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Some thoughts on Self-publishing

Caged Maiden

Article Team
So we've talked about it a lot. In fact, there is a discussion about this going on right now. And I have mentioned many times before how I'm going to query for a set amount of time, and if that doesn't pan out (my first choice is to be validated by snagging a traditional publishing deal, but that's only because I'm not a great businessperson, and feel i need help in that regard) I'm going to self-publish, probably with a lot of help from a freelance editor who helps many other writers publish their own books, by taking care of formatting, cover design, and editing services.

Anyways, I read this article, and liked it a lot, so I thought I'd share it with you guys here, whether you KNOW you're going to self-publish, are considering all options, or just don't know enough about publishing and are gathering information to ultimately make the decision later.

Laura M Hughes | Fantasist

I admit I've been focused mostly on writing and honing my skills these past years, and like I already mentioned, I'm terrible at promoting the businesses I already have (real estate and before that, costuming, which was word of mouth only). I hope this helps those who are trying to decide whether they want to query or jump into their own publishing business.


Hola, Maiden!
I have been self-publishing through CreateSpace for years, and I've had a good time with them. It's easy to set up an account and learn the process, and they don't charge you a thing, though there are paid services available for a few hundred dollars should you want a more customized final product, especially the cover. You can order books singly or in groups at a discount, and your books are available on Amazon.com, with a large potential customer base.

As you can tell, I'm pleased with CreateSpace and will use them into the foreseeable future. If I had one change to make, it would be to use a professional editor to go over my MS after I went over it myself. But I've priced it, and a 100,000 word novel runs you about $1000 for editor's fees. And if you're not careful, the editor is going to insist on giving you a three-page critique of your book, summarizing strengths, weaknesses, and things to change. That's it; that's what your $1000 buys. $350 a critique page. To me that's questionable value. Of more value is a copy editor's careful eye for typos, weak grammar, slips in dialogue patterns, widows and orphans, flaccid back cover blurb, and so forth. That is an actual improvement. For the editor's 3-page critique, I can just ask a writer friend to read it and tell me what to think, and save $1000. But no friend wants to wade into a MS and look for typos; let a paid professional do that.

So for those who are considering free self-publishing where you write, edit, format, build a cover, and track sales of your own books, CreateSpace may be your place.

Insolent Lad

Though I prefer to think of myself as an 'indie publisher' rather than self-published (if only because it sounds better/more professional), I went to using Lulu early on and have stuck with it. Print and ebook, distribution to Amazon and everyone else, so it's a one-stop shop. Fortunately I have a design background so I was able to handle the book setups myself and have friends I can depend on for editorial input (not that I listen to them!). And there are no costs other than my own time and buying a proof copy of the print version if I want full distribution.


Myth Weaver
I would much rather have a "pro" beta reader than a $1000 editor report. But if you go more expensive... I'm working with an editor now who goes through a rather detailed edit, both story and copy (although she still recommends a copy editor in the end) and by the time we're done passing the ms back and forth, she'll have read the full ms multiple times over at least 6 months, more likely pushing close to 9. She is good, and also ran her own small publishing house before the digital era wiped out a lot of the little guys and she took up editing, so she has good perspective on things.

The industry has changed enough, I think agents pretty much expect a "clean" ms that's been covered by a freelance editor these days. Meaning, if two ms hit their desk and are "equal" otherwise, the one that needs less work is the one the agent will take on. It's a wild crapshoot out there, gotta shave the dice every which way you can, heh heh.