, but floating in oblivion.  Lost among all the others.

Those are the two sides of self-publishing.  Great freedom but every greater anonymity.  But I’m going to make the attempt and see what happens.  And to all of you out there who are also self-publishing?  I wish you all the very best.  I know your struggle, I feel your frustration.  And may we all experience what it is like to have someone buy our books and read them.

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