The Stigma of Self-Publishing

I’ve been self-publishing my novels for just over a year now. My anniversary was July 29th. Book three, Demons of Bourbon Street, comes out in a week or so and Influential Magic (the first of a new series) will be coming out late November or early December. My journey has been filled with challenges, triumphs, and a lot of support. Over the last year, I’ve only had one person give me the obvious pitying look when I say I’m self-published. Everyone else thinks it’s awesome I’m following my dreams. If not, they’ve been kind enough to keep their opinions to themselves.

I’ve seen the negative tone of self-publishing online, but mostly it comes from people entrenched in traditional publishing.  I get it. Change is here. And that makes people uncomfortable. Since I don’t know a lot of people in traditional publishing (those I do know have embraced self-publishing), I’ve been shielded from the negativity.

When I read that my fellow authors are experiencing such negativity from friends and family, I’m shocked. Really? Really!? These are people who love you. They should be supporting you. I can’t tell you how mad that makes me. Writer friends, I’m here for you always. I’ll be your biggest cheerleader. Promise.

I know I live in a creative bubble. Being a glass artist, most of my friends are also glass artists. Many of them are entrepreneurs themselves.  And my family? I suppose my life is already kooky enough they are no longer surprised by the paths I walk. When I was twenty-nine, hubby and I  quit our corporate jobs, sold our house, and moved into an RV to work our way across the country at RV parks. Two years later, I became a full-time artist after having never shown much interest or talent in any art form before. Self-publishing must be tame by comparison.  Maybe I’ve conditioned them. 😀

But the point is, not one of them has told me I’m wasting my time or stupid for writing and self-publishing. Not one. Even when my friends read my first drafts that were filled with plot holes, passive writing, and atrocious typos and grammar, did they ever do anything other than encourage and support me.

I’ve got a confession to make. Even with all that love and support, I still feel the stigma of self-publishing. Maybe it’s because when I started my writing journey I was told over and over by the industry, “Do not self-publish.” It was the fastest way to harpoon any sort of writing career. Maybe it’s because I’ve read a number of traditionally published authors bash the self-publishing movement. Maybe I don’t want anyone popping my happy bubble. So when I went to my first local writers’ group this last weekend, I was scared to tell anyone I’m a self-publisher. I sat quietly, listened to the meeting, chatted with my neighbor, gave my opinion about the importance of using Twitter and Facebook, and then quietly slipped out when the meeting was over. They were a good group. I liked them. Still, I wasn’t ready to confess my sin.

I’m a self-published author.

And to date, I’ve sold over 30,000 copies of my two books, Haunted on Bourbon Street and Witches of Bourbon Street.

It’s funny. In my daily life, I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished. I’ve learned a lot. I never hesitate to give anyone who asks my opinion of the industry. I answer emails and threads about business questions as honestly as possible, often giving real numbers. Yet, put me in a room full of authors I don’t know, many of them traditionally published, and I become a wallflower.

I hope to remedy that at the next meeting. I’ve accomplished something  pretty amazing, I think. Am I a NYT bestseller? No, not yet. But my books are regularly on the top 100 genre  lists on Amazon, and that’s nothing to sneeze at. Next meeting, insecure self-publisher girl is staying home and proud author is going in her place.

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19 thoughts on “The Stigma of Self-Publishing

  1. At the next meeting, if anyone gives you flack about being self published tell them “I’ve sold 30,000 copies of your books so far. How many have you sold?” Chances are, it won’t be nearly that many.

    You rock! I can’t wait to read book #3 and your new series.

  2. Heather, I seriously doubt anyone would give me flack. It’s more about my own insecurities than anything else. But, it does help to know I’ve had some success. 😀

  3. I do not know much about “self-publishing” or the other, but I do know what I like to read. I am just a stay-at-home mom, Girl Scout leader, student (went back to college), wife and thats just some of my titles….and I love your books; they give me an “escape” from reality and can’t wait for Demons to come out!!! Ps: I have also checked out some of your beads and as soon as some extra $ comes my way, I will be purchasing one for a necklace. 🙂

  4. I am so proud of how you have chased after your dreams and made them happen. It’s been a pleasure to watch that happen and be able to support you along the way. I had no idea the sales had got that high though…that’s amazing! Congratulations!

  5. Humans are always afraid of change. Self-publishing is here to stay, and why knock your head against brick and mortar publishing when you have an alternative at your fingertips? I think you’re smart, Deanna, to work with the new publishing model–especially when you’ve been successful enough that you’re launching your third book. That says it all, in my view.

  6. Vera Bajenski, my aunt, told me to check your
    Blog out… Glad I did. Thanks for the tips. And
    All the best with your dreams!
    Leah

  7. I understand that feeling. What would stop you from submitting a manuscript? Is there an unwritten rule about “once you self publish there is no going back”? I think your writing is solid. Why not send one out? I know a broker in New York. Want her contact info?

    • SaraSally, nothing would stop me from submitting. I could for sure do that, if I wanted to. I’m not at all sure I want to do that though. Businesswise, I’m not sure it’s the best move for me at this time. But the option is there. No doubt.

  8. I have always told my kids that if they pursue something they love and are passionate about, they will love what they do and find a way to earn a living with it. Do what you love and love what you do. Don’t listen to the haters. You are the only one who can discover what you are capable of. I am glad you have the support of your friends and family. What more do you really need? You go, girl! I can not wait until Wiches of Burbon Street comes out!

  9. Whoops, I meant I cant wait until ‘Angels’ comes out. I just finished both ‘Witches ‘ and ‘Demonds’. I am really enjoying the series.

  10. Thanks for any other magnificent article. Where else could anyone
    get that kind of info in such an ideal means of writing?
    I’ve a presentation subsequent week, and I am on the look for
    such info.

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