Self-Publish: A Writer's Choice

It's an honest question, a conundrum in the age of technology.

Previously, it was a challenge to take your book out, spending the money and energy to print out copies and sell them out of the back of your car. Now, as time has changed and technology has expanded, all it takes is a little bit of time and you can have your book being sold in minutes.

So where does the restraint come from?

At this point in my career, I've been doing this for almost ten years. I have not sold a book. I have over a hundred rejections, despite my constant improvement in both my writing and in the story. Some of this has come during the past year and a half, but most of the foundations were there to begin. At the end of the day, it only takes one yes. That being said, I've had ten close calls and only one Revise & Resubmit. However, I want to have a good story. Something solid.

If I just wanted a book published, it would be out there. If that was all I was worried about, I'd have laid it all out there and let the readers decide.

Talking with a friend in the business, I was told that self-publishing is a first option, not a last one. Part of the worry from the friend was that I hadn't taken a step away from the novel, that I just wanted to have my book out there. When I think about what limited feedback I've gotten back on my novel, the majority of it seems to come down to "I don't understand it" or "I misunderstood it." The latter definitely comes back on me, but it also comes down to the sample size.

I don't think that the first 5 pages should tell you everything about the story. The first 10%, possibly. At that point, for this story, you get introduced to new characters and it starts to spiral out from there. The true meat of the story comes possibly around 40% in, then it just spirals into a completely different beast. Maybe that's a problem when it comes to marketing, but for me, it makes an interesting story.

This is part of the reason why I've held back, why I'm trying to get this thing edited as well as I can. The main thing I need, though, is feedback. I need to know if the story works. Because, if it's a disaster, then a different set of priorities come into this. It goes from being a matter of great writing to resetting bits of the story, trying to clean it up, or simply abandoning it and focusing on my other novels.

The plan, as it stands right now, is to self publish at some point near the beginning of the year. Knowing all that you know, do you think it's finally time to do this or do I just need to walk away?

Colonial printing press from "Colonial Living" written and illustrated by Edwin Tunis


Justin D. Herd

Justin D. Herd is a purveyor of the weird and strange. He occasionally squawks at friends and family, but does so only under the cover of night. Okay, that's not true. He squawks in full daylight. Drinking games have been built around his peculiarities, but the truth of it is this: he is a loving husband, with two wonderful dem--children. One growls at things he likes, including pretty women. The other has started to learn hand-eye coordination. Neither had made it to the tender age of three. From there, things will only get more interesting. He spends most of his writing time either at a coffee shop or sitting at one of his many desks around his house. Any other place makes it nearly impossible for him to write. He uses horror movies and rock music to help get the juices flowing. His favorite authors are Jeremy Robert Johnson, Alan Campbell, Terry Pratchett, Justin Cronin, and Patrick Rothfuss. He consumes most of his books through audiobooks, but still loves his personal library and getting lost in the printed word.