Does self publishing sound like taking the easy road?

Does self publishing sound like taking the easy road?

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about my first novel, Secrets of a Handbag, and what I want to do with it. I’m halfway through what I hope it’s the final rewriting of the Italian version, and it’s only natural to start considering what kind of road I’m going to take.

Secrets of a Handbag – First Draft

First question: do I want to keep it on the local market? No, obviously I don’t. I want it to be able to reach as many people as it can. That’s why I’m going to translate it in English.

And this leads to the second question: is it better to go for self publishing or should I try the traditional way?

Despite being a writer, I’m far from an expert on the matter of publishing houses and publishing in general. But from the little I know there are pro and con in both. However there are so many possibilities nowadays that it’s not a matter of IF your book will be published but HOW.

If you think about it, it’s amazing! You don’t have to worry much about refusals from publishing houses, because you can always do it all by yourself (even if I would carefully consider the reasons behind those refusals).

Not knowing where to begin, my first instinct is to submit my novel to different publishing companies and see what happens. I want to put my work in the hands of professionals so that they can find the faults I don’t see and do their job without me worrying over things I don’t completely understand. On the other hand I don’t like very much the idea of giving my first novel, the product of my hard work, to someone else and maybe lose control over it.

I can’t delude myself by thinking that my novel will stand out among the crowd of manuscripts that the major publishing houses receive every day, so if that would be my choice, I would have to turn to smaller companies.

I’ve been surprised to discover how many of them there are. I had no idea! The biggest chance to get to know them are the fairs and the exhibitions.

International Book Fair – Turin

At the International Book Fair in Turin, I saw many stands and met book sellers, authors and editors. And I’ve noticed two things:

1. most of them are serious and passionate about what they do.

2. I haven’t heard about them or any of their authors and books.

The first aspect is good. The idea of working with professionals who know the job is comforting. But… what’s the point if their distribution channels aren’t extended enough, what if they don’t reach the readers? I don’t want to be arrogant. Certainly I’m not sure I’d be able to do a better job at promoting my books and I have a LOT to learn, but I would have to focus on that only and not on many books, maybe of many genres, by many authors.

I know that some small publishing houses requires money in order to publish your book or compel you to buy a certain amount of copies. Basically you pay to be published. In this case wouldn’t it be better to spend some money on self publishing? You’re going to need professional help in any case (an editor and a cover designer at least) but you’ll be able to have control over how you spend your money.

Call me control freak, I am a little (or maybe a lot), but another thing that makes me tend towards self publishing is this. Would they let me translate my own books in English? I’m not a professional translator so maybe (given that they have sales channels abroad) they would use their own translator. It’s something I don’t like. I can and will have the translation checked and edited but the core of it has to be mine.

Here it comes. The presumptuous, self-centered side of mine that always fight with the shy and insecure one.

Which side should I give ear to?

What would you do in my shoes?

Does self publishing sound like a brave choice or does it sound like an easy escape from professional judgement?

6 Replies to “Does self publishing sound like taking the easy road?”

  1. I’m leaning toward self-publishing also. I don’t think it’s the easy way out, but an alternative in today’s publishing world. There have been a lot of good books (and best sellers) from Indie authors.

    1. I’m glad I’m not the only one seeing self publishing as “second best”.
      I can’t help to think about publishing houses this way “hey I’m doing all the hard stuff – writing, rewriting, building a platform, searching for readers that might be interested – why should I give some of my profits to you?”

  2. Self Publishing doesn’t sound to me like the easy way out. I quite like the freedom that self-publishing gives us as authors. We get to publish what we want to write when we want to publish it. And at the same time we continue to chat with friends and people that will be friends:)… in the social media world. I love it!
    But, it doesn’t mean it’s not a lot of work somedays though. There’s a bunch of stuff to figure out – writing, editing, formatting, book cover, product description, how you’re going to launch it – if you want a launch team, etc. But even with all the hard work, to me the freedom is worth it:)
    Good for you Irene, for thinking the whole thing through and in such detail. There is a lot to think about.
    I’m excited to read your book when you publish it!

    1. As I said in the post I’m a sort of control freak and I like the idea of being able to take all the decisions. I don’t know if they are going to be the wise ones but I’ll learn to do better next time.

  3. I don’t see self publishing as an easy way out, but I do think it’s easier than traditional publishing. I’ve never had any interest in that process (agents, query letters, rejections, low royalties, etc.) so I never went after it despite my lifetime love of writing.

    Once I heard about self publishing, I grew excited about writing again. (That’s a very short version!) I love the freedom self publishing offers. It’s not without its drawbacks, but as the industry grows, it improves. Scammers will always try to take advantage of it, but they’ll be weeded out and the serious writers will continue to grow in professionalism.

    Already, the view towards being an indie author has improved so much since 2012 when I first began this journey. The vast majority of people now see it as a “real” way to publish, which it is, of course.

    It cuts out the middle men, allowing authors to publish what they want and readers to read what they want. So many books that have been rejected by publishing houses have gone on to sell boatloads of copies in the indie market. Why should publishing houses have the say in what readers read? I love the indie movement, both as a reader and an author.

    Best of luck with your book, Irene!

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