The tricky path of self-publishing


So, a couple of years ago I sent out the manuscript for my first novel and received blanket rejections. As rejections go most were incredibly nice, a few were a little less nice. Recently I decided to re-visit my novel and edit it once again – I tightened it up and added in a couple of chapters. I’m currently waiting to hear back from an agent about it but, if the answer is once again ‘no’ I am going to go down the self-publishing route (eBook, not paper). This is a very scary thing to do as I have no idea how to market a book, how to source a good editor and proof reader, or if my book will even sell after all that. The obvious thing to do was to research Amanda Hocking and how she became so successful but, as she points out, there is no real formula as to why her books sold so well and others didn’t. She made an excellent point in one of her blog posts: “Self-publishing and traditional publishing really aren’t that different. One is easier to get into but harder to maintain. But neither come with guarantees. Some books will sell, some won’t.”

Rachel Van Dyken is the newest self-publishing sensation – selling 85,000 copies (probably more now as that figure is from March) of her novel The Bet, a New Adult* book. More people are likely to become overnight sensations but it takes a lot of work and awareness.

First, I will need to find an editor. Then, after I’ve made necessary changes, I’ll need someone to proof it. Luckily I have a lot of friends who would be able to design a cover, I’m sure one of them will be willing to help out (pretty please).

And then there’s the marketing.

It seems to be that the key to marketing is to approach bloggers. Bloggers are incredibly influential and if you can get them to review your book you’re onto a winner. Trusted reviews are what people look for, you don’t experiment with the ropey looking restaurant down the street unless its been recommended to you.

One of my favourite poems is The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost. He wrote:

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Choosing to self-publish isn’t the wrong choice, it’s a choice and one which may lead me to sell books, or may not. It isn’t the choice I originally wanted to make, I would rather have had someone pat me on the back first and say, “we like this, we want to sell it for you”. In this either or scenario I’m better off trying self-publishing otherwise I’d just be sat at the crossroads, waiting for someone to come along and lead me away.

*New Adult is a genre aimed at those post teen years where you’re finding your feet in the real world. Although, honestly, at 28 I still feel pretty new to adulthood.

One thought on “The tricky path of self-publishing

  1. It’s no fun to be on a social network or to follow someone
    who never talks to you. You need to know which
    ones can rank, and what the competition is like for each one.

    The last thing to consider in regards to the idea of seo tools is that there is an algorithm that is continually changing.


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