First off, the main thing: You want to write a book!
You are so cool.
What’s stopping you from getting your stuff out there?
Wherever you are in your book writing process, whether you are just starting out or if you are somewhere in the middle… or if you are sitting on a finished manuscript…
There’s no time like the present to move closer towards getting what you want.
Maybe you feel overwhelmed.
Just determine what the next step needs to be. It doesn’t have to be the perfect next step, just something that can move you closer to where you need to go.
- just need to put more words on the page
- need to develop a better outline
- want to explore the world of your story
- would benefit from collaborating with a friend or working with me as your writing mentor
So what is your next step?
Your next step might be different based on whether you want to work with a large corporate publisher or if you want to publish it yourself.
Having doubts about self publishing?
Why not do it all yourself? Take complete ownership of the whole process.
When I say “do it yourself,” I don’t mean do it alone. Enlist the help of whomever you want to get you where you want to go. I mean independent publishing. Self publishing.
Indie publishing is legit.
If there ever was any real stigma about indie publishing, it’s long gone now.
Look at the music industry for comparisons. Or at podcasts. Are they less valuable because they aren’t being broadcast on radio?
Look inside. Do you feel negative about self publishing out of inner knowing or out of fear? Where is the real judgment coming from? Is it your own belief or just some notion about what is supposed to look prestigious?Will your friends disown you if you self-publish a book that you love? Click To Tweet
Doing anything, especially for the first time, can feel scary. It’s a vulnerable position to be in. It’s natural to feel mixed about it.
So let’s look at this issue a bit deeper. It is important to have discernment as to what publishing really is, to separate what we want from all the baggage around it.
What is publishing really about?
Fundamentally publishing means getting your book in front of readers.
Well, we shop online nowadays. Oh, Amazon, I’ve tried to quit you. But I keep coming back.
Even though Amazon is the biggest, it’s by no means the only show in town. Kobo, Smashwords, Draft2Digital are others that I recommend. Plus there’s Google books and whatever Apple has.
Ebooks are legit. Yes they count. Yes they’re real books. It really doesn’t matter whether you published it or whether you worked with an agency or whatever.
If there is a specific company that you want to work for, then go for it. Otherwise, why not take complete ownership of your project?
You want an editor? You can hire an editor.
Want a book cover designer? You can hire a cover designer, buy an existing design, or do it yourself.
I want my book to be in a physical bookstore!
Firstly, I’m not trying to convince anyone to abandon hope or not to follow through with what they want. If this is really what you want, then go for it. What I’m writing here is intended to speak to everyone who isn’t sure why they want their book to be in a physical bookstore. Or if you want it because it would be nice.
It’s a major trajectory shift for something that would just be nice. The challenges of traditional are real, and they’re mainly based on whether you are already a household name.
For me, the most important thing is for authors to put themselves out there. The whole bookstore thing gets in the way and blocks writers from finishing what otherwise could be a really valuable book to share with the world.
If you really want to get your book into stores, why not reach out to specific independent bookstores? They are probably happy to work with you to arrange a book signing or book tour.
If you’re talking about Barnes & Noble, I would just press back here on this issue..
Why is this really important to you?
B&N is still around, but they are not operating on huge margins. Even if some large publishers are willing to take a risk on a fledgling author with a pure heart, B&N is not likely to want to take risks on what they put in their physical stores. It’s not just about the precious real estate but the costs associated with shipping the books to physical stores in the hopes that they will sell.
And be honest here — how many books have you bought randomly off the shelves from sauntering in a bookstore? Compare that number with the likelihood of buying a book based on familiarity with the name or someone’s personal recommendation.
Word of mouth is still where it’s at, and we make most of our purchases online.
I’m not saying that anyone should abandon hope. You should fight for what you really want. Make it happen. The problem much of the time is that writers hope for the book-in-a-physical-bookstore thing because it would “be nice.”
I do want to bring some realism to this specific goal. Like many hopes, it seems to me to be one of those that people hold not because it’s their truth but because it sounds good. It’s a goal that seems impressive, a goal that we’re supposed to have.
It’s a white picket fence type goal.
Online feels scary. You’re competing with the whole world.
A bookstore feels cozy.
The truth is you’re competing with the whole world regardless. Amazon has a search algorithm. A physical bookstore doesn’t operate the same way.
Why not start out with indie and see where it takes you?
Whether you’re fighting for indie or the bookstore, there’s no harm in trying indie.
Do it and just get your stuff out there.
Do it under a pen name if you want to just experiment. You can always claim the name later once you get popular.
See beyond the first book
People fear they only have one book in them. They don’t want that book to be just like all the other indie books. Yes, anyone can self-publish a book, and it’s true that yours will be in the same digital heap along with all the others.
For me, that’s part of the fun of it. The glory of the worldwide marketplace.
It’s real. It’s weird. Some neighborhoods have weird smells and annoying commotion.
Come on. Live a little! You know you want to.