I've now been (self-)published for a year and a month. My bibliography boasts ten whole books (including compilations).
Being a self-published author can be a strange experience. By self-publishing, I attached a label to myself. I've found that if I'm not careful a set of opinions and attitudes will be ascribed to me purely because I'm self-published.
I'm not someone who runs around predicting and celebrating the imminent collapse of some hidebound traditional publishing monolith. Most of the books I buy are put out by 'traditional' publishers and (while the industry does have issues) I fully expect it to adapt to the changes and continue to produce books I want to buy. [Hopefully the basic contracts offered to authors will improve, but the industry as a whole isn't a bad thing.]
I'm also not someone looking for a publishing contract. I love the freedom of self-publishing. I love not having to leap through hoops to get my books out there, to not be in the position of, basically, begging for a chance to tell my stories.
Sure there's some un-fun facets of self-publishing. It's always a strange experience to be reading through an enjoyable blog or article and to run up against "If it was worth publishing, it would have been published" attitude. Or "people who self-publish are too impatient to 'pay their dues'". Or "I've never read a self-published book which I thought should have been published". Not to mention the seemingly insurmountable issue of obscurity and reviews. If you pursue reviews, you can find yourself as much a petitioner for reviews as you were for publication.
To many readers I am not a "real" author, or I'm an author with an "approach with caution" tag - one whose books will only be read on direct personal recommendation from trusted fellow readers.
But I've still found an audience.
I've sold over three thousand ebooks (which is a relatively small amount to some, but still seems an enormous number to me). I've received reviews and ratings ranging from one-star to five-star. I've had actual fan mail. I was shortlisted for an award. My sales reached their high point in November and have dropped a fair deal since then, but I am still steadily selling, and every day or two I come across another review which makes me smile (or grind my teeth, or groan).
It has been - and continues to be - a blast.
The winner of the 15,000 stars giveaway is Thumpaholden. Please email me at email@example.com to select your prize!
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