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Monday, October 12, 2009

Why You Shouldn't Self Publish

UPDATE 2014: I wrote this post in 2009, when I was apparently stupid. Since then, I have gone on to have a hybrid career, publishing with several traditional publishers (including Simon & Schuster) while also successfully self-publishing. And Joe Konrath? He's all about self-publishing too, now!

I'm not gonna remove this blog post, because I like having reminders about how much we learn as we go. What I learned is: ignore the advice in this blog post. ;)

2009 (back when I didn't know what I was talking about)
Hello Fellow Writers!

Yesterday I got a lot done. I worked on my plot for the book I will be writing for NaNoWriMo next month. So far I've got 36 pages of plot written, and according to The Marshall Plan for Novel Writing, I will need 40 pages of plot for a 50,000 word novel. Of course, I am no where nearly done plotting, so it looks like I will have more plot than suggested. I think that's a good thing. I also added a scene to help explain another scene for my novel "The Movie Star's Very Personal Assistant." All this while helping my hubby renovate the upstairs bathroom.

Now, some of you may wonder why I would put a title like "Why You Shouldn't Self Publish" on my blog when I am self publishing this very blog on the internet! Well, I'm not talking about blogs. I'm talking about people who write novels, and can't find a real agent or a real publisher so they publish it themselves. I found a very good article about this that I wanted to share, from fellow blogger Joe Konrath, a published thriller author. You can click here for the whole article.


I believe your first order of business is getting a well-respected literary agent. The best way to land an agent is: write a damn good book. After the book is perfect, there are a few ways to find agents.
  • Visit writing conferences and conventions and pitch to agents in person
  • Read books similar to yours, and find out who reps the author
  • Pick up a copy of the Writer's Market
  • Visit www.aar-online.org
  • Befriend an agented author and beg for an introduction
After getting an agent, she'll want to submit the book to editors at large New York publishing houses. If you get lucky, you'll land a book contract. This is the best-case scenario.

Exception: You Can't Get an Agent

Getting a good agent isn't easy, which is why you should spend as much time as possible honing your craft, improving your writing, learning about narrative structure and the elements of a compelling story. I got rejected over 500 times, but the vast majority of these rejections were for books that were not very good.

Should you self-publish if you can't find an agent? I would say no. If a hundred lit agents all think the book needs work, I'd bet the book needs work, and releasing it into the world isn't going to win you fans or do your career any favors.

So there's the key - if you can't get an agent, then it's because the book isn't good enough to be published. That's why there's a stigma to self publishing - everyone figures that if the book were any good then it wouldn't need to be self published! Whether or not that's true, I wouldn't know. I never read self-published books.

I'm not trying to be mean, just honest. Personally, I'm too scared to even try to get an agent (one rejection letter from an agent and I was done). I hope to change that in the near future. Also, I know this discussion about self publishing is far from over so I will be posting more info about it.

Konrath says another interesting thing:
" There's a word for a writer who never gives up... published."

I like the sound of that! Today I will be working more on my WIP's plot.

Wish me luck and good luck to you too!

Yours Truly,
Shoshanna Evers


  1. I wrote this post in 2009. It's 2011 now, and my views have changed on the subject.

    It's no longer a black-and-white issue to me. Now I'm multi-published with three different pubs, and I know other multi-pubbed authors who *know* they've written a great book, they *know* they could sell it to a real house if they wanted to, and instead they *choose* to self publish.

    People like Amanda Hocking are making millions self-publishing. So who am I to say forget the whole thing? And that's why I wanted to comment real quickly here :)

  2. Hey, do you also like how I quoted one of the biggest names in self-publishing as my expert source on why you shouldn't self-pub? LOL Me thinks I missed the point Konrath was making when I wrote this post 2 years ago. Oh well, live and learn!


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