I'm interested to know why anyone would choose to self-publish his or her novel.

Were you fed up with the query/rejection process? Did you feel your book was good, but, for one reason or another, agents and editors weren't giving it a chance? Did you feel the need for complete creative control? Did you work with a freelance editor? Were you happy with the end product? Would you do it again?

Absolutely no disrespect intended. Just curious. Was it a dream come true, or did it turn out to be a nightmare? Do tell.

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Thanks, John. I like to hear success stories like that, although I'm not sure it's anything that could be duplicated.
Some are trying. When I was in Detroit last summer I bought a book a woman was selling on the sidewalk. Trying to be the next Vickie Stringer.

What these women (the ones I've seen have all been women, though now that they are publishing companies many men's books are being published) did was found a section of the market that wasn't served at all - young, urban black women - and went directly to them. This was a market that agents and publishers would have said wasn't big enough book-buyers.

Is there another section of the market that is equally poorly served? I don't know. The whole mainstream seems really well-covered, but anything's possible.
Niche marketing may be the answer, but it's a lot easier to find successfully self published non fiction than fiction that finds enough of a audience to be financially successful. But then, you have to define success. Several thousand people have bought my self-published mystery series. I placed a book with a small publisher, and that has strenghthened distribution, but I'm not sure there was any other advantage. When an author sells 5,000 with a big publisher he MIGHT earn out a $3,000 advance. The self-publisher has considerably more of the dollars in his pocket at that point.
I'd love to learn more about how you sold that many self-published books. Maybe you could write about it as a new topic in the "Schmooze Lounge", where it's OK to discuss marketing.
Julie, for me sales have come largely from establishing a relationship with a lot of booksellers and doing a lot of book signings. I also attend conferences and do a lot of networking in the industry. If I can figure out how to, I'll start a new threat in the Schmooze Lounge. I love to talk to writers about how they get their books into the hands of readers.
Thanks, Austin. I Like your typo about "a new threat in the Schmooze Lounge." Talk about Freudian slips! Since I don't know you, I won't presume to analyse it. Hope it doesn't scare Daniel too much!

I wrote a childresns book and I have done everything myself. I am also working on a novel and I thought what a great idea it would be to have a site where you could load your partically or done work. Most writers are avid readers and could help edit while you read. If several people did this to each work then you would get back a lot of feedback and edit/changes.

As a reader/editer you would get to read the work for free and the author would get their editing for free as well. Once a work was finished and ready for sale it could also be listed at this site for anyone to purchase.

Good idea or bad?

www.firestationbuddies. com
What makes you think writers have the time to edit your books? You might get in a group where you exchange editing chores.
If by self-publishing you mean print-on-demand, I've self-published two novels, and I'm very glad I did. I'd had a few rejections for both - not many compared to a lot of authors' experience - but my ego just wasn't sturdy enough to continue the standard submission process and weather the long waits and rejections. (Some agents requested additional chapters and gave it serious consideration, but ultimately said they just weren't excited enough about it.) I fell into depression and put my books aside. Then several colleagues encouraged me to try POD.

After researching the various POD publishers online, I chose Virtualbookworm because of the good feedback about them. Before deciding, I ordered one of their books to check the quality, and found it excellent. (Some POD publishers, as well as some small "traditional" presses, put out very shoddy, poorly designed products.) I was a visual artist before I became a novelist; I did the cover illustration and had complete control over the final design and layout.

Locally, I find people seem to take my books as seriously as they do traditionally published books, it's enormously satisfying to have my work in print, and I earn much more per copy. Yes, distribution is a problem, but that's true for much traditionally published work as well. I do sell on Amazon and Barnes & Noble, and my royalty checks are becoming more frequent.

So yes, the experience has been "a dream come true" in that I'm finally a published novelist. That said, my New Year's resolutions involve finding a more established publisher. Jeff Herman's 2008 guide to publishers and agents contains an excellent new section on the pros and cons of self-publishing. Amont other things, he says that "Even if a self-published book did not sell very many copies, a publisher may still be very happy to pick it up."
I have a punk-rock background, so I didn't feel shameful about putting books out on my small press, Active Bladder. Besides loving the DIY scene, I did it because my novels were too short for most publishers (40,000-50,000 words). But I'm closing down my small press due to not being able to find a distributor, plus I'm beginning to write novels that are long enough for mainstream publishers.


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