When to pull out the big giant scale. Making decisions.

Soooo after talking about the big decision to self publish. What topic do I go to next? I want to go in order and not just jump into what I’m doing right now. (If you really want to know, I’m formatting. And I’m a perfectionist. That equals trouble. I’ve decided I want a T-shirt with this on the back – <Author/> And I’d wear it proudly.)

I want to talk about research and what to do about all the blogs out there posting about self-publishing. Where do we even start with so many different points of view, prejudices, experiences, and rants?

There are a zillion different ways to approach self publishing and within self publishing a zillion different ways to approach all the different aspects of it. Srsly.

I guess that’s why they say there is no right or wrong publishing route.

Some bloggers are very convincing when they put on the hat of guru and strut their stuff. But there is a somewhat scientific way to approach this other than rock, paper, scissors, shoot. (Though that might work some of the time.)

  • Make a list of your goals. Publication? Earning money? Recognition? All that good stuff.
  • When you find a blog that seems helpful – look at the blogger’s experience. For example, Kris Rusch and Dean Wesley Smith. They’ve both been in the business for years, they’ve both traditionally and self-published. They do their research. And they are respectful. I respect them. I listen to them. But I also take into consideration that they are established and write for a different target audience.
  • Look at the facts behind the blog post. Do they have facts? Or is it just opinion based on their experience?
  • Take into consideration that blogger’s biases.
  • Remember that there are always exceptions.

And here’s the fun part. Pull out the giant measuring scale and put your goals and questions on one side. Now put the seemingly convincing opinions of a blogger on the other side.

If you’re still not sure about what to think then keep reading. Do more research. And remember that any conclusion you come to can change and grow over time. I don’t read a blog and then quick change what I’m doing. I read, study, and think about it for weeks.

And this isn’t just for self-publishing. This could be about blogging, marketing, social media, or how to bake the perfect cheesecake. (Yes, I’ve moved on from the perfect chocolate chip cookie. I’ve never made cheesecake! Never! Feel free to leave recipes or secret tips in the comments.)

Do you find all the crazy amounts of information out there maddening or helpful?

And the winners of Heather McCorkle’s Born of fire are Sarah Pearson and Sheri Larson!


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32 Responses to When to pull out the big giant scale. Making decisions.

  1. Karen Lange March 15, 2012 at 12:14 pm #

    Wise words, Laura! Thank you. I attended a writer’s conference last spring and Laura Resnick shared how we shouldn’t get locked into the “traditional” route. She was referring more to getting an agent, but she generalized it and encouraged us to think outside the box.

    I am thankful that we have so much info at our fingertips but I do find it overwhelming at times. Sifting through it all can be a challenge, but overall, I think it’s great to have resources readily available.

    Have a great weekend!

  2. Louise March 15, 2012 at 12:31 pm #

    My only “secret” tip for cheesecake – it’s not as scary as it seems, and don’t overcook it. I sweated bullets through the entire process the first time I made it, and then when it was done I said “huh, that wasn’t really that bad.” My biggest trouble is that I’m so afraid of undercooking it that I usually leave it in the oven a little too long, and then it cracks in the middle. Still tastes delicious, though!

    Oh, and my favorite recipe is the one from my good ol’ red-and-white checked Better Homes and Garden cookbook. I’ve tried others, but I keep coming back to that one. It’s a classic!

    • Laura March 15, 2012 at 7:11 pm #

      I had to learn to take my cookies out earlier too – before they looked done. If I waited they were too crispy after cooling. But it’s hard when they don’t look cooked!

  3. Alex J. Cavanaugh March 15, 2012 at 12:41 pm #

    I agree – take it all with a grain of salt. You can find both ends of the spectrum on any topic online.

    • Laura March 15, 2012 at 7:12 pm #

      So true. I feel bad for all new writers to the blogosphere. It must be overwhelming.

  4. Susan Sipal March 15, 2012 at 1:49 pm #

    What about rock, paper, scissors, lizard, Spock?

    Sorry, couldn’t resists. I’m on a Big Bang Theory obsession at the moment. And you’re so right about researching widely and keeping in mind the focus and experience of the source of the information.

    • Laura March 15, 2012 at 7:13 pm #

      I haven’t watched the Big Bang Theory but I’ll trust you on that one. 🙂

  5. Ansha Kotyk March 15, 2012 at 2:45 pm #

    As for cheesecake I haven’t done it either… and thank you Louise, I’m off to find my BHaG cookbook!

    As for self-pub info, just like traditional publishing info, there’s gobs out their. Time and research can save you headaches.

    And woo hoo for outside-the-box thinking. That’s my favorite kind!

  6. Margo Berendsen March 15, 2012 at 3:19 pm #

    I love your thoughtful approach and measuring stick. Will definitely keep that in mind when considering blogs now. The tricky part is figuring out just how much experience some bloggers have.

    And now, so how about those perfect chocolate chip cookies? I don’t suppose you’d share your learning experience with those, too?

    I’ve tried cheesecake before, but never got good enough at it to offer any recommendations. Now, cheesecake brownies – you see, the recipe HAS TO HAVE chocolate in it for me to get excited!!!

    • Laura March 15, 2012 at 7:14 pm #

      I followed a tip and used butter crisco in place of butter sticks. I’m sure more fattening but I got a terrific response!

  7. Laura Marcella March 15, 2012 at 4:10 pm #

    What is maddening to me is the amount of contradictory information! If it was all the same info then it wouldn’t be so overwhelming. Sigh.

    I don’t like cheesecake so I’ve never made it either. Good luck!!

    • Laura March 15, 2012 at 7:16 pm #

      Concerning, publishing it’s not that contradictory. If you look at a blogger’s bias and their experience and their agenda- then you see why it’s contradictory. Someone entrenched in the industry with several books out and doing well – is going to have a harder time with self publishing. They might not be reading up on the articles and be as well informed. And vice versa with a successful self publisher.

  8. Angela Ackerman March 15, 2012 at 6:20 pm #

    There is SO MUCH info out there. I think this is why it is so important to find a trusted source. I LOVE Kris Rusch. I think every writer should read her blog–traditional bound or SP bound. She is an advocate for writers and has incredible insight. 🙂 She challenges writers to think for themselves, not follow blindly and accept what others say.


  9. Lynda R Young March 15, 2012 at 9:50 pm #

    I definitely think it’s helpful to get all those opinions. It’s a good way of sifting through to the truth.

    I do think self-publishing should be approached like any other business.

  10. Sherrie Petersen March 15, 2012 at 11:15 pm #

    You’re obviously very thoughtful about everything you do.

    The internet really is information overload so at some point you have to stop searching and just go with your gut. It can be terrifying to make a decision, but freeing, too. And whether people publish traditionally or independently, I think the ones who do the best are the ones who approach it like a business. That is, after all, what it is.

  11. Dianne Salerni March 15, 2012 at 11:31 pm #

    Laura, It’s easy to drown in the amount of information out there — much of it contradictory and some of it inflammatory. (Well, that last is easy — I stay away from drama.) It sounds as if you are taking a sensible approach!

    • Laura March 16, 2012 at 8:12 pm #

      So wise to stay away from the drama. I do too.

  12. Stacy March 16, 2012 at 12:41 am #

    I think it’s great there are so many options for getting info out there, but they can be overwhelming. It seems my email is full of links and blogs I don’t have the time to follow. Add to that all the different marketing options and I feel like my head is going to explode, lol.

    I think your advice is sound, though. It’s really important to weigh the options and think about your own personal goals.

  13. Matthew MacNish March 16, 2012 at 10:50 am #

    Shouldn’t it be “”? Just kidding. I really have no idea.

    • Laura March 16, 2012 at 8:13 pm #

      I have seen code with quotes but I have no idea either! 🙂

  14. Traci Kenworth March 16, 2012 at 11:19 am #

    Yum…cheesecake and chocolate chip cookies, two of my favorites. I think, too, you have to be careful and weigh the option thoroughly before making the decision. It just makes sense to do that before you plunge.

  15. Jennifer Hoffine March 16, 2012 at 11:22 am #

    Everything’s so new and overwhelming in selfpub and epub right now…it’s wise to research and take time making decisions…an informed gut response and creative forging of new roads along the way will probably come in handy too.

  16. Stina Lindenblatt March 16, 2012 at 11:30 am #

    When you told me your plans to self publish, I knew you were making the right choice for you, Laura, because I knew you had done the research. And I knew you would keep doing the research. Which is why you’re one of my key resources.

    You made an important point. There’s been a lot of rumbling about self publishing verses traditional publishing in my local RWA chapter. It got to the point where one traditionally published author asked if the chapter was no longer supporting traditionally published authors. I wasn’t surprised. Everything has been focused on how evil the traditional publishers are. And the last link someone posted was too much for those who wanted to still choose that route. People back pedaled, trying to make up for the comments and told us we need to speak up more (my name came up for some reason). I pointed out I don’t pay much attention to what they’re saying because their target market isn’t my target market. I’m communicating with self-published authors who write YA. They know the needs are different to those who publish romances.

    • Laura March 16, 2012 at 8:17 pm #

      I really don’t see traditional publishing as evil at all. It’s just completely different from the way money works, to how to do it, to marketing. Crazy different. I’m not happy with contract terms I keep seeing and hearing about. My heart is breaking for writers who agents let them go in a loop email b/c they didn’t have contracts. I also feel for the self publisher who can’t seem to be seen. There are highs and lows with both routes.

      It really is a personal decision and what fits you as a person and your goals.

  17. Heather McCorkle March 16, 2012 at 3:11 pm #

    I find them maddeningly helpful. 😉 Seriously though, all that info can be helpful or maddening, depending on what it is.

    I love your advice though, research, lay out one’s plans, and decide what’s best for us. And you my dear, are definitely doing the right thing. I can hardly wait to hold your book in my hands!

    • Laura March 16, 2012 at 8:18 pm #

      Thanks Heather! I find it all helpful. I get so many different sides of a decision and I can look and see where that person is coming from and if it applies to me or not. It’s been great.

  18. Marcia March 17, 2012 at 12:51 am #

    Helpful, with a side of maddening. 🙂

    Cheesecake isn’t hard! Just don’t overbake. Take it out of the oven when a knife inserted one inch from the CRUST comes out clean. Good luck!

  19. srjohannes March 17, 2012 at 6:44 pm #

    dont expect instant results. It is a build up and momentum over time…that helps you feel better 🙂

  20. Leslie Rose March 17, 2012 at 10:28 pm #

    Overwhelmed with a capital, O. I like the logical/analytical way you frame things. As for cheesecake – extra time in the food processor gives it some fluff.

  21. Sarah Pearson March 18, 2012 at 7:59 pm #

    This is such good advice – after all, we don’t have to decide right this second. It’s important to do the right thing for us.

    And thank you, I won 🙂

  22. Peggy Eddleman March 18, 2012 at 9:31 pm #

    Can I vote maddening AND helpful? I am just at the beginning stages of trying to figure out what kind of marketing I’m going to do (my book doesn’t come out for another year and a half!), but still, there’s just so much info out there, it’s a little daunting. But helpful! And daunting. Did I mention daunting?

    • Laura March 18, 2012 at 11:07 pm #

      So much info out there and so many marketing strategies. We seriously can’t do them all!

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