This week, the RWA/NYC Blog is all about self-publishing.
Here is the first of three articles on the subject.
Let us know what you think.
TO SELF-PUB OR NOT TO SELF-PUB: THAT IS THE QUESTION
by Logan Belle
There are pros and cons to self-publishing. Do the pros outweigh the cons, or vice versa?
This past October, after half writing half a dozen “traditionally” published novels, I self-published for the first time. For me, the two pros were simple and obvious: first, I could write the story I wanted, without an editor’s approval or the consensus of a committee. Second, I could control the cover art.
For this project, NOW OR NEVER, the most important thing in the “plus” column was the freedom of subject matter. In a cultural moment when the hot novels du jour feature twenty-something virgins with scarred pasts and even more scarred heroes, I wanted to write about a forty-something woman with an ordinary life and an ordinary past. Even her crisis is ordinary: I wanted her to have breast cancer. A relatable issue, but not exactly “romantic.” This might have been a hard-sell to the editor of my New Adult novel or my soapy 1920s historical novel. But for me, myself, and I? It was a no-brainer.
The freedom of cover design was another joy. From my major publishers, I’ve had great covers and I’ve had lousy ones. Either way, I had little to no say in them. But with NOW OR NEVER, I worked with an artist/designer whose work I long admired, and I picked the image I wanted to set the tone for my book.
That’s the good news. The bad news is that everything that usually happened for “free” when I wrote a book: editing, copy editing, cover art– I now had to pay for. Instead of getting an advance, I was paying in advance of earning anything from the book.
And then there was the marketing. I did not have the book on NetGally. I did not have banner ads on Goodreads or Heroes & Heartbreakers or even a publisher’s own website. I did not have any “merchandizing” within the e-tailers. And let me tell you: These things matter.
The last I checked, most if not all of the romance bestsellers on the USA Today list had one of the Big Five publishers behind them. Of course there are incredible indie success stories that are the exception to the rule. But for the most part, I look at self-publishing as a lottery ticket that only works as extra, bonus books on top of my traditionally published books. For most writers, and this includes myself, there isn’t a shortcut or easy way to build an audience. In my opinion, the best case scenario for any author is to find a good “home” where an editor and marketing team will be your partners in building a brand. This is as difficult to find as hitting self-publishing gold, but it is still my goal.♥
Logan Belle is the author of erotic, New Adult, and romance novels including the BLUE ANGEL TRILOGY (Kensington), MISS CHATTERLEY (Pocket Star), THE GIN LOVERS (St. Martin’s Press) and the upcoming novel RUIN ME (St. Martin’s Press). NOW OR NEVER and the sequel NOW AND FOREVER are her ebook originals. She blogs daily at Romance at Random, tweets @JamieLBrenner, and sometimes remembers to update www.loganbelle.com.