When One Should Self-Publish

Full Disclosure

I am a self-published author and I am not rolling in money because I know the secrets of how to self-publish. I have completed four novels, two have been self-published and two are sitting in my drawer, perhaps for another day. I am working on my third novel and I may self-publish it or not. It depends...

I am retired living on Social Security and while I do not require an income from my writing, it would be very nice if I could develop enough of a following to provide me some additional income.

I am working on a series of detective stories circa 1930, I characterize them as being light film noir with adventure, some mystery highlighting the style of Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler. The series is Jonas Watcher.
I have been actively writing for about three years and while writing, I have designed my own book covers and done my own promotion online, with newspapers and posters for book signings. And whether I was involved with traditional publishing or self-publishing I would be doing pretty much the same thing.

So why am I offering up advice, because, I may be able to provide someone else information that may be beneficial to them, and maybe someone will read this and provide me with information that may be beneficial to me.

My Criteria To Self-Publish Or Not

Here is a list of questions you should ask yourself when considering to self-publish or not.

How old am I?

Does age matter? Probably not, but it might be taken into consideration with other factors. If you are starting out in life, then self-publishing  may be a way to get yourself out in the viewing public, but you also have time to get yourself published using the traditional process. Be aware that without some kind of a hook the traditional process might take time. In either case, the internet is full of information about how to get published, so research is your best friend. If you are later in life you might consider the passage of time a handicap then self-publishing may be your best route.

Am I independently wealthy?

     Don't I wish? If you already have an income that covers your living expenses and provides you additional money to get yourself published, then you might want to go the self-published route, not through a vanity press but one of the many publishing options available over the internet. There are editors,  cover designers, and publicists who can help you achieve your goals. Again research is your friend and if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. If you have the time and the inclination, you might use your extra resources getting your work in front of an agent and follow the traditional route.

Do I work for a living?

Don't quit your day job. Write when you can and follow whichever route that appeals to you the most. Do keep in mind, that neither is a silver bullet, and you will have to work at getting yourself in front of the reading public.

Am I retired?

As a matter of fact, I am, and that was a critical factor in my deciding to go the self-published route. For me time is an issue. I have limited income, so I have to be a one man self-publishing company. The good news is that I have a group of people that I can rely on to check my punctuation, my plot lines, and who will help me with proofreading. Are the infallible? No, but they are very good,  extremely thorough, and critical when I screw up. They do keep it positive, but I often hear the word "really" a lot.

Do I have something to publish?

When you start to consider publishing, you do not have to have a finished product. You should be passed the outline stage and actually working on your first rough draft. Whichever route you choose to take don't actually start the process until you have at least gotten you work in front of trustworthy eyes and gotten some positive feedback. At that point, you should have done enough research that you know the direction you want to go and you start the execution of the process.

My choices for Self-Publishing

Whichever choice you make, I am sharing some of what I have done and I hope it can be of help others. First, I chose to publish both eBooks and paperback books. It is not an either or decision, I chose both. I selected CreateSpace to publish my paperback books. CreateSpace provides that my paperback books are available to both brick and mortar and the internet bookstores. Additionally, CreateSpace is publishing an eBook on Amazon in the Kindle format. I am also using SmashWords to publish eBooks to the rest of the internet eBook population. As it turns out, publishing is easy, getting in front of readers is hard. There are a number of different internet publishers, and I continue to research the WEB for possible self-publish sites. This is only the beginning.

I set up a FaceBook page for the Jonas Watcher Series. I did this for two reasons, It is free and FaceBook already has an infrastructure in place. I post book covers, book signings, I nag my friends to like and share, and I post access to my blogs.

I have this blog where I share my publishing trials and tribulations, as well as details with regards to my writing. I have a second blog where on GoodReads where I share my latest WIP in unedited format. It gives readers a chance to preview an up and coming book. 

 I have contacted local bookstores and the local library to have book signings, I also have accounts with a couple of online publicity sites which I put out press releases when I have an event I am attending, and when I am publishing a new book. I contact local papers when I do the same things.

I have joined a number of online groups for readers and writers and I share my experiences. I have a twitter account that I use for book and blog announcements.

As I find new ways to market myself and if I find any new publishing options I will share them in the comments of this blog.

Gene Poschman


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