Writer’s Angst: Self-Published E-books

Here’s another common ailment of writers which I currently suffer under. ANGST! Toward publishers, the reading public, and indeed, agents. Why?

Well, this sort of angst forms in the hearts of every writer who is again and again rejected. Publishing is certainly a wonky battleground right now- bullets zip through manuscript pages and query letters flutter into pools of dirty blood.

Here’s the thing: I’m starting to get the hang of marketing. I think I might understand a wee bit about it, because I’ve been blogging. And my view count approaches 1000, and every day this blog receives more views. Exciting, right?

So in the midst of writing query letters, reading back through my novel to edit more for the hell of it… some people (my family, mostly) have the gall to ask, “Why not self publish?”

Of course, I am born-bred to believe that self-published books, uploaded e-books are invariably horrible. There is such a terrible stigma behind these sorts of books that I cringe every time someone suggests I do it.

Then, I considered it. Wait! Derek, you’re a product of the 21st century, fairly apt at social networking. Hell, you spend most of your time “social networking.” Well, Derek, what if we DO self-publish? As an e-book on Amazon? You wouldn’t need an agent, you could do whatever you’d like to do with your novel. Total control. You know plenty of talented artists. Enlist their help for cover design. Derek, we may have stumbled upon a small miracle.

And the truth is… when I first started writing, I would never have considered self-publishing. But now, e-books seem like the future. It seems that perhaps for a new, unknown author, it could be cheapest way to get published, to get my name out there, make money. Because of the really dark and taboo subject material of Word Salad, it may be better if I do. Every agent says: “Writing is great. Don’t think I can sell something this… um… extreme.”

And well, where does something extreme belong? Maybe… the internet!

Tell me what you think of self-publishing, then go read the synopsis of my book: https://derekberry.wordpress.com/about-the-book-word-salad/

For say, $3.99, would you buy it for your e-reader? Or for your computer or Ipod? What would you do?

Self-publishing used to seem like it would be a defeat, but maybe in it’s own way, it could be an actual victory.

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About Derek Berry

Derek Berry is a novelist and spoken word poet. Derek is the author of Heathens and Liars of Lickskillet County (PRA Publishing, 2016). He co-founded and organizes The Unspoken Word, a literary non-profit based out of Charleston, SC, which provides an intendent home for the poetic arts through regular readings, workshops, and community fundraisers. He is on the Executive Board of the Charleston Poetry Festival, the inaugural production of which will be Fall 2017. His work has appeared in The Southern Tablet, Cattywampus, Charleston Currents, Illuminations, RiverSedge, and other journals.He has performed in venues across the United States and Germany. He has worked as a photographer’s assistant, busboy, and bookseller. He currently works at a curation facility for Cold War History.

Posted on July 22, 2011, in agent, Blogging, books, Controversy, Cool Posts, novel, publishing, query, Self Publishing, Word Salad, writer, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. With the birth of e-readers, e-publishing is an big part of our future. I don’t thiink it’s right for everyone, but I spent the past couple of months learning everything I could about it and I’ve decided it’s the right thing for me. You’ve got to be willing to take on the marketing (which I suck at), make sure it’s been edited, correctly formatted and that you’ve got a great title & cover. A little bit of luck helps, too. Check out John Locke’s How I sold a Million E-Books In Five Months. Obviously, those kinds of sales aren’t typical, but I think e-publishing’s a great avenue to explore.

  2. It looks like you’ve been giving this subject a lot of thought, Derek. Writing is one thing and selling your product is another.

    I had been a designer of artfully created jewelry for 28 years up until two years ago. I can tell you that it was a difficult task to get people to purchase my jewelry at outdoor art festivals until they had continually seen me there year after year. AND … once in galleries people’s interest peaked.

    What the He-L? Right?

    The quirkiness of the public. But … keep on keeping on. Will read your Word Salad synopsis and comment later.

    Toodles, Isadora

    • I haven’t had an incredibly lot amount of experience marketing anything. I think I’m doing fine so far with Facebook and this blog and such. Also, I’m publishing a chapbook of poetry soon (e-book versions too with mp3s) so I can sort of test out my marketing chops in smaller waters. My friend works for a marketing company as well, so maybe that could help a lot.

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