Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Is Self-Publishing Right For You?

Unless you've been hiding in a cave living like a hermit, then you know that a lot of people have been talking/perusing/embracing the concept of self publishing. If you're a writer, you've naturally asked yourself this particular question in one form or another numerous times.

As someone who has been an active participant and a very interested bystander/purchaser of the product for the past four years, and with the value of hindsight and present sight, I would like to say this:

Yes, but only if you meet a particular set of criteria.

I'm sure there are more than a few of you sitting out there asking the computer screen, "What on earth could there possibly be any criteria for self-publishing a book?"

Believe it or not, from what I've observed in the past two years, to give your novel/novella/short story collection the best chance of success, you really need to have these two necessary components.

1} A solid body of work.
2} A solid reputation in your chosen field of genre.

Without these two important pieces, you're basically swimming against the riptide. No matter how well written your prose is, unless you have something out there to prove to the reader that not only do you have talent but that talent has been looked upon in positive terms, you're just throwing your hard earned dollars away.

But if you do have those two important pieces, then you're giving yourself the best possible chance to succeed. And I know that unless I provide solid evidence to prove my theory, you're gonna ignore this entire post. So for those of you who want proof, here are five writers that I know of who have those two important pieces and links to them.

David Cranmer. Of all the writers that I've gotten to know over the years, David has had the most success self-publishing his work. Not only has he built a solid body of work but he is well respect in his chosen genre not only as a writer, but as an editor as well. Check out his blog and website for further details on what he has out there.

Charles Gramlich. Charles is well known and respected in his chosen genres of horror and fantasy, and has also come out with a few self-pubbed e-books that are excellent starting points to explore those two genres.

Travis Erwin. In addition to his body of short stories and a impressive debut novel, he has also self-published a wonderful trio of non-fiction short stories for the Nook/Kindle.

Joanne DeMaio. She writes both fiction and non-fiction and has coming out in March 2012 a wonderful novel called "Whole Latte Life".

Elanie Ash. She is an accomplished award winning short story writer and freelance editor who has an excellent crime noir/horror short story collection out on the Kindle.

To reiterate, the one common thread that all of these writers have is that they built a solid body of work before deciding to take the plunge into the world of self-publishing. This group of writers have all put out first class pieces of work and thus have proven that self-publishing is something that shouldn't be looked down upon, but to be embraced as an excellent addition to one's arsenal of writing weapons.

If you want to self-publish, please look at both sides of the issue. The pro can be found at the above links while a combination of the pro & con can be found here and at this blog (please check out my short series on self publishing: 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th & 5th). While I'm only giving you my informed opinion based on my personal experience, in the end, the question of self-publishing being right for you can only be answered by you and no one else.

Make sure that it's an answer that you can comfortably live with.


  1. True there are very many pros and cons. For me it's just a way of getting out there and slowly building myself up. I mean it costs me nothing but time either, for the most part. So heck, why not.

  2. A well reasoned discussion. No surprise that I agree with you completely. It's not much good just sticking a book out there and expecting it to do well.

  3. That's very kind of you to group me with these other fine writers, G. Deeply appreciated. Now I need to get back to work!

  4. Thanks for the shout-out, I really appreciate it. You've really struck an important note here about self-publishing. I gave it lots of thought and never would've made the decision to publish without the years of experience behind me. My intent with this endeavor is to blur the lines between traditional and self, and I could only do that with lots of writing experience. Because ultimately a story shouldn't define itself to a reader as traditional or self, just that it's worth their time reading.

  5. Pat: That is one way to look it at, to be sure. It sounds like that you're the exception to the rule when it comes to self-publishing.

    Charles: Thanks. Early on, I pretty much expected it to work the way of "putting a book out there and people would buy it." The value of hindsight for me is that I should've done mine the same way that other people, like yourself, has done.

    David: You're very welcome. I'm just stating what I've observed you do in the past couple of years with your writing. You're a great example of the right way to self-publish.

    Joanne: What I stated here really should be the solid foundation for self-publishing. Without having a body of work and being respected in your chosen field, self-publishing becomes simply a vanity project, no more and no less.

    And it definitely sounds like you got not only a good marketing plan in place, but a good solid project as well.

  6. G, how kind of you to mention me and give a link to HARD BITE & OTHER SHORT STORIES. For your readers, I met George when he submitted an unusually fresh short story that was unlike anything Beat to a Pulp had published at the time. It was "Cedar Mountain," and the piece was unforgettable. It's your signature, George, and the piece is timeless.
    Elaine Ash

  7. Interesting and well-thought-out post, G.

  8. Great advice.
    Never mind how expensive it is! A marketing head start definately helps too-

  9. Elaine: Thanks for stopping by and thanks for the compliment.

    And you're more than welcome for the link. I think that you're a great example on the right way to pursue self-publishing and I'm more than happy to share my opinion with everyone.

    R: Thanks.

    For the past few weeks, I've read more than a few posts about people wanting to/actually doing self-publishing, so I wanted to share my personal experience with everyone.

    Snaggle: Absolutely. Without a marketing plan, you're just another faceless writer in the crowd.


Go on, give me your best shot. I can take it. If I couldn't, I wouldn't have created this wonderful little blog that you decided to grace with your presence today.

About that comment moderation thingy: While yes, it does say up above I can take it, I only use it to prevent the occasional miscreant from leaving thoughtless and/or clueless comments.

So remember, all of your comments are greatly appreciated and all answers will be given that personal touch that you come to expect and enjoy.

G. B. Miller

The Legal Disclaimer

All the content that you see here, except for the posting of links that refer to other off-blog stories, is (c) 2008-17 by G.B. Miller. Nothing in whole or in part may be used without the express written permission of myself. If you wish to use any part of what you see here, please contact me at