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Self Publishing: Not a Plan B

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Self-publishing is a great option for some people and works well for many indie authors—but today I’m talking about why it shouldn’t be used like a casual backup option.


Self-Publishing: It’s Not for Everyone (blog): http://bit.ly/16A5zuS

Self vs. Traditional Publishing: Stop Arguing: http://bit.ly/1TLGVLP

Publishing: Indie or Traditional? (blog): http://bit.ly/qepym5

How (Not) to Become the Next Kindle Bazillionaire (blog): http://bit.ly/1QGQjNP

On Writing and Giving Up (blog): http://bit.ly/21DXxdA


BEYOND THE RED links (where you can buy my book)! http://avajae.blogspot.com/p/books.html

Writability (aka my blog)! http://avajae.blogspot.com/

Twitter (where I spend way too much time)! https://twitter.com/Ava_Jae

tumblr (because pictures! and inspirational thingies!) http://avajae.tumblr.com/

Facebook (where you can like me)! https://www.facebook.com/AvaJae

Instagram (because more pictures!) http://bit.ly/avagram

Goodreads (where you can add my book to your TBR shelf)! http://bit.ly/BtR_


otis carter says:

traditional publishing has always been my goal and one i will work towards once my book is finished

Lizzy Chrome says:

8( Thanks for sharing this, a hundred times over. Until five minutes ago I was treating self-publishing as Plan B. I will think a lot harder about it now.

DrToonhattan says:

Hi, I'm in the early stages of developing a scifi-fantasy novel series. This will be the first major work I've written, and my plan is to first write 3 short novellas set in different areas of the world and at different points in history, I was going to self publish these and then work up to the much longer novel which I was thinking about having traditionally published. But after seeing this video, I'm now not so sure. Do you have any advice? Thanks.

Ryan F says:

Thanks, I had no clue until watching this video lol

Peacekeeper says:

Thank you, this is so important. I understood it wrong, exactly in this way you tell in the video 😀 haha

Luis Thillet says:

I have a question that Ive been struggling to understand. I keep hearing that, in traditional publishing, you'll need to self market. If this is true then why go traditional? If you have to spend time and money for marketing then what are the benefits from traditional publishing? I just don't see the logic or I'm missing something. If it's solely based on distribution then why not just go ebook first and when the royalties and numbers grow then try the print. Am I missing something?

Hannah TheWriter says:

Even though I'm a traditionally published author, I actually thought of doing self publishing. But then after a while I was like: "Nope. That's not me. Traditional publishing is the way to go. Not self publishing". I'm glad I decided not to go forward with that descision. I love being traditionally published, anyway.

Angie W says:

Great points! I used to think that self-publishing was the easier option but I've now come to realize that it's just as difficult and requires just as much work (getting a whole team of editors and designers together, marketing yourself, polishing your manuscript, etc.). It really does take some thoughtful consideration before deciding which option you're going to take and if you do want to use a hybrid approach.

MrArtist5986 says:

Can you make a video on your writing process? As a writer, it's interesting to hear how other people construct their stories. Maybe a tour of your workspace too. That's always interesting as well to see how other writer's have their things organized. Thank you!

IceRiver1020 says:

Love this! Too many people don't understand these things about self publishing. Some people even seem to think it's easy, or at least easier.

Jack neff says:

What you thinly cover is the battle to get a Agent or a book published by a famous traditional publisher. Thousands of excellent books are turned down year after year. It looks as if you did it but your success is not the story for many authors who are good writers. Stephen King's family for example…all his kids and wife are now published…do you really think if their father wasn't a mega successful author they would have been accepted…too many times it comes down to who you know! I don't agree with most of what you said … but you're still just too cute!!!

Rebeca A. says:

The few times I've come across self-published books by authors who say they did it because traditional publishing kept turning them down, said books have been a disaster. Shallow characters, bad writing, terrible pacing, that kind of thing. It's only been my experience, and I HAVE come across great self-published work. But I've also noticed a slight pattern.

There are many, many, many reasons why agents and editors might turn down manuscripts. It doesn't always have to do with the objective quality of the piece. But at the same time, that could be a very real reason why it was turned down .

Like you said, Ava, it's just very likely the book might not be ready for ANY kind of publishing.

(OH. And even though I said it on Twitter this morning, happy book birthday 😀 Hope all is well)

Alina Popescu says:

I'm a hybrid author and I intend to keep it that way. I find that a mix of self publishing and working with some publishers I trust with my stories is the way to go. I agree with you about taking it seriously. You still need an editor, someone to format for you, a cover designer, and someone to help with your marketing. If you are already good at any of those, a DIY approach helps, but only if you really know what you're doing. There are enough poorly edited books and crappy covers out there for you to realize those don't work.

What I slightly disagree with is self publishing as a stepping stone. I know quite a few authors (I can think of at least three off the top of my head) that sold their books to a publisher after self-publishing first. You are right, sales matter, but not as much as you think. What reviews and how many reviews your book gets also matter when sales number aren't that high. Some of them always intended it to be like this. Self publish to prove their worth, and then approach a publisher.

Most self-publishing authors I know (or hybrids) choose to do so because they want more control over their book and they don't want an editor they haven't chosen or a publisher to have final say on their story. It sometimes has more to do with not wanting to stick to formulas than anything else.

kalibak00 says:

i saw that "beyond the red" was trending in twitter this morning. congratulations.

Jim Karagkounis says:

Epic video. you should make more videos about self publishing

Nexus says:

FIRST!!! And loved the topic of the video. I have a question that might be off topic tho.

I'm in the middle of writing down the ideas and components for my story, and I would like to know how long an outline should usually be (and how long was yours for reference.) Should I drag it out and write down every single detail about the characters and events, or should I just write a quick description of the characters and write a linear flow chart from beginning to end of the plot.

Oh yeah, I also intend on making this a series, too.

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