I’m a proponent of digital self-publishing. After being “almost there” for six years, I self-published my paranormal romance Cattitude on Smashwords, Amazon, Barnes & Noble and more. It’s easy and inexpensive, and more than that, it’s freeing and empowering. One of the best things about having your book published (besides money) is getting emails from people you don’t know who LOVE your book. And great reviews. A couple of reviews have given me happy tears.
Now that I’ve said wonderful things about self-publishing, I have three more words for you if you’re new to writing. Don’t do it. Not yet, anyway. Of course there are exceptions. Your book might be wonderful as is, so why go through all the hassle and frustrations and the steps that most successful writers have done?
Uh, because it might not be as wonderful as you think?
Because this might be something that will make you cringe in a few years?
Because maybe your idea is fresh and wonderful but you’re not telling it as well as you would in year or two? And you might miss your chance for a do-over (aka revision)?
Before I self-published, I’d sold numerous short stories and nonfiction articles, I’d won RWA chapter contests, I was a finalist in the American Title V contest, I’d had four agents and my books had been considered by editors. I’d written Cattitude six years ago, and it was good enough to get me an agent. Yet when I read it again, I ended up ripping it apart. Six friends who are writers critiqued it, and then I did more ripping apart and sewing back together.
As I write this, a former RITA finalist is critiquing Dead People, the next book I’m putting up. I told her I wanted an honest critique, to let me know if anything bothers her. That I have a tough skin.
I’m getting advice from the best. Are you?
“I am sooooo grateful for the fact that Kindle didn’t exist 9 years ago, or even 5 years ago. I would’ve put crap out there, and I know it.
On that note, here’s what I think would’ve happened if I had the chance to publish my first book Dreams I Can’t Remember on Kindle when I was 17-
-I would’ve sold very, very few copies
-I would’ve gotten almost entirely negative reviews
-I would’ve cried a lot and vowed to quit writing (which I probably wouldn’t have done, but I would probably quit trying to write professionally)”
Before you rush to put your books up on Amazon, my advice is to send to contests, critique partners, agents and editors. Write, get feedback, rewrite, and then rewrite some more. Learn, learn, learn. Write, write, write. When you get mostly glowing critiques and good comments from agents/editors, then maybe you should go ahead and self-publish.
And there’s always the chance that a smart editor or agent might snap you up.
So happy writing! And rewriting!