To Self-Publish or Not to Self-Publish

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That is the question…

I’m at a point now, where I am starting to think about what to do with my 60+K novella. I’ve gone through two edits and will hand off my manuscript to beta readers for their insights in the near future. First, I’m going to let things gestate for a while and then do one round of edits on a printed copy.

I find that reading something printed as opposed to on a screen illuminates new information and insights. I’m not sure why, but it’s true. the only reason why I’ve refrained from printing and editing by hand before is because I wanted to avoid wasting too much paper.

Anyway, back to the title of this post. I’ve started contemplating what I should do with my story. I know that the novella is having a surge in popularity lately in both print and digital formats. I believe that my story is good and have been told by my writing partner that it is absolutely good enough to get picked up by a big publisher. She has urged me to go that route. But I’m just not sure that I am ready for the mounds of rejection that likely await me around that corner. Mounds of rejection and mounds of work to boot!

First, there’s the likely rejection of dozens upon dozens literary agents. Then there’s the rejection of publishers. And even if I decide to just approach smaller presses and forgo the literary agent path, there’s likely a field of rejection to be had there too. I KNOW it takes a while to find the right place for your work. And as a writer, I’ve had to learn to take rejection in stride. I do it every day in my job. But that hasn’t kept me from trying new things and shaking things up a bit.

But when it comes to the novella that I’ve been working on for more than the past six months (because really I’ve been working towards this longer story for at least a couple of years), I just don’t know that I’m ready for all that potential rejection. More than anything, I’m worried that the rejection will deter my recent writing trend. Honestly, I’ve been writing a ton lately. Since January, I have written more than 90,000 words and that doesn’t include my weekly blog posts either. I have written the one novella which sits at a healthy 60K and am already 30K into another novella of a completely different genre. I haven’t been that prolific since high school.

I know that rejection is a part of the deal as a writer and for the most part, I accept it fairly well. I also know that if I don’t try, I’ll never know whether I could have found a publisher for myself or not. There’s always that needling of the wondering. The what ifs. Part of me thinks going for the smaller presses might be a better use of my time. So perhaps I’ll go that route first?

Self-publishing is a legitimate business and is a great way to get yourself and your writing out into the world. Blogs are self publishing and my blogging experience has been pretty great up to this point. An old blog I used to run was discovered by a script writer in LA who wanted to write a pilot about a jury. He contacted me and asked if he could interview me about my experience. We ended up chatting on the phone for about 1.5 hrs about jury duty, literature and writing in general. It was amazing!

My current blog (the one you’re reading) has been Freshly Pressed twice and I’ve successfully found a way to write about whatever interests me and some of you out there even like to read it. Thanks BTW! 🙂  I think my hesitation with the book self publishing route is that I would really love to see my book on a bookstore book shelf (I’d totally Instagram that!) and that’s a lot less likely with self publishing I think. I’d more likely have the story available only digitally or perhaps even POD.

It seems I have a lot of things to think about and take into consideration still. Fellow writers: How do YOU determine whether something is publish-able and whether or not you should submit it? How do you deal with rejection (or in my case, potential rejection!)? How did/do you decide between traditional and self-publishing? Please share your thoughts!

2 thoughts on “To Self-Publish or Not to Self-Publish

  1. In regards to dealing with rejection. Truth be told publishers big and small get sales rejections everyday with their titles. We only ever here the positive stories because it gets people more interested. Here is an example say they publish 30-40+ titles and out that only 5 to 8 become best sellers leaving the 32 titles to either be sold in clearance stores or donated! Having put hundreds of thousands or millions into the print run and marketing budget. So when someone wishes to have their work published its a lot more scary for the publisher to bank roll it than the author to submit the manuscript. Everyone gets rejection in the book world.

    1. This is a valid point and one that I have knowledge of but have not thought about recently. Thanks for giving voice to the other side 🙂

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