If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com.

September Interviews

9/2 Dianne Freeman, A Lady's Guide to Mischief and Murder

9/9 Ellen Byron, Murder in the Bayou Boneyard

9/16 Marilyn Levinson, writing as Allison Brook, Checked Out for Murder

9/23 Rhys Bowen, The Last Mrs. Summers

9/30 Sherry Harris, From Beer To Eternity

September Guest Bloggers

9/19 Judy Alter

WWK Weekend Bloggers

9/5 V. M. Burns

9/12 Jennifer J. Chow

9/26 Kait Carson


For The Love Of Lobster Tales by Shari Randall is now available to download free for a limited time. Go to Black Cat Mysteries at: https://bcmystery.com/ to get your free copy! Thanks for the freebie, Shari.

Keenan Powell recently signed with agent Amy Collins of Talcott Notch. Congratulations, Keenan!

KM Rockwood's "Secrets To The Grave" will appear in the new SinC Chesapeake Chapter's new anthology Invitation To Murder, which will be released by Wildside Press on 10/6.

Congratulations to our two Silver Falchion Finalists Connie Berry and Debra Goldstein!

Paula Gail Benson's "Cosway's Confidence" placed second and Debra Goldstein's "Wabbit's Carat" received Honorable Mention in the Bethlehem Writers Roundtable 2020 short story contest. Congratulations, Paula and Debra!

Susan Van Kirk's Three May Keep A Secret has been republished by Harlequinn's Worldwide Mystery. The WWK interview about the book can be accessed here. We're so glad another publisher picked up this series.

KM Rockwood's "Burning Desire," and Paula Gail Benson's "Living One's Own Truth," have been published in the anthology Heartbreaks & Half-truths. Congratulations to all of the WWK writers.

Please join Margaret S. Hamilton's Kings River Life podcast of her short story "Busted at the Book Sale" here. Congratulations, Margaret!


Thursday, May 14, 2015

Why I Self-Publish

When I started writing my first book close to twenty years ago, the only self-publishing done to my knowledge was with vanity presses. Until I subscribed to Writers Digest, I’d never heard of them. I saw their ads in the magazine, then unsolicited; I started getting the promotional ads for vanity presses mailed to me.  I saved a few of those, but wasn’t really interested in paying to get published. Somehow it didn’t seem right to pay someone for the work I’d done. So when I finished my book I went the route of trying to get an agent – the route most writers were taking, but every time I got a rejection instead of sending out multiple more query letters like other writers did, I’d get discouraged and not query again for months, although I kept working on the second book in the series. Of course, at that time I was a full time teacher so my time was limited, too. It’s more than an eight hour a day job when one considers I spent almost every evening and much of my weekends grading papers or making lesson plans.
This was in images for self-published books.

In 2007, I went to Malice Domestic, the first mystery conference I’d ever attended. It was there I found Sisters-in-Crime and the sub-group, the Guppies and joined them. It was the best thing I’d ever done for myself as a writer. I remember going on-line a few days after I got home and finding over 200 messages in my in-box from the Guppies. Panic time! I had no online groups before and wasn’t on Facebook – not sure there even was a Facebook then. However, I learned I could get those messages in digest form and that helped. It was from the Guppies that eventually I learned about self-publishing. I think the Guppy Susan Schreyer was one of the first guppies, if not the first, who went that route, and she became my mentor back in 2012 when I published my first book, The Blue Rose, through Create Space and Smashwords.

Until I heard that Beatrix Potter self-published her first book, I wasn’t aware of how many writers for years have been self-publishing. Benjamin Franklin published his own work in the early to mid-1700’s. Of course, he was a printer so it was easy for him. Thomas Paine published his work in the 1700’s. In the 1800’s Edgar Allan Poe, Henry David Thoreau, Oscar Wilde, and others self-published. In the 1900’s there was Ezra Pound, Carl Sandburg, Upton Sinclair, Virginia Woolf, Gertrude Stein, D.H. Lawrence, e.e. cummings.

This doesn’t include the whole list of authors, who self-published by any means. In fact, many of these literary giants self-published for the same reason that many writers are doing it today: to combat censorship, maintain control, and most commonly like for me, to end rejections.

In the early 1900’s, James Joyce’s seminal work, Ulysses, was faced with rejection from publishers due to page length and obscenity laws. He collected money from friends, patrons and fellow writers for pre-orders.

D.H. Lawrence’s Lady Chatterly’s Lover was ‘privately published’ thirty-two years before its official publication in Britain, because it was too sexy and with too many dirty words.
Mark Twain got tired of finicky publishers and paid for the publication of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn himself.

Zane Gray borrowed money from his wife to launch his book career as the father of the modern western novel. It helped that he married a woman with money.

In 1644, John Milton self-published Areopagitica, a polemical tract arguing in favor of unlicensed printing, saying, “he who destroys a good book, kills reason itself.”

There is still some stigma with self-publishing as if maybe our books aren’t good enough to be traditionally published. Also, large book stores won’t carry our books because any that don’t sell, can’t be returned. Few libraries will buy them, so unless you donate your books to local libraries, which I do, your access to readers is limited. We must do our own promotion, although from all I hear now, even traditionally published books aren’t promoting the books like they once did. And like at Malice, self-published books aren’t eligible for being nominated for awards. Publishers edit the books – or so I’ve heard. The truth is I’m not sure how good a job they do because it’s a rare traditionally published book I read that doesn’t have at least a few typos. I have three beta readers and still go over my books again before I publish them, but still there might be a few typos or repeat words in my books, too.

The fourth book in my series.
The perks of self-publishing are I can write a book with more pages than many publishers want. I can get my books out as soon as I finish them – no deadlines or only having them coming out just once a year as some publishers require. I don’t feel any pressure except from the fans I now have who as soon as they finish reading one book, start wanting the next one right away, but that’s a nice pressure. I don’t have to pay an agent or have a publisher taking a commission, and I don’t have to worry about a publisher dropping me if I don’t sell enough books. There’s just the cost of the books from Create Space. I still get two-thirds of the price of my books when they’re sold instead of the small amount writers get from their publisher after they and the agent get their share. Less if I sell them through small book stores who take a commission, too. I have to pay for my cover, but I have control over that cover. My cover artist listens to what I want and comes up with awesome covers that I love. Of course, I’m lucky that my step-granddaughter is a graphic artist, but I still pay her for her work.

The fifth book in my series.
Was it hard for me to publish it? Since I’m not terribly tech savvy, I paid a young man in my local writers group to put it up for me after I followed all the rules for how it had to be formatted. That was easy because they’re easy to find on line. He had self-published a book of poetry before. I watched him and after he put up my first two books, I went ahead and did the rest of mine with no problem. There was a problem with the printing of my fourth book, but that was the printer’s problem and Create Space when contacted, immediately sent me a corrected order free of charge. I’ve been getting checks at least twice a year for both the print books and for the e-books. My granddaughter makes a front, back and the spine for the print book. She also makes an e-book cover. My covers were the first for her, but she found out how and the covers are admired by everyone. Create Space turns your print book into a Kindle version if you agree not to go with an e-book at any other venue for 90 days. Will I ever become a big name author making tons of money? No! But I am getting money, and I’m told the more books I get out, the more fans I’ll get and thus more money. But money has never been as much of an issue as the joy of writing and creating my own little fictional town as well as the characters populating my town, and getting readers who also have fallen in love with Portage Falls and the characters living there.

Once you have a book published, laughter comes easy.
If you’re a writer do you or have you self-published?

If not, have you considered doing it?


Warren Bull said...

I self-published my novel, HEARTLAND, and then a small publisher offered to publish it. I think authors are now doing both for any number of reasons. It's nice to have choices.

Gloria Alden said...

Warren, I agree. I enjoyed your book HEARTLAND.

Jim Jackson said...

I was prepared to self-publish Ant Farm, a Seamus McCree novel prequel, when the Kindle Scout program materialized. As a result, Kindle Press gave me an advance for the electronic version of the book and I will be using my Wolf's Echo Press to publish the print version.

~ Jim

E. B. Davis said...

Is Wolf Echo Press your own label, Jim?

As a published writer of short stories, I'd like my first few novels to be traditionally published. It's my self-doubt that made the decision. It's also to ensure that I'm writing on a professional level. I'd also like to think with an agent and a publisher, a few less chores would be performed by them--yet I know promotion is only as good as the writer makes it. Wish it weren't so.

I'm querying one book now, but I have another that I'm revising. If one doesn't fly, I hope the other does.

Jim Jackson said...

EB -- Wolf's Echo Press is my publishing company.

~ Jim

KM Rockwood said...

I've self-published two books, one a collection of short stories and the other a single longer short story.

I also have a series that was first published by Musa Publishing, which went out of business, and was picked up by Wildside.

Self publishing is certainly a viable option, but I have such difficulties with computers, etc, that I fear I would end up so frustrated trying to handle the mechanics I'd never write another book, and very possibly end up with a bad result.

It's tough to get a publisher, and for me, at least, even tougher to get an agent.

Susan Schreyer said...

Thank you for the nod, Gloria! I'm very glad I self published way back when, and I'm encouraged so many authors have found it a viable option. Ultimately, we all have the same purpose; to get our books to readers who will enjoy them. I think it's important to chose the route to publication that fits your goals, and I think it's important to stay on top of what's happening in the industry. Self publishing is, more and more, becoming "legitimized" -- although we still have to deal with a good deal of unfairness.

Best of luck to you with your future writing! Your blog was an interesting bit of writerly history!

Jane Gorman said...

Thanks for sharing your experiences! I recently made the decision to self-publish my books and I'm moving forward with that now, aiming for a September release of the first three in my series. I love that you were inspried by Susan Schreyer - I am too. I'm loving your books, Susan! Other inspirations include Emma Jameson and Jo-Ann Carson (another Guppy I believe). I wasn't sure about this choice, but now that I'm embracing it, I'm enjoying it! I expect to see the first draft of my first cover from my cover artist in a couple of weeks, and I'm so excited! I'm really looking forward to getting my books out there. I love them and I'm sure there are other people out there who will love them, too. I'm diving in and I'm having fun!

Gloria Alden said...

Jim, you have the best of both worlds. After my first book, I have on the title page Published by Willow Knoll Pupblishing. Which is me. It looks good, though. :-)

E.B., I understand your feelings. I'd like to say the traditionally published books are more professional, but as a reader of many books, that's not always true.

Gloria Alden said...

K.M. I'm not very tech savvy, either, but after watching the young man who put up my books do it, I found it easier than I thought it would be. Plus Create Space walks you through it. And their help line is very helpful. Ask for a phone call. Hit the Now button, and immediately it rings with a real life and very helpful person on the line.

Gloria Alden said...

Susan, I can't thank you enough for all the encouragement you gave me. You were my publishing angel. I love your books, by the way.

Jane, I don't think you'll regret your decision. It allows you the freedom to write what appeals to you and when to publish what you write. Good luck on getting your books out there and in the hands of readers.

Anonymous said...

You inspire me to self publish. I'm not tech savvy either, but first I have to get the novel typed! Then I'm sure I'll have many questions. I love your novels, but if I judged a book by its cover -- I would read them all anyway! ~ Laura

Gloria Alden said...

Laura, I will help you through the process. Just finish that book!!!!

Polly Iyer said...

I published my first two books in December of 2011, and I've published more since. I wouldn't do it any other way. Right now I have one book on the Kindle Scout merry-go-round, and I'll find out about that in a month or so.

Good for you, Gloria. There's a learning curve, but you obviously agree with me that it's worth it.

Kimberly G. Giarratano said...

I just self-published my second book (the first one was published by a small press). I love the freedom of indie publishing. I'm working on a new series that I'll publish this year and next. It's liberating.

Gloria Alden said...

Thanks, Polly. Yes, I agree with you that it's worth it. I'm sorry I didn't run across you at Malice. It's awesome that you had two books ready to go in one month. I had my 2nd book written, but still needed to format it and get a cover made.

Kim, it is very liberating. I'm glad you feel the same way. I've never regretted it for a moment.

Marilyn Levinson said...

I've published with the big houses, with small houses, and I self-publsihed two of my mysteries, one of which is now with a small press. I'm open to publishing with all three in the future. I need to promote my books, regardless of who publishes them.

Nabil said...

If there’s one online income source I like talking about most, it’s definitely self-publishing on Amazon. I’m normally a pretty modest guy but I’ve gotta say… I rock at self-publishing!

I’ve increased my monthly income from nothing to nearly $2K in less than three years just from selling books on Amazon… and I was making a grand a month within a year.

The post on how I make money self-publishing has been one of the most popular on my personal blog so I wanted to update it with everything I’ve learned over the last few years. I’ve included updates on how to turn your books into a passive source of income and how to make the whole process easier.

Ok, so $2K a month isn’t huge money but it’s getting there and it’s growing very quickly.

If you want to learn more about making money with Kindle then check out “KindleBucks.com” which is the #1 Amazon Kindle Training out there.

I can't recommend it enough. That's how I got started almost three years ago.