Today, we wrap up the roundtable with self-published authors Lee Adams, P.A. Hendrickson, Tommie Lyn, and Victor Travison. I again want to thank all four of them for being willing to share their experiences with all of our readers. I hope you've enjoyed this roundtable as much as I have. Maybe in the future, all of these magnificent authors can share individually in guest posts.
And, without further ado, here is our final installment.
Liberty Speidel: Some readers, writers, even agents see a stigma with self-publishing. What has your experience with this been and how have you attempted to counter it?
Victor Travison: I knew there was always a chance The Justice Coalition would be dismissed out of hand as a hack’s job, but by posting sample chapters on my website I hoped to forestall this assumption. Also, through my blog that compares sci-fi concepts with the Bible, “Lightwalker’s View,” I hoped people would get the idea I was a serious writer with a serious message to offer. I post every Wednesday morning, and I post a link to it at Facebook and Twitter so my friends/followers know it’s there for the reading.
Tommie Lyn: I really don’t care how agents view it, since I have no desire to have an agent. But when other writers I had thought were friends view my work with disdain, when they dismiss my books even though they’ve never even seen or read any of them, well, that was a shocker. I’d had no idea of the snobbery involved in writers circles. At this point, though, I’m not going to concern myself with it anymore, because I know the rewards I’m getting, and I’d much rather have them than what I would have gotten if I’d been young enough to hold out for a publishing contract.
Lee Adams: They’re gonna get over that “stigma” thing within the next ten years, I’ll bet. I come from a music background, and I remember when we all sat around waiting to get discovered. Then one day someone said, “Hey, I’ve got some recording equipment. Let’s do this mother ourselves!” And now, the major labels (only a few left) wait for the band to produce their own work, get a following, build a healthy MP3 catalogue, and THEN they’ll call you. Then they can sweep in, slap their logo on your work, and distribute it to the whole wide world. Everybody wins. That’s exactly what’s happening with the publishing industry. Independently published books will be the standard in publishing in no time.
P.A. Hendrickson: I have found the so called self-publishing stigma to be more prevalent among authors than readers. If someone reads your book and enjoys it, they do not care who published it. Much like the music business has changed in the last twenty years, where major record labels now compete against hundreds of independent labels, so the writing business is changing. If the book feels like a real book, reads like a real book, and is competitively priced, then the reader is not being cheated out of any part of the reading experience.
In my mind, there is room for both the independent, self-published authors, and the major label authors. I would love the exposure and high volume potential that comes from a major publishing house, but I also had a tight timeframe to reach my goal of a completed novel that could be held in my hands. As I type this, I am making the final arrangements to head back to the corporate world. My next novel is in the works, but it will have to be written in the evenings and on the weekends, like the majority of authors write their novels.
LS: Do you have any other advice you'd give to writers in general as they choose to self-publish?
VT: Don’t just publish a book and leave it alone, expecting some miracle to draw a crowd. You have to actively promote it any way you can. I am unable physically and financially to put in all the effort many can give, so I am open to all the help I can get. In my opinion, only if you’re a dynamo in the marketing department can self-pubbing have lasting and far-reaching benefits.
TL: First of all, don’t use a vanity company to publish your book.
Do whatever it takes to polish your English grammar skills and spelling abilities so that you can create an error-free manuscript. If you aren’t able to do this, hire an editor to perfect your manuscript for you.
If you can’t create your own cover, hire someone to do it for you...the cover is extremely important as far as the impression it makes on likely customers.
Be aware that you will have to promote/push/sell your book yourself. (Actually, you’ll have to do that no matter whether you self-publish or are published by a traditional publisher...but if you publish your book yourself, you’re likely to get that investment back many times over.)
LA: Keep your day job. And rave on, John Donne. Rave on, rave on, rave on.
PAH: This is important--Never think of yourself as a second-class author because you chose the self-publishing route. It is quite likely your work is far better than many who have been published by major publishing houses.
In the last year, I have met several self-published authors who have had their work picked up by traditional publishers. Can you imagine? These authors actually received a contract without ever submitting a manuscript!
Victor Travison has been writing since the age of eight. His two novels are Savage Worlds and The Justice Coalition. He is currently working on the sequel to The Justice Coalition, Let No Man Put Asunder. Victor resides in the Denver metro area.
If you're contemplating self-publishing, you may find this article from Michael Hyatt a useful tool.
Until next time,