Monday 11 October 2010

The Stereotype of Self-publication

Today we have a guest, Robin Cain, author of When Dreams Bleed, discusing the hot topic of self-publication.

The Stereotype of Self-publication by Robin Cain:
I am a self-published author.

I am stating this upfront to bring attention to some preconceived notions many people have about “traditional publisher rejects”. I’m aware that this is what many of you (readers) call us (self-published authors), so why not get it out in the open? I know… you think we couldn’t sell our manuscripts, our writing stinks; we don’t edit our work. Yada, yada, yada. Much of this is true about some self-published authors; some of it is just plain garbage. On the other hand, much of it is not.

Nowadays, while millions of writers are querying agents each year and not getting through, new avenues of publication are becoming easier, more affordable and making more economic sense. Why wouldn’t any new author consider self-publication as a means to an end?

The traditionalists will answer, “Exposure and reputation” and they won’t be too far off the mark.

When an author chooses (for whatever reason) to self-publish, he immediately loses the connections that a big-name publisher brings to the table. That is no small loss. Being backed by a Simon & Shuster can go a long way to getting one’s books in readers’ hands. Additionally, when an author chooses to self-publish, they immediately have the stereotype branding – “self-published: must not be any good”. These two items are tough to argue, but…news flash, folks: This is all changing.

With the advent of e-publishing, social networking, online media and book pricing wars, the book selling market is changing – and changing rapidly. The book business, once rationed off in predetermined slices, is now anyone’s market. More and more of the “unknowns” are getting a piece of it – a piece which up until now would never have been theirs for the taking. One may or may not be a fan of the Kindle or e-books in general, but their impact on the book-buying market can’t be ignored – particularly after Amazon’s announcement that Kindle book sales recently surpassed regular book sales for the first time in history.

With an increased market share and greater exposure, it is now possible for a self-published author to attain the same level of success as traditionally published authors - as long as they follow the same rules:

Write quality work

Get it professionally edited

Have it reviewed by a multitude of unbiased readers (and re-write if necessary)

Hire a professional cover designer and formatter

Create a good platform… and then market the hell out of yourself!

Unfortunately, there are a great many writers out there who don’t follow these rules and it makes it awfully difficult for those of us authors that did (and do). Regardless, whether traditionally published or not, reputation still has to be built one book at a time.

So how do we get rid of the stereotype and reach those readers who otherwise wouldn’t give us a second look? Like any author (super star or rising star), we just hope the cream rises to the top, word-of-mouth does us some favors and generous bloggers (Thanks, Anita!) give us some of their spare space…

© 2010 Robin Cain, Author of WHEN DREAMS BLEED

Robin Lives in Scottsdale, Arizona with her husband, daughter, three dogs, three horses and an adopted donkey named Sophia. As a novelist and regular contributing writer for The Examiner, she spends her days searching for the perfect words to amuse, enlighten and touch her readers. A 3-chapter excerpt of her book, WHEN DREAMS BLEED, can be found on her website,

Robin's blog:


PT Dilloway said...

The last rule is where it all falls down for me. Last Tuesday I wrote a blog entry about formatting my latest book of short stories and how annoying it can be. Some people don't put in that effort and that's what's led to the stigma.

David Ebright said...

You make very good points, especially the part about edditting, I mean editing.

Thanks Anita for hosting Robin. Blog looks great. Like the widget for sample reading. Cool.

Robin, how do you adopt a donkey? I can think of so many lines to throw out there - but I won't.

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

Excellent post, Robin. Thanks, Anita. I'm so grateful for writers like you, Robin. Keep on smooching.

Sheila Deeth said...

Thanks for a very nice encouraging article. I find myself picturing those winter robins who used to take the cream off the top of our milk bottles back in England.

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