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  • Writer's picturemarlowyork

Why I Self-Published My Novel

To self-publish or to traditionally publish? That is the question. Today I wanted to share with you guys the reason I chose to self-publish Blood of Fire on Amazon and what my experience was like.

First off, let’s travel back in time to when I first started writing. Back in the late ‘90s, early 2000s, I don’t think self-publishing was as popular or easy as it is today. I hadn’t considered publishing my stories because 1) I was too young (I was only 8 or 9 years old), 2) my stories weren’t good enough to be published, and 3) I didn’t really care about publishing. Writing was just a fun hobby I did after school. On top of that, as a kid I had this weird notion that all published writers were famous before they published something and had to be selected by the Great and Powerful Publishers for their books to get on shelves.

By the time I actually wanted to pursue publication (probably when I was in college), my mom gave me a book called The Writer’s Market, which is a huge collection of large and small publishing houses, literary magazines, contests, and other places you could potentially submit your work to. It outlines the criteria each house/magazine/contest asks for so you can prepare your work to be sent out. I did tons of research using this book, but had no luck getting any closer to publication. In most cases, you had to contact a literary agent in order to get into bigger publishing houses, and even smaller ones often had complicated or extremely specific requirements. While I was in college, I also submitted poems and short stories to a variety of literary magazines both on-campus and other places across the country. A few of my pieces were accepted by the college lit magazines, but these weren’t the sort of places that accepted full-length novels.

Fast forward to the sort-of present time. I discovered that a person could actually sell their novel all on their own through websites like Amazon, IngramSpark, and so on. No agent needed, no overly-complicated requirements, and best of all (in my opinion) no asking for permission.

This was what really sold me on self-publishing. Over the years I’d grown disheartened by the sheer amount of rejection I got, despite having work that was—in my and others’ opinions—very good. But in the world of self-publishing, I didn’t need to be accepted. Yes, there were some guidelines you had to follow, but nothing as detailed as most publishing houses.

Now, I won’t get into the nitty-gritty of HOW to self-publish on Amazon, but I’ll let you know that the process was surprisingly easy. In order to publish the book, you mostly had to convert some files, upload the manuscript and a cover, fill some things out, and click “publish.” The really hard part was everything leading up to that point. From brainstorming to writing, editing to cover design, marketing and so on, it takes A LOT of work to create a novel that is ready to be published.

Self-published books and authors often get a bad rap because of just how easy it is to self-publish. Frankly, there’s lots of material out there that isn’t polished, edited, or properly formatted, and those spotty apples have a tendency to spoil the rest. It can be very tempting to cut corners, but if you want to be taken seriously as a published indie author, do not, I repeat, DO NOT skimp on all the small details to make your book truly shine before you pursue publication. Even I learned the hard way when I first published Blood of Fire. It was fill of silly little mistakes that should have gone through more line edits, but I was so eager to get it on the shelves and make back some money that I didn’t pass the manuscript over enough eyes. Lesson learned.

So, do I recommend self-publishing? Sure! Since I haven’t traditionally published a novel, I can’t use experience to say which I prefer, but self-publishing was a good choice for me. If you’re on the fence, I highly recommend you research both avenues before you make a decision. If you do decide to self-publish, make sure your work is as polished and near-perfect as you can possibly make it. Don’t cut corners or jump the gun because it will show in your story and not only hinder your ability to make sales and get good reviews, it will also make other indie authors look bad.

Self-publishing is a lot of hard work, but it can be very rewarding to hold your book in your hands and feel the accomplishment that comes with it. Whatever you decide, don’t ever stop writing and keep trying to improve your work. Each day is a new opportunity to learn something new and be better than you were yesterday. Until next time! See ya!

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