Deciding to self-publish a novel isn't something writers take lightly. Writing a novel takes hundreds to thousands of hours creating, writing, rewriting, thinking about and rewriting some more. Months, even years of a writer's life are spent creating a novel that the writer hopes to someday publish and be read and enjoyed. For many new writers, they then spend months and years sending their work out to agents and publishers in the hope of getting that book deal – selling that first novel. If no book deal is made, many turn to self-publishing so all their hard work will finally be seen, read and hopefully appreciated. Although many new writers now skip the long, agonizing steps of trying to find an agent or publisher and go directly into self-publishing, I'm sure they also do not do so without thinking about it first. Even when you self-publish, you put yourself through a lot of work promoting your book. And for many self-published authors, it is worth the time and energy they put into it because there are many out there who are making a nice income off of their books.
But then I read something like this and I wonder how a published author can so casually make a statement like this when there are so many unknown authors out there who are trying so hard to get their work noticed.
In an interview for The Daily Beast, author Jodi Picoult is asked the following question and gives the following answer:
JP: Take a workshop course. You need to learn to give and get criticism and to write on demand. And DO NOT SELF PUBLISH.
Jodi Picoult does not explain why she thinks writers shouldn't self-publish or why she would even make such a statement. Earlier in the interview, she admitted that she had been rejected by 100 agents before one finally took her on, so it wasn't like it had been easy for her to sell her first book. Whatever her reasoning may have been, I am just happy that I did not take this advice as I am sure many other self-published authors are also.
I have nothing against Jodi Picoult. In face, I have read nearly all of her books and enjoyed them very much. She is a talented writer and deserves to be where she is. But I'm not sure she is entirely aware of the self-publishing revolution that is taking place and how well so many self-published authors are doing. Everyone knows the names Amanda Hocking, John Locke and J.A. Konrath – self-published authors who have made a name for themselves. But there are also many who we don't hear about, like Lindsay Buroker who earned $5000 in March from sales of her ebooks. On her blog she mentions other authors in her genre who are doing even better than she is (check it out!). And I am sure there are many more in other genres who are doing quite well with their self-published books.
I know that I'm happy I turned to self-publishing instead of waiting for an agent or publisher to "discover" me. If I hadn't self-published my three books, they'd still be sitting in the bottom of my desk drawer collecting dust (or wasting away on a memory stick) instead of being read. Authors cannot be seen and noticed if their work is sitting somewhere unpublished. I do believe in the future we will be seeing many more self-published authors being courted by agents and publishers wanting to get a piece of their already proven sales track record. So if you are trying to decide whether or not you should self-publish your novel, ignore the naysayers and do what you think is best for you – you may be the next Amanda Hocking or John Locke!
Check out USA Today's Post fromDec. 2011 about self-published authors making it big!