Last week, I received a hater email from someone who said that I’m not a “real author” because I’m self-published (and funnily enough, this person is also self-published).
Normally I don’t put energy into hater stuff because there’s really no point. You’ll never change a hater’s mind or convince them they’re wrong.
What this person said didn’t bother me at all, because I know it’s not true. I’ve got 12+ books out there and they all have an average of 4 stars (out of 5) and multiple reviews.
Clearly, I’m doing something right.
But I really felt the need to address what this person said in my post today because what they said was not only UNTRUE, but it was also dripping in LIMITING BELIEFS.
First, the phrase “self-publish” has the word PUBLISH right in it. So self-published IS published. Second, the definition of “publish” is: “to prepare and issue for public sale.”
SO, going by both of these two points, you can very obviously see that self-published IS published.
BUT, the sad thing is, this is still what so many writers believe; that if your book wasn’t published through a traditional publisher then it doesn’t count.
That, my friend, is TOTAL BULLSHIT. And it’s limiting beliefs like this one that causes writers to LIMIT what’s possible for them and their writing careers.
In my personal opinion, unless you already have a huge audience or a big enough following online (either on social media or by having an email list), trying to traditionally publish is a waste.
These days, agents and traditional publishers are looking for writers who bring something to the table OTHER THAN their books. They’re looking for writers who have already done the work to build an audience. And agents and traditional publishers aren’t as willing to take risks on writers who haven’t done that yet.
The reason being, with a built-in audience, there’s a much better chance the book will sell.
Not to mention how long it can take to even find an agent or traditional publisher who’s willing to take your book on. That in itself can take years.
And then if you do manage to hook an agent or a traditional publisher, your book still won’t see the light of day for another 18ish months–and that’s if you’re lucky.
Don’t get me wrong–if you know in your heart traditional publishing is the only way for you and you believe that you’re not a published author unless someone else does the publishing for you, then fine. Go spend your time pitching agents and publishers, and then dealing with the crappy advance they give you that you’ll be lucky to even earn back once the book is actually published and for sale.
But just know that there’s another option.
Self-publishing is the way to have total freedom and control of your writing career. You get to decide which books go out into the world, when they will get out there and how much you’ll make from each sale.
Self-publishing in today’s world just makes sense.
BUT–if you are going to self-publish–and this is the MOST IMPORTANT PART–you MUST treat it like you would if you were going through a traditional publisher. This is what I call “Professional Self-Publishing.”
The argument most have against self-publishing is there’s no vetting process or gatekeeper. There’s no one to make sure the book is good and worthy of being published, and so a lot of junky books end up out there.
This is true. I’m not denying that there are writers out there who abuse self-publishing.
But you’re not that kind of author, and neither am I (and those kind of self-published authors aren’t making sales or getting good reviews anyhow). We do our due diligence and we’re professional about it.
We hire editors. We hire a formatter and a cover designer. We make sure the book is done as well as it would be if it was going through a traditional publisher.
Professional self-publishing is what separates the self-published authors who make a career out of it from those who don’t.
And in my opinion, if you’re not willing to Professionally self-publish, you shouldn’t be self-publishing in the first place. #SorryNotSorry
I’ll admit that I would love to eventually have a traditionally published book out there, just to be able to say that I’ve been there, done that and had the experience.
BUT I don’t plan on making traditional publishing my career and I definitely will never chase after or spend my time pitching agents and publishers.
If I ever traditionally publish, it will be because an agent and/or publisher CAME TO ME and wanted to publish my book. NOT the other way around (plus, it’s not worth my time or energy unless I’m receiving a big enough advance).
And so, for me, Professional self-publishing is the way to go.
I’m not a patient person and I couldn’t deal with having to wait 18+ months to see my book in print once I’ve finished it. HELL NO!
I want to write the book, get it out there and then move onto writing the next book. Professional self-publishing allows me to do that and do it well.
All of this to say, if you’ve ever had someone tell you that you’re “not a real author” because you’re self-published; or if you’ve had someone make you feel less than because your book isn’t traditionally published, just know that they’re wrong. And you should never let ANYONE or ANYTHING make you feel less than.
Self-publishing is NOT less than. Professional self-publishing is the smartest thing can do for your writing career.
Unless, of course, you choose to believe something different.
Dream life or bust,