The Democratization of Publishing—Independence is Scary

Original image via Flikr Creative Commons, courtesy of geishaboy

Original image via Flikr Creative Commons, courtesy of geishaboy 500

I’m looking over the final formatting for my new book Rise of the Machines—Human Authors in a Digital World. The goal is to release it on July 4th for a number of reasons. My first book was called We Are Not Alone and then we have the whole Rise of the Machines thing goin’ on with the new book. What better day to release than Independence Day? Okay, May the Fourth might have been cooler, but the book wasn’t finished with editing at that point.

Yes, I am a sci-fi nerd :D.

Publishing has Been Democratized

Before the e-book/indie revolution, we writers relied on New York solely to grant us a career or not. We needed favor from the King traditional press to move forward. There was no other way unless we were willing to hand ten or twenty thousand dollars to a vanity press and hope we could duplicate The Grisham Effect.

Grisham Effect—Self-publish and sell books out of the back of our cars and hope to get NY’s attention. But note, this wasn’t true independence. It was investing a lot of money and time in hopes of gaining favor with NYC.

For well over a century, NY held total control over print, production, and distribution. Additionally, writers were at the mercy of the publishers’ sales forces. The sales force would look back at what had been selling in order to get an idea of what would sell in the future. 

Yeah, well we know this is an awesome post-apocalyptic book, but there are already too many on the market. NOPE.

Due to the business structure of legacy press, it was far harder to convince them to take risks (still is). They have overhead, pricey Manhattan rents, and employees to pay. Shareholders have expectations, too.

Not personal, just business. Still works that way.

Living with Mom and Dad

Going traditional reminds me a lot of living at home. It does have a lot of advantages. I lived with my grandparents during my teen years and the fridge was always full. I didn’t have to sit and pay bills or get a job and pray I made enough tip money to keep the lights on. Of course this security came with limited freedom.

I had a curfew. There were restrictions on how I could dress, where I could go, who I could hang out with, and how I spent my  limited “spending money.” But, it was safe, predictable, and did I mention safe?

Take Care of Me

When I landed a premium agent, I thought, “Score! NY will LOVE this book. Surely I won’t have to do the heavy lifting.” Then my proposal sat…and sat…and sat some more. I didn’t want to leave the traditional nest, but I wasn’t being granted access to the traditional world either.

I was in Limbo, and had to make a choice. Stay in the nest or fly.

Image via Flikr Creative Commons, courtesy of Tim Simpson.

Image via Flikr Creative Commons, courtesy of Tim Simpson.

Moving Out

Going alone is terrifying. When I finally made the decision to move out of my grandparents’ home, life became much scarier and utterly unpredictable. I had to do a lot of stuff to survive that I would never had to do had I stayed in the nest. I wouldn’t have had to throw newspapers all night long just to crawl into my 8:00 a.m. Political Science class.

Had I stayed at home, I wouldn’t have had to sleep on a mattress on the floor (left there by previous owners of the duplex I rented). I wouldn’t have had to shop at Goodwill for my clothes or hover around Dumpsters like a turkey buzzard looking for useful things people threw away.

***Note: NEVER take home anything made of CLOTH. The bugs will carry you away. Yes, learned this the hard way by taking home the Sofa of DOOM.

Original image via Flikr Creative Commons, courtesy of Lord Jim

Original image via Flikr Creative Commons, courtesy of Lord Jim

Ah, but there was no going back, and failure had a far steeper price.

Leaving the Traditional Nest

Like many of you, I finally had to make a decision and move out. I wanted an agent and editor to be there for me, to do all that “business stuff.” After two years?

I was finally willing to give up security for freedom.

I didn’t want to have to wear all hats and be all things. Ah, but what we want and what we get in life are two different things. Not only did I have to leave the traditional nest, I had to leave the indie publisher nest.

I left because I wanted to try self-publishing, and I also knew I wouldn’t get the creative control I wanted, thus couldn’t fully spread my wings and crash to the ground and die try new ideas.

Image via WANA Commons, courtesy of Melissa Bowersock

Image via WANA Commons, courtesy of Melissa Bowersock

Author Independence

Here in America, we will be celebrating Independence Day. Americans believed they could create something different, something better. Meanwhile England was all like, “A government of the people, by the people and for the people? Are you HIGH? We protect you from wild Indians and send you supplies. We keep order.”

Writers are now facing the same shift.

Despite the scary wilderness ahead and the idea writers would 1) have to do a lot of stuff ourselves and 2) have no long-established body of support (Mother England Publishing) and 3) try things never done before in human history? We’re doing it.

The Indie movement is creating a paradigm that’s “Of the reader, for the reader and by the reader.” If we succeed, it’s because we did something right. We earned attention and loyalty from readers. Granted, the scary part is that we can just as easily get skewered by readers.

It’s the risk we take.

Original image via Flikr Creative Commons, courtesy of Peter Dutton

Original image via Flikr Creative Commons, courtesy of Peter Dutton

Yet, by breaking free, we have a chance to explore and test new ideas and combine or even create new genres. We can fail, learn from that failure and try again. We are part of a creative revolution and, like any revolution, not all of it’s pretty. But, some of it, in the end, is GLORIOUS.

So to all authors brave enough to go indie press or even go it alone? Hats off to you. And even those authors who are publishing traditionally? You are part of the revolution as well: social media, blogging and even hybridizing (self-publishing in between books to keep fans excited). It is a great time to be a writer, so Happy Independence to all of you.

Vive la Revolution!

For the indies out there, have you enjoyed your freedom? What’s been scary? Have you failed but learned a vital lesson? What are your concerns? Advice? Suggestions? Did you ever take home a Sofa of Doom? What crazy stuff did you have to do when you were first on your own?

Now get back to writing :D.

I love hearing from you!

To prove it and show my love, for the month of June, everyone who leaves a comment I will put your name in a hat. If you comment and link back to my blog on your blog, you get your name in the hat twice. What do you win? The unvarnished truth from yours truly.

NOTE: My prior two books are no longer for sale. My new book, Rise of the Machines–Human Authors in a Digital World will be out (God-willing) July 4th. I will let y’all know when it’s ready for sale and I am updating/rewriting the other two ;) .

I will pick a winner once a month and it will be a critique of the first 20 pages of your novelor your query letter, or your synopsis (5 pages or less).

And also, winners have a limited time to claim the prize, because what’s happening is there are actually quite a few people who never claim the critique, so I never know if the spam folder ate it or to look for it and then people miss out. I will also give my corporate e-mail to insure we connect and I will only have a week to return the 20 page edit.

At the end of June I will pick a winner for the monthly prize. Good luck!


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    • Jennifer Cole on June 28, 2013 at 10:07 am
    • Reply

    I used a vanity press to publish my first book Dark Cherub. My husband gave me the money as a gift. I learned a lot from the experience because even though they did a lot of the leg work, there was still more leg work to be done. What I enjoyed with the vanity press I used (Westbow Press) is their customer service and their follow up with you to help you market your book. Since I had to do a lot of my own marketing since the package I bought didn’t include the crème-de-la-crème of marketing consultation, I ended up joining other authors, indie groups, and increasing my sphere of team players. Also, it forces you to understand the business side of writing as well. One gentleman told me that he wrote his book, put it on Amazon using the KDP platform but didn’t want to market it. I told him that you have to market your book. If you don’t want to market it, then write a killer query letter and try to get an agent to do all the leg work.

    Now, my second book I’ve finished, I am working with an agent. This is has been a good experience because she’s doing all the work for me. I’ve had about four rejections so far. The biggest difference with the indie market and the traditional market is (for me) time. I could have my book edited, covers completed, printed my book, and could have got going already. But in this regard, she had the contacts I do not have. But it does have it’s own advantages. For some indie authors, they eek out trying to get sales and royalties whereas with a traditional publisher, you sell your book to them and you get a check.

    I’m not sure which method I like best to be honest. Once I receive an offer (and I know I will, it’s just a matter of time) I can answer that question better. But right now, the indie way seems to shine like fireworks to me. Date: Fri, 28 Jun 2013 14:53:08 +0000 To:

  1. Loved this post. The pictures were great! Really hit the way writing feels sometimes. It’s always a little bit scary–and maybe that’s good. Keeps us trying to make each novel/novella/article better.

    • stephaniequeen on June 28, 2013 at 10:11 am
    • Reply

    Great analogy – I lived with Grandma when I was in my early 20s!
    Now I’m totally and finally Independent – on my own! But not really…
    One of the most important things I’ve found that I needed to do is to be part of a community of other Indie/self-published authors. So even though we’re on our own as Indie Authors, we’re not on our own in the world of publishing. There are a lot of us!
    The best thing I did so far:
    I’m a member of a group of seven collaborating authors who’ve combined to produce and market our own anthology which just this week made the USA Today Bestseller list! I love my Indie Author friends!
    Thanks for your fabulous post–as usual!
    Stephanie Queen

  2. Never did bring home a couch of doom, but during my time in the marines dumpster diving after the previous group left an area was common. People would throw away so many useful things that they didn’t have the space to pack.

  3. Reblogged this on Wendy Reis Editing (Blog) and commented:
    Boy, is this a good one. Kristen has done it again. The analogy is perfect.

  4. Hi Kristen. Your post made me realize what a fundamental shift has happened. Last evening, my wife and I were taking the ferry from Vancouver to Victoria. We were enjoying the scenery and discussing the marketing plan for my first novel, The Douglas Document – Betrayal. Our plans don’t include querying an agent or publisher and waiting six months to a year to get rejected or hear nothing at all. Instead, we were thinking about how to get the book into the ferry gift shop.

  5. I am one of the writers you talk about…on the fence not knowing quite what to do. And It encourages me to know that there are options. I haven’t published anything…yet. I have one novel complete and another in the process. It’s always exciting to think that my books might be out there in the public someday. Many days, I love the idea of traditional publishing. Help when needed, and all of that. But that doesn’t happen to many. And so often, as it did for you, we might land an agent only to have the project sit and sit and sit some more. Our words deserve to be read. They are heartfelt and meaningful. I love the Indie movement! In the music world, I love the indies as well. Such creativity would have gone unknown in the past. I have read a lot of indie books, as well as traditionally published ones, recently, and I love getting to know the authors. Of the books I have read, I have interviewed many of the authors, indie or otherwise. If anyone would like to learn about these authors, feel free to check them out on my blog: I have learned so much from these people about the publishing world. Thanks for sharing this post!

    1. And just because you self-pub or indie pub doesn’t mean traditional is off-limits. The new movement is offering NY a way to discover vetted authors readers love, minimizing risk for all.

      1. Thank you, Kristen. It is a very exciting time!

  6. Reblogged this on S. M. Nystoriak's Writer's Block.

  7. Every year, fewer writers are sending query letters to a long list of literary agents, waiting up to a year or more for a response. Yes, no, maybe, kiss my butt … something. Writers no longer have to kowtow to agents and editors who snub, ignore, and reject quality work. I’ve been writing professionally, full time, since 2003. I’m not a newbie. I’ve got a long bio, traveling on my own dime since 2006, speaking and selling my books at bookstores, book clubs, women’s groups, churches, civic groups, country clubs, and out of the trunk of my car. Over 200 venues at last count. I’ve done the PR parade from TV to radio to sitting alone for hours at bookstores and book fairs.

    Prior to signing a contract with an independent small publisher in December 2011, I chased the dream of traditional publishing. It was October 2010 and I decided to snail mail and email query letters to approximately 106 literary agents. I wasn’t stupid about it. I researched those who represented my genre, studied every agent’s website, and sent a beautifully written query letter I’d spent months preparing. Sixty-one agents never acknowledged my existence. 61! The remaining asked for partials, fulls, or rejected me entirely. I made notes of who rejected me with their horrible form letters and rude remarks, those who were cold or took more than two years to contact me!

    I also made notes of the agents who were kind, rejecting me nicely, and those who were not kind, making me feel like poop. It’s quite an interesting list. Eventually, I signed a year contract with a New York agent, a good one. A great one, in fact. Sadly, nothing happened. He couldn’t sell the novel.

    I suppose there comes a time when every writer draws a line. Reaches their limit. Sadly, in the past the only option a writer had was to collect years of rejection letters, or simply give up. And a lot of us did.

    Somehow, this barbaric process made me feel so subhuman. Thank God, there’s now a better way. Self-publishing and self promotion has become a viable option. But like the sheep and the goats, writers will continue to be separated between those who will pay for quality editing, professional book covers, and publicity, and those who won’t. Writers, you can’t publish a lot of crap because you’re in a hurry to make a million bucks. Otherwise, we all look like the old vanity writers who never honed or polished their writing skills in the first place.

    Book buyer beware!

    I’ve heard it said lately that publishers and literary agents are a dying breed; they just haven’t laid down yet. They say we are in a new world groping our way forward, but that life is too short to make a deal with a dinosaur industry where retailers can return unsold books to publishers. Many believe that antiquated process has got to stop. Everything has to evolve, or die out and the publishing industry is no exception. Plenty of hurdles remain for the writer, and not every writer will clear them. But finally, we have more than one respected publishing option. A way to get paid every month instead of once or twice a year.

    Don’t plan on getting rich, but thank God, we’re no longer in Egypt. We crossed the Red Sea, and made it through 40 years in the desert. There’s more to be done, but the ball is now in our court. In the end, it becomes simple. Readers just want to read great books. They don’t care how it happens. I feel the industry will survive but will look very different to how it did before Nooks and Kindles took over the earth.

    Kristen is 100% spot on. Prepare for a wild ride, writers. This adventure has just begun. Some of us will stop wasting time, burn our bridges, and never look back.

  8. Let’s grant that I’m a nobody, first, and that it’s only been a couple weeks since my book went into production. In a very real sense, I’m still hanging by a toe to the nest.

    Because of the subject matter of my book, I decided to self-publish going out of the gate. There’s not a large market for my book to begin with, and waiting years is not an option I can afford. I still have my day job for financial security and I’m gradually creating a following. I’m also busy writing the next several books. So far, I’ve earned a cup of Starbucks, but I knew it would be slow and probably not a big seller. That’s not the point of this first book. I want people to see the style I use and see that I can tell a good story, so they might come back for the next one and the one after that.

    I would love to be a traditionally published author, but I know that’s not going to happen overnight. Right now, I’m testing my wings and making them stronger so I can let go of the nest.

    • Lanette Kauten on June 28, 2013 at 11:28 am
    • Reply

    What a great metaphor. I hadn’t thought of it like that before.

  9. Great post! We’re on the edge of a wide-open, untamed land, launching ourselves into adventure. Love it. BTW, recently I found out about this site called No Names, No Jackets. You can upload a sample chapter where readers can check out your writing without titles, author names, book covers, blurbs–nothing but the writing. It’s a unique concept, pretty exciting, and right in line with the “by the readers, for the readers, of the readers.”

  10. When I started out, I thought traditional publishing was the only way. When I learned going indie was a viable option, I was still nervous. Now, it seems like indie is the best way for me. As long as one puts out a professional, polished book, idie has a lot of positives trad publishing can’t match. Yes, you miss out on some of the perks of trad publishing but I think it’s worth the tradeoff.

  11. A major part of my decision to self-publish was time. I want to get it done and move on to this next book. I haven’t got three years to invest in playing the game then waiting around with my fingers crossed. I don’t know a lot about self-publishing but I’m willing to learn and listen. Thanks for the post!

  12. With much ridicule, I went Indie back in 2010. Did I know what I was doing? Heck no! Do I know now? I’ve picked up a few things, but there is so much more to learn. Its people like you Kristen that keep me moving my fingers on the laptop keyboard!

  13. fly free!

  14. I don’t think I’ll ever write another agent query. While self-publishing is danged hard work with sometimes little reward, I love my independence. I struggle and make mistakes, but I’m hopefully learning to fail better. Although it’s frustrating to see the paltry royalties even though I’ve gotten good reviews and won awards, I’m trying to just put my head down and keep writing the next book.

    1. Amen!

  15. I’m looking forward to your book coming out soon, though I’m not a fan of the term, “Rise of the Machines”. For me, and I’m sure for many, the biggest challenge is getting awareness through social media, and I’m hoping your book offers some very useful guidelines in that regard.

  16. Thanks so much for this post. As someone who is, at this very moment, traversing the frightening landscape of “getting published” for the first time, I found this very helpful and motivating.

    I’d love to link back from my blog, but being reasonably new to this process, I don’t even know how 🙁

    1. I think that all you have to do is go to the top of this post (the very top) and click on where it says “reblog”. Other than that, you might be able to copy the link in the search bar of your browser, and paste it into one of your blog posts. Someone correct me if I am wrong. 🙂

  17. I lived in my car when I first got out on my own. I didn’t leave by choice, I was just left. Besides that, I learned a lot about not taking anything in life for granted. As far as writing goes, I’ve failed over and over again at finishing a book, but now with the Indie movement, I have been placed on the right track with the right people to go to for advice and I finally believe that I can do this. I’ve always been independent at heart, so looking at the big companies never really appealed to me anyway. I was born for Indie. A week from today I’m also finally starting my own company. It’s been a life long dream to do it and after I’ve been trying to put it all together the last 2 years as well as get my writing in.

    PS- In my first apartment I made that same mistake you did with the couch. It took some serious bug battles and by the time I finally killed them all, I was moving out. I left it of course.

    • kristininholland on June 28, 2013 at 1:50 pm
    • Reply

    Damned fine piece of writing; and inspirational–especially that reference to U.S. independence from England. You made me homesick while motivating me to go for self-publishing. Now I just have to get off my a*s and do it! Thanks Kristin

  18. Again Kristen you are the girl in the know in the exact right spot. I am getting really close to having a manuscript ready to go. I am wondering what would be my best option. I have established ties with several authors who have gone both routes. I keep hearing that Amazon is a really easy way to self-publish, but just am not sure what is best for the first time.

    1. I think it’s good to try the trad route with your first book just because it does make you wait. The biggest mistake in self-publishing is publishing before your book is ready. Don’t query everyone at once; do it in batches, and before sending out the next batch (after about 3 months) look at your ms again. Having a break from it (write something else while you’re waiting & read lots of books).is the best way to make sure that you don’t jump the gun. It’s amazing how terrible something you thought was good can look after 3 -6 months of reading other books and studying your craft.

      If you do it this way, it doesn’t matter if anyone wants your work or not, because the enforced wait is helping you. It’s part of the process.Then if you do self-pub make sure you have all the forms of editing done, structural, line and copy-editing. Good beta readers or a ms appraisal person will suffice for the structural edit, but you need someone to look at the prose (line edit), even if it’s just the first chapter, or you might put out something not very good without even knowing it.

      If I had put my book out in the state it was in when I got my agent, I would be embarrassed about it today. I did 2 more rewrites after that.

      1. EXCELLENT point. Gatkeepers help us mature…privately ;).

  19. I can’t wait to read your new book. I know you’ll do great as a self-published author.

  20. Beautifully said, Kristen. I’ve been an ‘entrepublieur’ for a few years now but it’s always great to have even more reason for doing ‘my own thing’. – my tribute to your latest post.

    Thank you!

  21. I just discovered your blog and love, love, love it! Here are my thoughts on writing:

    I’d love to know what you think!


  22. Vive la revolution! That said, I did go with a small publisher. But I have every respect for self-published authors, so long as they behave. 😉 I’m very happy with Astraea Press, I like what they stand for. I don’t think I could have done it on my own. The amount of information I learned after submitting that first book was incredible! Maybe one day I’ll go it alone, but I’m content with having AP’s help for now.

  23. Great post Kristen! It makes me realize there is hope for all of us!

  24. I’m small pubbed and I am content, but there are days when I feel the overload and wish I had an agent to “stock my fridge” and tell me what to do. But then I read posts like this and I feel the pioneer spirit call and I want to be with all the other adventurers and take on the establishment.

    I linked you on my blog…yes I want to win, but better than that, it’s a way to say thanks for all the great posts.

  25. I fell into self-publishing by accident. My first book was a family history, so it had a very limited audience. I had to self publish it. This was back in 2007 and most genealogists I knew were “publishing” at Kinkos. But I found and figured out how to do it there. I took a few to the family reunion and had the web order link handy just in case I didn’t have enough. I handed out slips and pretty much forgot about it until I looked in my mailbox and found a check from Lulu. A nice check! That book is still selling, all over the world and I don’t even try to push it anymore. I’ve done several other histories since then, all for niche markets and all still selling.

    I use both Amazon and Lulu. My first novel is almost ready. I’m trying to decide if I should try the traditional route first or go straight to self-publishing.

  26. I am 53 and I still live at home. My parents do not want me writing because success might cause me to abandon them as they get even older and weaker. With my father in his reluctant mood swings my mother finally agreed to allow me to continue my writing career during times when they do not need me. But I am often reminded with innuendos when I am late in helping my father walk to the dining room table to eat, because I was typing on something, which I thought was rather important. I still remember back in fifth-grade when I wanted to live in a penthouse at Manhattan because to be near the best publishing houses, because my father told me that I could never be a surgeon like him, because I still had my childhood sickness in my fingers. He lectured me that he did not want me to be a corporate lawyer for General Motors. He told me that I had to use my brains instead of my body. There were no home computers back then. What was I going to do with my life? I started watching Neil Simon plays on TV (became a millionaire writer) Barefoot in the Park. A similar type movie (Breakfast at Tiffany’s) the character of George Peppard as a writer intrigued me because I had the biggest TV crush on Audrey Hepburn. I wanted to be a novelist. I could stay home and write for a living. The introduction song of Green Acres I learned of living in a penthouse at Manhattan and I would make fun of Eddie Albert for moving to a farming community and I watched the TV show daily. My eighth-grade year my father decided to move the family to Rural America at Southwest Missouri. I am glad self-publishing is always an option.

    • Sandra Allan on June 28, 2013 at 5:40 pm
    • Reply

    I’ve enjoyed your evolution. Your thoughts about the century long run of NY – reminds me of a dinosaur. A little scary.
    I really enjoy reading your blogs. Good luck with the leap!

  27. My life has had a lot of ups and downs, most of which I could not control, but being an indie is something I can control. Win, lose or fizzle, the rewards far outweigh the risks!

  28. For me it sort of feels safer to take the self-pub route right now (with two kids under 5) because I won’t blow anyone’s deadlines but my own if I need to take time out for my family. Which means I’m less likely to damage my career by annoying a publisher. I’m loving the feeling of being in control.

  29. Yes, I know…I am the one who doesn’t listen to the ‘new wave’ drum. I don’t want to self publish. I don’t want to do an indie book. I had a dream when I began this journey and it has not changed. I want to be read. Traditional print books (Ebooks as a second market are lovely, but above all else print) on traditional shelves in traditional bookstores.

    Folks who believes in e-pub and self pubbed and indie as “the” evolutionary milestone of publishing make faces at me. They call me names and roll their eyes because traditional publishing is a dinosaur.They laugh, sometimes behind my back…more and more frequently to my face. No problem. I got used to that when I was the nerdy girl in high school no one liked except at exam time.

    Now, I suppose, after reading your very well written article, I shall have to pray very, very hard that this is another exam I can ace.

    1. Traditional will remain in some form. Self-pub and indie isn’t for everyone and that’s why I LOVE the democratization of publishing. Instead of One Size Fits All, authors can find the route that FITS their dreams, goals and personalities. I a, behind you a 1000%,,,,but ur still in the revolution. You are going to have to do social media and likely publish smaller things non-traditionally to keep fans excited between books–Ie. short stories, novellas, serials. But if you go traditional then they will assist with that. Best of luck!!!!

      1. Thanks for your advice, Kristen.
        I already ‘do’ other things. I have a website. I have a blog (okay, not an earth-shattering one like yours… I haven’t gotten a good grip on how to reach beyond my very boring everyday life and find a way to get the blog to ‘connect’ with the people who might someday be interested in my fantasies). I write articles for both online and print magazines. I have even had a short story published (hardest thing EVER… I soooooo hate writing short anything.)
        I have a lot to learn. A lot of those social media skills to develop.
        Nice to you to share what you have learned so we don’t have quite so many hurdles to trip over along the journey.

          • Jennifer Rose on July 1, 2013 at 3:59 pm
          • Reply

          pamelacreese, I knooooow- Kristen’s blog is so funny and educational at the same time! I don’t know if you have read any of Kristen’s books – I met her at a conference last weekend and she gave some great tips for developing your blog and your SM presence that she said were in her books. For example, making an ‘ingredient list’ of 100 things YOU – what you love, little tidbits of life you find fascinating, stuff like that. Hope that helps 🙂

          1. what would one DO with such a list?

  30. Sounds familiar. My first book also sat with my agent for 2 years, and 2 years was enough, Is there something about that time length, a kind of magic that kicks in and says, why do you have to wait for someone else to say whether the world can hear your voice or not?

    My agent was against self publishing, but she was against going with a small publisher as well. She considered them all bad for your career and worse for your pocket. After rejections by the big six and one very-nearly-almost yes with the major Aus publisher – they loved it but had too many like it on their list (believe me, there is nothing like Lethal Inheritance anywhere), i was faced with hawking my goods alone around the small guys and I had simply had enough of the whole business, so I took the plunge and I’m glad I did.

    I love having control, and I’m multi-talented, so doing different parts of the job suits me. It’s an uphill slog to get noticed, but independence suits me and that’s what it’s all about. Sure, I take the brunt if I fail, but I also get the kudos for success, and success for me means good reviews by people who know what they’re talking about, ie publishing industry professionals. That’s how I know if I’ve done a good job or not, and that is more important to me than selling lots of books. One should eventually lead to another, but that’s not guaranteed, because a book can be good but not popular, and visa versa.

    So, if it’s important for you to have the stamp of approval of the mainstream publishing deal, then you need to know how you’re going to evaluate your success without that. If my books get Awesome Indies Approval then I know I’ve made the same grade, and for me that’s success.

  31. Reblogged this on Sydney Aaliyah and commented:
    I don’t typically reblog, but this post changed my mind about self publishing. Thanks Kristen Lamb for sharing your sage (knowledge).

    • DeeAnna Galbraith on June 29, 2013 at 8:30 am
    • Reply

    Testify Sistah! I sat at the crossroads for years, thinking if I wasn’t lucky enough to go traditional I could always go indie as a backup. Seems now to have been a waste of time. Sometimes my head threatens to explode with everything I’m supposed to know, but it is so exciting. Put my first book on Amazon two years ago and am about to release second and third this year.

    Lifelong resident of the Hotel California.

    My first coffee table, in front of a used couch, was a skinny closet door from Goodwill. Added table legs from hardware store and found a tiny ceramic frog to sit on doorknob, i.e., toadstool. Now I upcycle tons of stuff.

  32. LOVED this one, Kristen! Very personal.

    Buy cheapy couch. Set in dinky living room. Ignite bug bomb. Leave. Return wondering if chemicals will have any effect on the staples in the dinkier cupboard–and then my bod:)

    Happy Fourth!

    • Carolyn Dekat on June 29, 2013 at 10:46 am
    • Reply

    Love this post. So much to think about. So many ways to move forward now…. Thanks, Kristen!

  33. Looking forward to the release; your posts give me so much to think about. Congrats!

  34. I needed this one! I’ve been oscillating between agent and self publishing. While I’ve always leaned towards self publishing, this reminded me why.

  35. Great post, as usual 😉 Def mentioning this on my weekly review post 😉

    • Dave Stovall on June 30, 2013 at 8:31 am
    • Reply

    In Bob Mayer’s “Write It Forward”, he has an interesting discussion about the percentage splits with traditional vs self-publishing. I highly recommend downloading a copy from his site for anyone considering the self route. I’ll be in line 7/4 for a hard copy of Rise of the Machines!

  36. I’m one of those who’s still on the fence, so I truly value your insight and opinions. I’ve been writing for decades while earning several college degrees, raising three kids, moving across the country and going through several major life changes. I’ve held the traditional publishing dream for what seems like forever. I’ve even had my kids ask when we were gonna see my book on the shelves at Barnes and Noble. So, it’s hard for me to let go of that traditional model. At the same time, the publishing industry is vastly different from when I first sat down at my typewriter to bang out the words “Chapter One” at the top of that first page.

    It’s reassuring, yet also scary, to know we have options now. But with these options come different responsibilities and different facets to master. So whether I choose indie, self, or traditional publishing–or what I prefer, some combination–I know I need to learn all I can about the publishing industry as a whole if I want to be successful.

    1. I totally relate to your position. I have done years of college, raised 4 out of my 7 kids (three to go!), seen them through college, seen my husband through cancer and remissions, lost him last spring, moved across the country…and life never ceases to challenge and amaze.
      And all along the way I have clung to my dream of seeing my books on shelves in bookstores all across the country. My kids keep asking “when”… the way things are changing I can’t even begin to answer that question any more.

      But you will find your answer, as I will. We just have to keep working toward the goal.
      Never give up. Never surrender. 😉

  37. Thank you for the encouragement. I’m a commercially published author whose books were well-reviewed, but didn’t sell well. No publisher wants to talk to me. Believe it or not, it was a respected agent who loved my work but didn’t think she could sell it who encouraged me to self-publish. My first go-it-alone book, Honndu Vale, sequel to my 16th century Christy-finalist Glastonbury Tor, will be out this month! I’m so excited.

  38. Hey Kristen! I have returned! Hah! I’m so glad I found your blog. What a great entry this was, and so fitting to my current happenings. I just published my book on Kindle Direct. You were actually one of the awesome critiquers for it (back when it was called The Last Mage) at DFWWW. I put a mention of you, and your blog, in my post…but it wasn’t for this contest…it was because you are full of awesomesauce and make some incredibly valid points! Hope to see you one day again, if you still attend the workshop!

  39. I have pre-ordered your new book on Amazon. I can’t wait to read it. I am posting your link on SARA and SAWG.

    • Jennifer Rose on July 1, 2013 at 4:14 pm
    • Reply

    Very thoughtful correlation. What I am most nervous about in Self-publishing is understanding what I am getting into with contracts.

  40. Love your blog. Just downloaded your book. Will start reading it tomorrow.


  41. I love your blog post!! Very well written!!

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