On Self-Publishing

Like any naïve and eager fourteen year old, I had just finished my third manuscript and I felt that this was the one. After endless hours of hard work, balancing my social life as well as my school one, I persevered until the end and finished. In that moment, it felt like one of the biggest accomplishments and an accomplishment that was worth sharing with the world. And then the big question dropped from the heavenly skies of writing and knocked me over. I thought, but how?
I honestly do not recall how I got from point A to point B, or how decided to take the route of self publishing. All I remember was hearing the horror stories about how long it took for people to find agents, then get them to the publishing houses, and then all of the work after that for it to actually become a book that I could hold at my fingertips. Hey, I was fourteen and all of that seemed too distant and too far away, plus I had the support but myself and my novel did not have the confidence or the esteem to go through rejection at such a young age.
So with the help of my parents we searched high and low for an outstanding self-publishing company. We read blogs, did research, compared prices (YES! For those of you who aren’t familiar with self-publishing, you do pay to get your book published) and we finally found two companies that seemed worthy. I submitted my manuscripts to both of them, where they both read through them (or so they said) and then either “accepted” or “rejected” (I think they accept everyone though, why wouldn’t they, you are paying them!) After further research we narrowed it down to just one company and that is when I started the process.
Because I haven’t published any other way, I do not really have anything to compare the experience to. I worked with someone who edited my manuscript, made comments and suggestions as well as grammar fixations and then sent it back in a Word document where I would either accept or reject the changes made. The editing process was helpful; my editor even told me to take the whole last chapter out of my novel and just end it there. However, looking back there were some grammar errors that still were never fixed. I had a lot of say in the cover and the whole layout and design of my manuscript, which was enjoyable to play around with.
Self-Publishing is something that I am not sure is right for everyone. It really depends on the type of writer you are and what you want from getting on board with such a project. Although it was a learning experience, for my next manuscript I will not be taking the same route. Self-publishing lacks publicity and the company I used, like many, only distributed the book online. I am now finding that although it is tough to be patient, if you completed a manuscript, you have been patient. You should use that patience to experiment with sending out queries to agents as well as forming a hard skin for rejections. It only takes one yes.



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4 Comments on “On Self-Publishing”

  1. December 7, 2009 at 4:02 am #

    I’ve never actually been published, or even attempted self-publishing… Is it beneficial to self-publish before trying to work with big publishing houses, or does it matter?

  2. Alexa
    December 9, 2009 at 10:10 pm #

    From my point of view, I don’t think that it makes a difference. If you self publish, you are doing a lot of the work on your own- hence the title! I have not worked with a big publishing house so I cannot tell you the differences but I would suggest when you are ready to publish, try finding an agent first. It may be tiring and discouraging but it will be worth it in the end. When you self publish, you are doing most of the work on your own. Getting it out there is one of the hardest parts, especially if your novel is only being sold online. If you really want your novel out there, want to pay money and have the time to go above and beyond and you feel that self publishing is right for you, then give it a shot. But make sure that if you do decide to do that you do your research and find a company that is right for you. But answering your question, I don’t find it beneficial to self publish first. It is really just a matter of preference but self publishing will not necessarily give you the boost or the connections to help you work with a big publishing house. Good luck!

  3. Elena Dreisbach
    December 30, 2009 at 5:43 pm #

    One of the problems that I have is keeping myself motivated and still believing that the story I have is a good one. How do you manage to juggle school activities, sports, or other things and still have time to write?


  4. Alexa
    December 31, 2009 at 9:12 pm #

    I feel that as I get older, it is harder and harder to write because of how busy life becomes. However, after a long day of homework, school, sports and after school activities writing is just what I need to end my day! Even if it is just for an hour, I love to wind down and write before I sleep. It relaxes me. That’s not to say that everyday I can do that, because there are days where I don’t finish all of that stuff until 11 PM but I make up for it on the weekends when I have a few extra hours. You do have to believe in your story but you also have to believe in yourself. When I write, I do it for myself. Even if no one reads it, it is something that I keep close to me. And then once I finish a chapter, I go back and read and re-read, so I know that my readers will get a clear understanding of what is being written. When I write, I just go with it and worry about the rest later! Good luck!

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