The writer-publisher – part 35

Why you should self-publish – an open letter to my blogging friends

I’ve been following your posts for some time and would like you to consider the spiritually liberating activity of self-publishing. There are a couple of incredibly persuasive reasons to look outside the resource-limited world of traditional publishing.

1. I find your writing, in general, to be more interesting and thought-provoking than much of the material I read in dead tree media. If you can get your writing into the hands of more readers, they would benefit and so would you.

2. When you publish your own work, you gain an immense amount of real experience as to what your market is. You also get honest feedback that helps you determine what to do to get more people reading your work.

3. Blogging is a good first step in becoming a self-publisher. The feedback you get in your comments is instant, and can be brutally or refreshingly honest. You can use this to good advantage in developing a public awareness of your work and a community of people who are interested in seeing that you succeed.

They will buy your book and, more importantly, they will tell others about your writing because it is interesting information that they are the first to hear about.

Watching your visitor logs gives you information on who is interested enough in your writing to make repeat visits to your site. You will quickly learn how different topics change your visitor volume.

4. The most compelling reason to self-publish is to avoid unnecessary rejection. There is nothing so emotionally damaging as inviting rejection and that is built into the traditional publishing model by economic factors they cannot control.

Applying for a job where the employer cannot pay what you are worth is ludicrous. Submitting manuscripts to companies that are frantically searching for a viable business model is worse! If you do not have a personal connection to a publisher, you will waste valuable time and money when you could be developing an audience of readers.

If a publisher is doing well, it is because they have somehow found a customer base for whatever they are currently publishing. The only works that are interesting to them are clones of what they are already publishing.

Traditional publishing is a zero-sum game. If a known author with a track record of sales has something to release, a traditional publishing house would be crazy to publish something by an unknown instead. If you were publishing, you would do the same, in a heartbeat!


Get over the idea that your writing is only valuable if it appears in a traditional magazine, collection or whatever. If it is published, it becomes old news by next month. The value of appearing in a well-known publication is rapidly disappearing, especially if the publication cannot be accessed by an Internet search. Your article in the New Yorker or the NY Times becomes birdcage liner in months while your online articles and your searchable books are available to readers for years.

It takes time to develop a market for your work. When you are the publisher, you can make sure the book is available for as long as it takes.

Sell your books on your own website, through, or from the trunk of your car like John Grisham did. Do whatever feels right to you, but don’t spend years waiting for some publisher to recognize the value of your writing. Write and get your work into reader’s hands. Then get working on your next book!

You can publish your work in small quantities as I did, or you can use a POD publisher. Either way, your work will be available for people to buy in a few months and you will do the same promotional actions as if you had published through a main-stream publishing house.

There is unbelievable satisfaction in having people say, "I heard about your new book!"

Sometimes they even say, "Where can I get one?"

Please take a hard look at self-publishing. You owe it to yourself to do so.


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0 Responses to The writer-publisher – part 35

  1. Thom Singer says:

    David- you are so right on every point. The other one is that once you have a book, self-published or otherwise, you have established yourself as an “author”…something 83% of American’s aspire, but few achieve.

    The trick is to figure out unique ways to market and sell your book. I am still learning that one!!!

  2. Marti says:

    I think I love you


    ((In a friend kind of way – not to panic Gretchen LOL}}

    It’s just so nice not to hear constant put-downs of self-publishing, thank you.

  3. fred1st says:

    I’m taking a semester off, starting in December (actually summer semester, too) so have some months to work on the book. I’ll be in touch, coach.

  4. Tom says:

    Thanks for this post, David. It’s this kind of thinking that’s keeping me working on my book. I’ve had aborted attempts in the past, but this time I think I can finish it.

  5. Bill Schaffer says:

    Let me join the chorus, Dave, who applaud self-publishing. The world at large confuses self-publishing, a time-honored way of getting your material before a reader, with vanity publishing. That’s where you dump a lot of money in someone’s lap, and that person (company) makes all kinds of promises about quality, marketing, etc. No bookstore will carry a book published by a vanity publisher, whereas, if they see any kind of market for it, bookstores will welcome a well-done self-published book.

    A few years ago there were registered 3000 “small press” publishers (identified with an ISBN number); I’m sure there are now many more. And that doesn’t count the electronic media, of course.

    You’ve always got to be willing to market your work, especially if you’ve incurred expenses and need to replenish the treasury… or (gasp!) make a profit.

    Thom Singer is also so right; many people talk about writing a book, but few ever do. Once you’ve done all that work, getting published is the final step, and not difficult to bring about.

    Anyway, I’d better stop, though writing and books are sort of my major interest. Best of luck to all writers out there, and do keep your publisher’s hat nearby!


  6. KM Frontain says:

    Hi. Nice to read something from someone positive about selfpublishing. I’ve been having a ball, except when I get dumped on for being self-published, and then dumped on for using a POD service because my current finances couldn’t support a short print run from a local press. I agree that being “out there” is better than not being any where at all.

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