My decision to self publish.

I’d love if any of you would be willing to post about my book on the release day, Monday, May 7th! If you like spy thrillers with a touch of humor than I’d be happy to send you a complimentary e-arc in exchange for an honest review. Or you can do both. Just fill out the google form. Thanks!

Click here for the google form.

My decision to self publish.

Let me tell you. This decision wasn’t easy.

Last spring I took notice of certain blogs – Konrath, Kris Rusch, Nathan Bransford, Bob Mayer, Dean Wesley Smith, Passive Guy. And a tiny spark was ignited.

Nathan dropped the fact that a lot of midlist authors could probably make more money self-publishing. That kind of hit me over the head pretty hard.

A few more weeks passed. Excitement built. And once I decided to self publish, my creativity rocketed. #writerheaven

But then an agent requested my manuscript and she loved the first chapter.

SCREECH! That’s the sound of the self-publishing brakes being pressed to the ground. And the doubts rolled in. I mean self publish? Really? Because the only way to really make it is to have an agent and a book deal. Right? Self-publishing was only for the desperate and the wannabes.

For years I wanted that agent. I craved that book deal. I dreamed of seeing my book in stores.

But I could change my dreams.

I could receive validation through sales and reaching readers.

I could let go of my ego.

I could move forward instead of spinning my wheels researching agents and writing that holy grail of the perfect query letter.

Kris Rusch wrote a post. Big publishers were making lots of money off ebooks. But guess who wasn’t making as much?

Yeah, you guessed it. The authors.

I know there are some wonderful dream-like publishing stories with NY out there. But I was beginning to understand that for most writers – it wasn’t like that.

And after lots of research, I seemed to fit the bill for self publishing. This wasn’t my first manuscript. In fact, I had three, four, five or six but who’s counting? I didn’t mind the extra work.

So in November, I pulled my manuscripts from the agent and started the process.

I didn’t make the decision out of a place of desperation or thinking I could get rich quick. It was an even balance between bad contract clauses, low ebook royalties, lack of shelf life, the narrowing market, and the thrill of moving forward with my career.

Let me tell you. The decision wasn’t easy. Yet, at the same time, it was one of the easiest decisions I’ve ever made.

I am of the point of view that self-publishing isn’t for everyone. Only you can decide which publishing route is for you. The terrific thing is that we have options. Options people! That is something to be excited about!

If you have any questions about my decision, ask away in the comments!

Don’t forget to enter to win a pre-order of Pretty Crooked and an ebook of Watched.

photo credit

, , , , ,

34 Responses to My decision to self publish.

  1. Lynda R. Young March 8, 2012 at 10:26 am #

    I’ve struggled/still struggling with the decision to self-publish. Traditional publishing is considerably slower but at the same time there’s a lot of self-pubbed authors who have moved into it too soon and the stories they put out aren’t as good as they could have been. So many don’t hire professional editors and it shows.

    For me it’s about writing the best story that I can. That’s so important to me that even with a professional editor I think I’d be concerned it still wasn’t enough. (As I said, still struggling with the decision hehe).

    I admire anyone brave enough to take the step of self-publishing. Congrats to you! I’ll be one of the first to pick up a copy of your book on Amazon.

    • Laura March 8, 2012 at 11:47 am #

      I do understand Lynda. And you’re right, there is a lot of stuff out there that was self published too soon. But I read the samples and move on. 🙂

      I think working with an editor at a big publisher would be terrific. And In some cases might make the story better – or they could just make it more commercial…etc. I don’t know if it’s better, just different. Okay, sometimes I’m sure it’s better. But that’s why we have beta readers, and more beta readers. We put out the best product we can.

      And that’s okay to be undecided. I was for a long time. I still think the right small press is a wonderful option too.

  2. Mark Koopmans March 8, 2012 at 11:26 am #

    Hey Laura,

    I wanted to send you my best wishes for your decision and the upcoming book launch.

    I’ve signed up for an ARC and will happily feature you on May 7 (just send a reminder with the specifics:)

    I’m not even close to being ready to publish, but I admire your spirit and I may be there, too, one day:)


    • Laura March 8, 2012 at 11:48 am #

      Thanks so much Mark – I definitely can’t do this without some help from my friends!

  3. Kip March 8, 2012 at 12:34 pm #

    Congrats on deciding on what works for you! I think you’re absolutely right that self-pubbing isn’t for anyone, but neither is traditional publishing, yanno?

    I definitely look forward to reading your book and hope it’s a smashing success!!

    • Laura March 8, 2012 at 1:00 pm #

      Thanks Kip! There really is so much to consider when deciding a publishing route. So much. Too much to be contained in a comment box. 🙂

  4. Susan Pauling March 8, 2012 at 1:47 pm #

    I can’t wait to read it!

  5. Christina Lee March 8, 2012 at 2:38 pm #

    Hey you! Yes this is a very personal decision and as writers we should support each other the best way we can. GO LAURA!

  6. Louise March 8, 2012 at 3:22 pm #

    In addition to considering self-publishing, I’ve been looking into small presses. I like the idea of having an impartial third party, one who knows the ins and outs of the business part of things, having a hand in the works, but with a small press I still get a great deal of control in how everything happens. Of course, neither of my current WIPs are anywhere near publish-ready, so I have plenty of time to look further into it and decide which route will be best for me, and for each particular story.

    • Laura March 8, 2012 at 4:11 pm #

      I think independent small presses are a terrific choice! Just do your research and talk to other authors.

  7. Marcia March 8, 2012 at 4:30 pm #

    I really have to agree with most of Lynda’s first paragraph. I recently downloaded an e-book that, as far as I can tell, was written by someone who is really serious about doing self-publishing right.

    I don’t know what kind of content editing she had; I wasn’t pulled into the story, but that happens with traditional publishing too, plenty of times. But the level of copyediting/proofreading was unacceptable. There were so many spelling, capitalization, and punctuation errors that I couldn’t go on. It’s so obvious she didn’t even hire someone to get the mistakes out — which is what so many self-publishers seem to think editing consists of — and if she DID hire someone, she should fire that person posthaste. Yes, the occasional typo sneaks into a traditionally published book, but NOT at this level.

    I think it’s wonderful that your creativity blossomed when you made the decision to self-publish. I know SP isn’t for me, at least not for the foreseeable future, because for whatever reason, thinking about SP makes me feel more SLUGGISH about craft.

    I really enjoy your thought-provoking blog. 🙂

    • Laura March 8, 2012 at 8:50 pm #

      I guess it depends on what books you download. The self published books I’ve read have been absolutely terrific with minimal copy editing errors. But I read samples before purchasing and usually can pick up in the first chapter.

      And honestly? I’m pretty forgiving – even with traditional books. A typo here and there really doesn’t bother me.

      And yes, I think it’s worth it to spend money on a freelance editor. But if you use beta readers first that helps cut back the costs and the amount of time the editor has to spend your work!

  8. Stacy March 8, 2012 at 5:42 pm #

    Bravo to you, Laura. I know you spent a lot of time trying to make this decision, and I believe it was the right one for you. I think we all want that dream of the agent, but in this day in age, do we want to wait? Especially when the agents are no longer able to choose by just talent/love of the book alone? So many other factors go into it.

    In regards to Lynda’s comments, yes, I do agree. But I do think if you do your research and get a great editor – not just a beta, although I’d rec those, too – and cover artist, you’re okay. I think too many skimp on hiring an editor, and that’s a big mistake.

    I seriously considered self-publishing, but for me, it boiled down to not having the capitol to invest and even bigger, not having a second book to follow up with in a few months. And I wanted to learn from an experienced publisher the first time around. After getting offers from more than one small press, I know I found the right fit. Supportive publisher and very happy authors. But I am definitely considering self-publishing in the future.

    Anyway, big congrats to you, Laura, and I signed up for an arc. Will happy post a review on May 7th as well.

    • Laura March 8, 2012 at 8:51 pm #

      I think a small press is a wonderful place to start. And I totally get not having to worry about cover design, editing, formatting…etc. 🙂

      Can’t wait to read your book, Stacy!

  9. Tony March 8, 2012 at 5:46 pm #

    Hi Laura I have never regretted my decision to self publish – and I keep on submitting while my reader base slowly grows – plus I feel I know that my WIP is going to be read in at least five countries, which is all the motivation I need

  10. Kris March 8, 2012 at 9:09 pm #

    You know I love your book–and so will everyone else who gets to read it starting on May 7. And I’m on on posting that day. 🙂

    Congrats–I know how hard the decision was and I’m really excited to share the journey with you!

  11. Carolina Valdez Miller March 9, 2012 at 12:17 am #

    I bet it was a tough choice, but it sounds like you gave it a lot of thought. You’ve raised some really good points. Congratulations on following your heart and bringing your book to life. Wishing all the best!

  12. Karen Strong March 9, 2012 at 1:01 am #

    I’m so glad that you posted this blog. I think “self-publishing” has gotten a bad rap because there are books out there they are not well-written.

    I love that you came to this decision based on your own terms and not out of some desperation.

    A lot of things are changing and in the long run it may benefit the author.

    I’m still undecided on which road I will take when I’m finished with this current novel project. My time right now is so limited with the crazy day job — I can barely think. 🙂

    But I commend anyone who goes after their dreams on their own terms.

  13. Andrea March 9, 2012 at 1:55 am #

    Thanks for sharing your decision process, Laura. You always give me a lot to think about!

  14. Sherrie Petersen March 9, 2012 at 4:40 am #

    I’m excited for you! Good luck!

  15. Dawn Simon March 9, 2012 at 5:27 am #

    Congrats, Laura! It’s great that there are options, and you listened to your own heart. Very exciting! Good luck!

  16. Stina Lindenblatt March 9, 2012 at 12:56 pm #

    For me I comes down to there are SO MANY mid list books out there, it’s getting harder and harder to sell through your advance (unless you don’t get one). If you can’t do that, you’re screwed when it comes to the next book deal. With self publishing, if you do it right (i.e. hire an editor to make sure the story is strong and well written), you’re investment is at risk, but it’s not going to affect your later books. If you are willing to invest in the next book, you’ll eventually be rewarded (or something like that).

    I’ve beta read a lot of really good books that never land an agent. I’m always sorry that no one else is going get to read them.

  17. Margo Berendsen March 9, 2012 at 5:53 pm #

    I love your reasons for choosing self publishing and I’m thinking about it too. It is easy to get sucked into the traditional publishing dream because it has a sort of “status” associated with it, but is it really worth it??? – maybe not. I would love to support you – I’ll fill out that form. And what a neat cover – love the bullet crack.

    • Laura March 10, 2012 at 1:20 pm #

      That’s why self publishing – or taking any route – is a personal decision based on our goals, our personalities, what we’re willing to do, and the project too.

  18. Susan Kaye Quinn March 9, 2012 at 6:44 pm #

    You know I’ll be singing your praises on May 7th! So proud of you and your careful decision making! 🙂

  19. Ansha Kotyk March 9, 2012 at 10:35 pm #

    woo hoo! You I’m on the promo wagon! Love this story! 🙂

  20. Sarah Pearson March 10, 2012 at 10:25 am #

    I can honestly say right now that I don’t know which direction I’ll take (given a choice of course). The idea of being traditionally published appeals, not so much because ‘it’s right’, more that all the extra skills needed to self-publish freak me out a bit!

    • Laura March 10, 2012 at 1:17 pm #

      I understand, Sarah. But so far, the time and research has replaced the time I spend perfecting query letter, researching agents, preparing the submission…etc.

      I’m sure in the long run it will be more time but with each book I’m assuming the process will get faster and faster. 🙂

  21. Peggy Eddleman March 10, 2012 at 7:47 pm #

    I totally agree! I love your italicized paragraph especially. There is definitely a perfect, completely right direction for everyone. And that direction isn’t the same for everyone! I mean NOTHING is the same for everyone– why would publishing be any different? The important thing is finding whatever way is perfect for you, then going for it with everything you have. I’m so excited for you!!!

  22. Heather Sunseri March 11, 2012 at 1:31 pm #

    “and the thrill of moving forward with my career.” – That is sometimes one of the hardest parts of this career – when you feel like you’re stuck and no where else to go.

    I applaud you for making the decision that is right for you, Laura.

  23. Karen Lange March 12, 2012 at 1:10 pm #

    Congrats on the decision to self publish! Wish you all the best! Not sure if I have time to commit to an arc (I’ve a list of commitments already for the spring) but would be happy to give it a mention when it releases. 🙂 Excited for you!

  24. Leigh Moore March 12, 2012 at 4:14 pm #

    I started thinking about self-publishing back when Elle Strauss posted that video of Marge Atwood talking about the restless anchovies. I started thinking about it even more when I saw how well our friends Talli and Susan, etc., were doing with it. I’m still thinking about it–have even talked about it with Agent Kate. But for now I’m still in the traditional lane.

    But BEST OF LUCK!!! to you! I’ll be happy to help publicize your awesome book! You know I love it. Everything’s crossed over here for you to have much success~ :o) <3

  25. Callie Kingston March 15, 2012 at 3:10 pm #

    It’s a great decision, IMHO, and one I’m glad I made. Hope you enjoy the journey every bit as much.



  1. Laura Pauling - March 15, 2012

    […] 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 […]

Leave a Reply