Common misconceptions of self-publishing

            Because indie publishing or self-publishing is still in the early stages of being recognized as a viable platform, there are still the old misconceptions being thrown around. These are used to scare potential indie authors away from taking that leap into the market.

“You’ll be lucky to sell 200 copies.”
This was the first thing I was told when I decided to self-publish my first novel Immortalis Carpe Noctem. It scared me, as it was meant to. But after talking with other indie authors and looking at the sales rankings on Kindle and other online platforms, I realized that this was completely untrue. A well plotted book that has been edited and has good cover art sells just as well as its traditionally published counterpart. In fact, Immortalis Carpe Noctem, sold more than 200 copies (print and eBooks combined) within the first couple of months of publication. It has gone one to sell more than ten-thousand copies, and the number rises every day.
            As you can see, the quote above is entirely wrong, however, there is a seed of information there that you should take from it. No book will sell without help. I didn’t just place my book online and hope for sales. To start, I made sure the book was edited, two times, it had a beautiful cover. Those two items will be essential. Beyond that, to get Immortalis Carpe Noctem to move, I had to market it. Getting the book online to vendors is just part of the process. Do not think that hitting “submit” will be the final step in your publishing journey. That is just the starting point.

“Self –publishing will ruin your chances of ever being traditionally published.”

Another thing I was told when I decided to self-publish was that it would ruin my chances to ever be traditionally published. That idea is more the old style of thinking. Many authors today who’s books show great promise are becoming targeted by literary agents. Instead of the author querying an agent and then waiting months for a response, the agents, after seeing excellent sales, are contacting authors directly to offer representation for things like: print rights, foreign rights, and movie options. In essence, the indie market is becoming a sort of slush pile for these agents.
Now, as with all things, there is some truth to take from this quote. Only the books that are really selling well will attract literary agents. If you are dabbling with both self-publishing and still considering the traditional route, it might not be best for you to brag about your “publishing achievements,” if your book has not shown continuous positive sales. Remember that it takes time to build and audience and you cannot expect overnight success. If you are straddling the fence between these two methods of publishing, keep them separate until you have something that is really worth bragging about.

“Only friends and family will buy your books.”
This quote makes me laugh every time I hear it. In actuality, your friends and family will expect you to give them the book you publish, for free. Their thought process being, they helped and supported you, the least you can do is give them a free book.
And that’s just fine. Give them their free copy. You’re not marketing to them. As an indie author, you want strangers to buy your book. Focus all of your marketing efforts on building a platform and getting to know new readers. Those are the people you want to connect with and turn into fans.


Diana said...

Very good post - excellent information and some people's reactions to Indie Publishing really are laughable!

Unknown said...

Great post! I ran into so many similar naysaying ideas when I first began publishing my non-fiction articles on the web. Yeah, I'm not a *real* writer because I'm not published in a printed magazine. I'm not a *real* writer because about half of my material was ghost writing. It's okay, I laughed all the way to the bank that first year with $4,000 in profit to claim on my taxes. And I didn't spend a dime on gas money!

Working on my first novel it's a great deal easier for me to ignore these statements that make absolutely no sense. But I feel for those who don't have any experience in publishing anything and feel the fear these statements are encouraging.

Thanks Katie, it rocks that you would try to dispel the myths.

a traditional housewife against the world said...

Great post! I originally took the traditional route and waited a full year for an offer. I did receive an offer for representation, but chose to take my first book on the indie road, instead. Things have been moving along beautifully, but not because I sat back and just waited. Like you said, market! That's the best advice (after a lot of editing) I can, market, market!

Unknown said...

I've been thinking about self-publishing for a while now, and posts like this one are pushing me toward it. Thank you for the information!

Katie Salidas said...

Glad you all are enjoying the post. I welcome you to post your own misconceptions too. I know there are many more floating around out there.

Unknown said...

Fantastic post. I've been tossing back and forth with traditional and self-publishing... I'll stick it out and see where the traditional gets me, but this post definitely showed me there's hope with going indie.

J.A. Beard said...

Interesting post,

I'm still on the query-go-round at the moment, but I keep edging toward self-pub, if only because it seems like if I'm going to spend years getting an agent and getting published anyway, I could spend those years building up a fan base. Don't know! Everything is changing so fast.

Marion Sipe said...

I think I might bookmark this and post a link whenever I hear those things. I've barely talked about my decision to self-publish and I've already heard all three! :D

Anonymous said...

Nice post Katie. I think you covered all of the "myths" pretty well. Indie writers need to respect their own art, be confident and then market their tails off when they have something good to sell.

Thanks again for this series.


Shéa MacLeod said...

Great post! I find your numbers really encouraging. Looking at the publishing date on your first novel, I take it the 10,000 copies was over about a year?

I'd pretty much given up the dream of going the traditional route (I'd had some agent interest, but was ultimately rejected.)already when I ran across Joe Konrath's blog. He totally convinced me self publishing was the way to go for a LOT of reasons.

Stories like yours just keep me encouraged. Congrats on your success! And thanks for sharing it with us.

Katie Salidas said...

I'd still love to hear any other myths you've been told about self publishing!

About The Author

Katie Salidas is a USA Today bestselling author and RONE award winner known for her unique genre-blending style.

Since 2010 she's penned five bestselling book series: the Immortalis, Olde Town Pack, Little Werewolf, Chronicles of the Uprising, and the all-new Agents of A.S.S.E.T. series. As her not-so-secret alter ego, Rozlyn Sparks, she is a USA Today bestselling author of romance with a naughty side.

In her spare time Katie also produces and hosts a YouTube talk show; Spilling Ink. She also has a regular column on First Comics News where she explores writing from a nerdy perspective.