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Cynn Chadwick
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Hi MJ & Amy, I just discovered your blog & this particular article via Twitter, and wanted to write to say I appreciate this smart cautionary and spot-on advice. I most especially want to say that your final missive: "Do self-publish because you are an entrepreneur. Do it because you have a vision. Self publish because you want control of that vision..." truly is key to success. Self-publishing is not a sustainable venture without this element. I am a 4xs traditionally published novelist. I have published with 2 different indie presses, I have an agent, and have been in the "industry" for over 10 years. Last spring, I discovered that I owned my ebook copyrights, and after much research chose to release them myself, along with the ebook & print version of my 5th novel. You are exactly correct, if an author is going to self-publish, she must invest time and money. I am fortunate that my publisher gave me cover-art rights, but beyond that I hired a professional formatter to convert all ebooks, and then I hired a copy editor, formatter, typesetter, and cover-designer for the the 5th novel. Having done so in Jan 2011, I am having a modicum of success, better than the print alone; that said, the ongoing challenges are primarily, and perhaps "as always" in promotion, reviews, marketing, etc...those tasks that a publisher does handle, although authors do much legwork nowadays, but self-publishing authors do it all. This is not a venture to be approached lightly, especially if an author cares about the quality of the work. My experience in traditional publishing gives me a much greater base of knowledge and networking. I am fortunate that I have a readership, links to my books, blog, Twitter & FB accts, and 10 years experiencing doing bookstore readings, festivals, panels, teaching, etc...I am also a most prolific writer with a "real" job that allows time for this endeavor, but as you suggest, this takes time away from the stories, it requires a creative mind to think like a business mind, and perhaps for some, it could be a real killjoy for an artist. For me? I have learned much about the industry and much about myself in the last year of making this all happen. From here on out, I will be releasing all of my new books both digitally and in print because, in spite of all of the continuing intense work of it, there is something incredibly exciting about making it all happen all by myself. It is exactly this entrepreneurial spirit that has been carrying me through and beyond the challenges. Obviously, of course I hope the gods will rain down gold and accolades on my vision, but in the meanwhile, I'm having a really good time manifesting my own little empire. I look forward to revisiting your blog. Best, Cynn Chadwick
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May 17, 2011