I made the comment recently that it never occurred to me when I got published how many people would hate me for it. While that's true, it also never occurred to me how many people absolutely hate self-published books. I knew that in the past (many years ago) being self-published was a bad thing for your credibility. For one thing, you had to PAY someone to publish your book. The way I see it, that is always a bad thing.
You may have heard me say before that I've always wanted to be a writer. It was one of those things I kept on the back-burner. I wrote stories for my own entertainment and knew one day that I would be able to entertain others. I had no doubt that it would happen. I didn't just believe in myself, I had faith in my abilities to do what was necessary. And when the time came, I taught myself the industry. I did massive amounts of research before submitting my first book. I also never once considered self-publishing.
I taught myself how to write query letters, what was and was not appropriate to say in one, etc. I researched which publishing houses might be interested in my type of book. I also was surprised to find that you didn't necessarily have to have an agent anymore. Now, before I say this I don't mean any disrespect to literary agents. From my experience if you can communicate well with others in a professional manner, understand contracts (or know someone who can and is willing to help), then you don't need an agent to get your books published. If you get a movie deal, that's another matter entirely. By all means, get an agent for that.
My point is, things had changed within the industry.
When I finally got cracking on my first novel, I found a publisher within 4 months. It seems unreal to think that this August will be 5 years since my first book, Red, was published.
When I got my first contract and told people the story would be released as an ebook first, everyone's response was a slack-jawed, "What?"
No one had even heard of an ebook before. Not around here anyway. Ha. Ha. Ha. I can't tell you how many times I had to explain to someone what an ebook was and half the time, they still didn't understand what I was saying. "You mean you can't go buy it in a store?"
Little did we know that in a short time ereaders would explode onto the market. What was once a niche market became pretty standard. Not only are most novels released in ebook now, but there are many different types and formats.
As I've been in this industry for nearly 5 years, I've learned a lot. In fact, I've learned more than I did in college. I'm really more of a hands-on kinda gal anyway.
I've learned that being traditionally published helps to gain you more exposure and the more the better. About 2 years ago, I was fortunate enough to begin working with THE biggest publisher of erotic romance ebooks, Ellora's Cave. Through their forums and discussions, and paying attention to my editor, I feel like I'm so much better than when I started this journey both as a writer and as a business woman.
Then, just when I thought I had everything down pretty well, self-publishing changed. Suddenly Amazon is allowing people to self-publish with them. And get this, IT DOESN'T COST ANYTHING. Wow. That didn't sound too bad. So, I checked into it further. If your book is priced at $2.99 or above, you can earn a 70% royalty. Plus, you will already be listed on the largest ebook retailer's site. (Amazon)
The more I looked into it, the more it sounded like a good idea. So, I wrote Frank and The Werewolf Tamer with the intention to self-publish it. I'd like to take a moment to clarify some misconceptions. I NEVER submitted Frank and The Werewolf Tamer ANYWHERE. It wasn't rejected by others and Amazon was NOT my last resort.
Lately I've been getting negative comments on my books, not about the books themselves, but about ME. Some jerk saying how I'm not good enough to be traditionally published and such. Obviously, they didn't bother to look at my backlist. This same person went so far as to say I was a liar for calling myself multi-published.
It was pretty obvious that this individual hates self-published books and perhaps me in particular. I have no idea why they would dislike either. I don't know them and self-publishing isn't the red-headed step child it used to be.
However, a quick glance at the Amazon forums will prove that not only do people hate self-published authors, but they don't understand the industry.
In a world where big names still rule to a certain extent, self-publishing is a great way to gain extra exposure for those already traditionally published. It's an opportunity to earn larger percentages of royalties and be able to offer readers a lower price. All of these reasons and more were why I decided to give it a try and I haven't been disappointed.
In fact, things went so well with Frank and The Werewolf Tamer that I decided to self-publish my backlist books as their contracts expire. Yet again, this is my CHOICE. I haven't been shopping them around and getting rejected. This was my decision and not a last resort.
I am sick to death of being attacked for self-publishing as if that's all I do. I'm published with three different houses. I also have no intention of turning my back on traditional publishing.
All of my books are professionally edited and well polished. I put a great deal of work into each story to be sure that when I present it to readers it's the best that it can be.
As long as your book is professionally edited, has a great cover, and a good blurb, people will notice it.
If people are reading your work and you are earning royalties, you ARE published.
I don't know why so many hate self-publishing, but they need to get over themselves. The industry is continuing to change and so should outdated views.