Anyone or any place claiming Self-Publishing will be a lucrative and 'easy to get famous' venture lied to you big time. It's actually the opposite! Self-Publishing far more often ends in utter failure or at best, small notoriety with smaller bits of compensation for all your hard work, creativity and passion.

Out of the starting blocks, the only thing that's 'easy' is you writing your book! Too many would-be Self-Publishers have the stupid (yes, I said stupid) idea that all they need to do is 'write their wonderful book and people will love it and money will fall from the sky like green-rain....' We hear success stories about J.K. Rawlings and that jackass who wrote 'Fiddy Shades' and many of us are off to the races to 'instant fame and wealth because our books are just as good or even better than those!'

Dreams are wonderful things. As a creative, there is no reason not to follow your dreams because no real thing gets made without them. What anyone considering going into Self-Publishing or Self-Distribution of books, comics or films must understand before writing a single line of text is; you're in for a fight you most likely won't win big in the first round.

We all believe we are 'special' and expect to be 'the one' who makes it huge like the other writers who have. But let's take those 'fantasy goggles' off for a bit and take a reality check. Only a painful few have done well enough with self-published works to get enough notice to have a proper agent look at their work and deem it worth pitching it to large (paying) publishing houses. Of course we are all arrogant enough to believe 'our specialness' will win them over and open the gates to success. Here's the thing though, did you do the work to make it possible for such an outcome?

Did you get a good editor to rake through your work with a fine-toothed comb? Did you follow most if not all of their suggestions and make the corrections recommended? Did you take the advice of a good cover designer (not your buddy with Photoshop unless they are a pro designer)? Did you pay these people for their services? Did you get with someone who knows marketing (especially someone who is familiar with selling books in your genre?) Did you contact someone who writes press releases professionally to put the right amount of polish on you and your offering so people will take notice (and perchance buy your work?) Have you built an online presence (website and social media) to promote both you and your work? Are you booking venues to do book signings?

Most important, have you set aside a budget with the appropriate amount of funds to make all this happen or are you trying to half-ass your way through everything I just mentioned because you're either too broke or too arrogant / lazy and thus figure people should be paying you to have the 'privilege' of your presence and book among them?

Because that's it in a coconut shell. When you Self-Publish, you are actually taking on the full role and efforts of what an established publishing house does. In doing so, you must recognize that both you and your work are a 'Business' and thus must be handled as such. So that means it all falls upon you to not only create the work, you must deal with its crafting, promotion and distribution. Bottom line is; you're going to put out far more money (if done properly) than you'll get in. That's the long and short of it.

So, now that "You've been punched in the face" as the great Mike Tyson said, 'what's your plan?' Because I guarantee you when (not if) you put forth all your effort, passion and love into the work and maybe you'll get some small notice thus sell around 100 books to your friends, family and perhaps a few curious onlookers, will you get up when the bell rings for the next round?

Here's an article by 'The Guardian' Writer and Author Ros Barber about why she wouldn't consider Self-Publishing. The picture she paints is pretty damn grim and it's not inaccurate. However, it will come down to whether you are 'in this to win' or just playing at being an author which is fine, but don't expect to blow-up. Either way it could happen...but the odds are deep against you. So unless you like throwing money and time out of the window, you best be 'playing to win'....

https://www.theguardian.com/books/booksblog/2016/mar/21/for-me-trad...

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Replies to This Discussion

Actually, I love this. Reality checks are good for the ego, and thus good for your soul. LOL. As a 'want to be' writer, I often wonder what it will take to actually be successful in this arena, and the fantasy can have you, well..trippin. Thanks for the punch in the face. Back to work!

It would be nice if I could paint a rosy picture, but then I would be bad as the hucksters out there hustling 'wannabe's' out of their money. I will say, you can become a successful author via self-publishing. But, it will take considerable effort on your part. I've been at this for over ten years now and have had some success. Has the 'green rain' fallen upon me yet? *&^% no! But, being a published author has opened other doors for me.

It definitely helped me get other writing gigs and didn't hurt to have a good list of written works when I applied for post-graduate studies. I've done some signings here and there and that helped me get a gig working with authors to promote their work. I even won small recognition for one of my books and gotten good reviews. So 'success' has been notable as a series of 'high and low tides' not a 'tsunami'...yet.

In truth, few who become successful 'blow-up' from the onset. Most have been at it for a while and then their work is 'discovered' though it had been there all the time. Remember, being self-published means you're working outside the mainstream and their rules. Funny thing is; you still have to follow their rules to create a salable product. The drawback is; you have to do all the heavy lifting to get your product out there, noticed and moving in high enough numbers to earn back your investment.

I've been 'punched in the face' enough times doing this that I learned to 'duck, dodge and block'! Nobody going down this road gets in or out of the game without taking shots. Better to get your 'bubble popped' early before you've sunk a crapload of cash into it and realize you sabotaged yourself from the jump!

Ola Ogun said:

Actually, I love this. Reality checks are good for the ego, and thus good for your soul. LOL. As a 'want to be' writer, I often wonder what it will take to actually be successful in this arena, and the fantasy can have you, well..trippin. Thanks for the punch in the face. Back to work!

Grateful to all the self-publishers who told me, "DO NOT quit your day job until have calculated exactly how much it's going to take to maintain your lifestyle (don't forget to factor in your work benefits). Know that you can make at least that much, consistently before you take that leap."

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