This Business of Writing

Follow Up to: “Why I’ll Self-Publish – Probably.”

In The Craft of Writing on April 8, 2010 at 10:46 am

by C. Patrick Schulze

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Well, “they” say to write controversy and I’ve seemed to stir up a bit with yesterdays’ post on “Why I’ll Self-Publish – Probably.” I had hoped people would comment and offer their insights so as to fill in any gaps I may have missed. Well, I’ve missed one – a big one.

Though I received some lengthy comments, one paragraph from a specific comment is pasted below. This commenter offered me an important angle I had, indeed, missed. That one comment has me rethinking my conclusions. We’ll see.

Her comment:

“One thing that having an agent, publisher, and traditionally published book did for me was to provide me with cachet. That cachet led to many newspaper and magazine interviews, some radio, a local TV thing, and requests from major magazines for a couple of articles. The web site that I built to accompany the books has turned into quite a platform and also a source of modest income. I’m fairly sure that most of the success that I’ve had after publication has come from the fact that I was traditionally published.”

Ah, cachet! Her point is quite well taken. An old saw I believe in says “Image is everything.” Cachet is a strong part of image. Humm…

Anyone have any other thoughts?

As you know, I wish for you only best-sellers.

C. Patrick Schulze
Author of the emerging novel, “Born to be Brothers.”


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  1. Hi Patrick, I self published initially because I couldn’t get a publisher for my first book and wanted to get it out there. Then the next 2 books because I just wanted to sell them myself on the blog. But for my next book I will look for an agent and publisher again, for the cachet or ‘kudos’ reason. After 3 self pub books and 18 months building my online author profile I am in a MUCH better position than originally in terms of getting an agent/publisher as well as understanding the contract, marketing and all the rest.
    I can see authors combining the approaches in the future – as Scott Sigler has been doing. Fulfilling a contract with a publisher with one genre/series of books and then self pubbing direct to the fans with other books.
    I like to call it “adventures in publishing”!

    If you haven’t seen it, here’s a video I did on how self publishing (with print on demand) changed my life
    http://www.thecreativepenn.com/2009/06/18/video-print-on-demand-changed-my-life/

    • Hello, Joanna,

      Nice to hear from you.

      I, like you, understand the power of cachet and know it would give my writing career a powerful boost. I’m still giving that one some thought as it relates to my decision to self-publish.

      As to self-publishing then seeking agents, one thought keeps coming back to me. If I self-publish and I develop my market, what advantages would “the system” offer at that point?

      I love your idea of the “Adventures in Publishing.” How very clever of you! Combining the two publishing types is an interesting idea. I’d love to see a post as to how that works out for you.

      As to your video, I’ll check it out and link to it on Twitter today.

      Thanks for taking your time to comment, Joanna. It was nice to see your smiling face there this morning.

      Patrick

  2. I have not published anything in either venue at this point in my life, but personally I think all the arguments you made in favor of self publishing hold just as much water today as they did before the
    “cachet” argument was presented. Regardless of everything, publishing houses still basically exist to PREVENT most books from being created. The self publishing industry exists in order to ALLOW most books to be created. I’d rather put the hard work directly into a product that I know will actually exists, then spend all the blood sweat and tears playing politics and kissing the right backsides in the publishing industry (the only way thing EVER get done there) in order to MAYBE have a product…after which you will still have to do all that you would have to do if you self published anyway.

    If the book is well marketed and catched a fan base, you will have just as much of a chance to spread the word about it on various medium as you would if it were traditionally published.

    Stay with the self option.

  3. Hi Patrick – I’ve followed both your self-publishing posts and I’m thinking along the same lines as you. But I see self-publishing and publishing as complementary processes rather than a choice between two alternatives.

    Like you, I’ve been an employer or self-employed for many years. It doesn’t make sense to give away control of our novels, when the web gives us such capability to ‘actualize’ our books, to target likely readers, to set our own price, publication format and date.

    For my first novel, just published, I’ve chosen to avoid agents and publishers, and I’ve taken the ebook route to market – through Smashwords and Kindle. No cachet perhaps, but my objective right now is to expose my work to a wide range of readers – and engage with them. E-publication allows me to do so inexpensively, effectively, and today.

    With my next novel (or perhaps the one after), I hope to be in a better position to negotiate with agents/publishers, demonstrating not only that I can write, but that I have a market.

    The web is ephemeral by nature and I’m convinced that while many readers will sample new writers via ebooks, they’ll still want to buy the print versions of the novels and novelists they really love. So for me, it’s self publishing on the web to get started, printed books and publishers when I’m established well enough to have their full attention and commitment.

    Let me know what you decide … and when. And best of luck. Whichever route you take, you already know it’s the marketing that really matters.

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