I have a friend who decided to start home-schooling her three children this year. When she mentioned her plan to a teacher’s aide, the woman said, “Well, I hope your kids get into college.”

That wasn’t the only negative comment my friend heard. Other people have berated her for her choice on her FB page as well as private messaging her.

I realized this is the kind of negativity that many indie authors battle. Why are we insulted when we decide to do something ourselves instead of the traditional way? Naysayers assume we won’t be successful simply because we’re not certified or we don’t have a degree.

Frankly, this is the biggest reason I have yet to venture into the self-publishing realm. I am afraid of what people will think. They might presume that my story isn’t up to par simply because I published it myself. In fact, because an agent hasn’t signed me on yet fosters my self-doubt. I better not humiliate myself further by self-publishing.

On the flip side, I will say a lot of poorly written self-published books have supported this stigma. Like the rotten apple that ruins the barrel, too many indie authors forge ahead with their ill-prepared books.

When we choose to publish, it is a personal decision. There is no special machine that lights up when our book is ready. We simply have to believe it in our hearts, be prepared to stand behind it fully, bravely. In the end we’re only human, only trying to make the right decisions.

I do believe that anyone can write a book. And I think that anyone has a shot at writing a good, or even, a great book as long as she learns storybuilding techniques, proper grammar and punctuation, and takes the time and energy and focus to revise and revise and revise until she’s sure the book is ready. Then revise some more. I think indie authors can be successful if they work hard, learn the craft, and can be honest with themselves about the quality of their work. Mistakes will be made; that’s part of the learning process.

In the same vein, I think home schooling can be successful when managed by a parent who is passionate about her child’s education. She must be focused, resourceful, creative, prepared, and open to learning teaching skills and techniques. Again, mistakes will be made; that’s part of the learning process.

Do-it-yourselfers have wonderful opportunities at their feet. But they must be willing to take their craft above and beyond what is expected, because a faction of cynics are ready to say it’s impossible.

Are you a do-it-yourselfer?

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72 thoughts on “Do-it-Yourselfers

  1. Great food for thought here, Kate. The phrase that came to my mind was “trail blazers.” Chuck Wendig is a great example of an Indie trailblazer. What I would recommend is do not release 1 solo book until an author has several books ready to release at regular intervals.This helps the author 1) find an audience 2) gives the author time to write the next book. ;-)

    • Hi Christy,

      I have heard of Chuck Wendig, but I have not read anything of his. I like your recommendation, because I know that a lot of agents want to find out if authors have more than one book idea. I guess there’s a fear of representing “one-hit wonders”!

  2. I think a certain amount of DIYness results from upbringing. Growing up, we didn’t have a lot. If we wanted to do something, if we needed to fix something or have something, our first resource was ourselves. Because the second resource was usually something unattainable. My hubby is the opposite to enough of a degree that it sometimes becomes a sticking point. Even now, I have to admit, I look at something I *could* spend some money on and the first thing I think is, “Can I do that myself?” LOL

    • That’s an interesting theory, Kathi. I would say that I was never the kind of child who tried to do things herself. I didn’t have that kind of confidence. That continues to play out in my adulthood, obviously. Need to change my tune. ;)

  3. People are very judgmental about home schooling aren’t they! It’s not something I would choose to do (although I’m not saying I would NEVER do it, because under certain circumstances I might), but for some families it’s absolutely the right decision for them. I was home-schooled for one year as a child because it fitted the circumstances at the time. There is no one-size-fits-all answer to any aspect of child-rearing. In terms of self-publishing, I think what you’ve expressed is probably what most people feel – there is a sense that if someone self publishes it’s because their book wasn’t good enough to be “properly” published, rather than seeing it as a choice. And as you say, those that self-publish before their book is ready just make that impression worse. With blogging there isn’t that same stigma; people don’t say that we only blog because we weren’t good enough to get articles into proper magazines, and yet every time we hit ‘publish’ on a blog post, we are self-publishing!

    • Home schooling is fairly common in the state where I live. After all, our state motto is Live Free or Die!, so we definitely like to do things our own way here. And it’s interesting that a teacher’s aide would be so harsh–surely she sees how difficult it is to teach 25+ children of varying backgrounds and behaviors and skills. I too have considered home schooling my kids, but I often worry about the social factors. As tough as it is to be a part of a group that I described above, most workplaces consist of the same variations. We all have to learn under difficult circumstances, and I feel that early exposure might be a valuable tool in the long run.

      I really love your perspective on blogging. It’s true that we are self-publishing, and when we can gather an audience for our posts, we should consider ourselves authors. Even better when the audience grows and you have a loyal following. Obviously, we’re writing something people enjoy reading — even if it isn’t a novel. I have to remember that from now on.

  4. I have read enough to know that regular brick-and-mortar publishers are still against self-publishers to the point that they down it merely as a way of making people be against it, so they can make more instead of figuring out how to benefit from self-publishing (you know, like offering it in some way.). I have a kindle and, yes, I have read some poorly-written books, however, that comes with the territory. I have read some published books in which I have said, part-way through, “This came from a publishing house?”
    I plan to self-publish. I want to do it my own way and I don’t want to go through a kind of mandatory year(s) of rewriting when I am happy with how it is. I have friends who will honestly proof it. Go with your heart!

    • Hi Scott,

      You’re absolutely right about the fact there are quite few traditionally published books that aren’t well-written. Those are the books that make me feel both hopeful and frustrated. I think the trouble with self-publishing stems from the fact so few authors truly revise and edit and proofread before the book is ready. I don’t think quite so many books would be self-published if all indie authors took pains to make their books the best they can be.

      • Going just a bit in that defense: I have read some poorly-written books that still made a very good point or more. Those were self-published and, though they could have used more editing, I imagine I would not have been able to read them if that had been the case as they would not have been done.

  5. After revising and revising and revising, I’m leaning more toward self publishing. No matter which route we take, writers can’t be worried about what people will think. I don’t know if there’s any book out there that everyone loves. People will either love it or hate it no matter what. That’s horrible that your friend was harassed for her home schooling decision. True that mistakes may be made, but they’re made during traditional schooling all the time too. Her kids may be more likely to get into better colleges with individual schooling and attention.

    • Sheila,

      Of course you’re right — writers can’t worry about the opinions of others. Otherwise we will never take that final step. When I am filled with so much self-doubt, I’m vulnerable to the backlash. I think if I stepped up my courage, got a thicker skin, then I won’t care as much. I have to work on that.

      My friend is very brave–she gets snubbed by people she once considered her friends. It’s unbelievable how these people take her decision as a personal insult. But she holds her head high and stands her ground. She believes in her choice, and that makes a big difference.

  6. Yes, we are very judgmental about homeschooling, although I have come to know so many fantastic mothers who are doing it very well. Just as I hope that stigma is changing, I think the self-publishing route is too. Hugh Howey for instance, is a DIY man and WOW did he get results. I’m like you though. I don’t want to go that route because I’m afraid of what people will think. I’m afraid I’ll only sell twenty copies after six years of work….I probably have an unrealistic view of what an agent really is going to do for me, but it just feels more legit or safer; I’m not sure that is actually a good thing!

    • Hi Amy,

      I am sure I have an unrealistic idea of what an agent will do for me, also. That’s a really good point that I’m glad you brought up. Traditional publishing isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, supposedly. We have to market just as much and likely get paid less for the same amount of work. My problem is that I have this image in my head of what an author is supposed to look like, and self-pubbing was never part of that picture. Guess I have to reconstruct my brain. :)

  7. For years home schooling got a bad rap. As you point out, to some degree it still does, but there’s growing evidence of how well these kids really do. They often out-perform their peers academically, and their social skills are just as good as children schooled traditionally. I think your analogy of it to Indie publishing is brilliant. Hopefully both will continue to gain the respect they deserve (when done well).

    • I am not surprised that the statistics show home-schooled kids perform better than traditionally schooled kids overall. And home-schooled kids can still participate in after-school activities (at least they can in the area where I live), so that they don’t miss out on opportunities some parents don’t have the knowledge or skills to teach (specifically the arts such as music and theater).

      • Absolutely. I cared for many home-schooled children in my practices over the years and found them to be well-adjusted, polite, and every bit as real-world savvy as traditionally educated children. I’m actually in awe of parents who commit to this. Doing it right takes a lot of work, though luckily there are now online resources to help. I’m not sure I’d have the patience, and I KNOW my kids wouldn’t want that much face-to-face time with me. :)

      • I remember my mom once thought seriously about home schooling my sister and me. We freaked out at the idea! Nothing against my mom, but it just didn’t sound “cool.” ;)

  8. “In the end we’re only human, only trying to make the right decisions.” Love this!
    It took me two years to make the decision to self-pub. I considered everything a million times. Well, everything I could forecast. :) It’s hard to admit that I let judgment (perceived and real) cloud my thoughts A LOT. But I’ve been known to do that before. As a stay at home mom I allowed people’s opinions that I was “slacking off by staying at home” to interfere with my mental well being too. Of course, now I wouldn’t trade those memories for anything. That and homeschooling should be a parent’s decision imho. As for being happy with my decision to self-pub? I think I am. Still working on my insecurities. I’ve probably wanted to quit a million times too. But having a 17 yr old girl approach me while I was volunteering at my son’s high school last week to tell me she read my book and loved it (and reviewed it)? Pretty darn cool.

    • Hi Coleen,

      I faced the same kind of negativity when I chose to stay at home with my kids. Even though I picked up freelancing and some hours in the school system, I wasn’t “really working.” Such people don’t stop to think about how much work it requires to raise children in a healthy, positive environment. To work a full-time job on top of that means something or someone is going to suffer.

      Through blogging, I have interacted with a lot of indie authors. Most of them had doubts about their choice to go indie, while just a select few knew that’s exactly what they were going to do all along. I think it does depend largely on how we initially perceived our careers. If we never before envisioned self-pubbing as a possibility it is that much harder to accept as a choice. Nowadays, after reading about how many indie authors are happy with their decisions, choosing to go that route sounds more acceptable to me.

  9. I loved this analogy between homeschooling and self-publishing. I chose the self-publishing route because my market for my book was small and I didn’t want to waste years to get it into a publisher for basically a pittance payoff. I’m happy so far with self-publishing, but realize it is a lot of work no matter which side you are on; writing can always be improved, so we shouldn’t ever think, “I’m finally there. I don’t need to learn anymore.”

    • Hi Char,

      Your reasons for going indie make a lot of sense to me. It’s a rare agent who will represent a book with a small market, which is too bad. Many books are denied for that reason.

      A lot of authors don’t bother researching the market before opting to self-publish, because they know it’s an easy way to get their books out there. I know that sounds harsh, but judging from some things I’ve read, it’s hard to imagine those authors truly tried their best.

      And you have the right attitude. We can always improve our skills. I think that’s half the fun anyway.

      • Amen. It is fulfilling to see your own writing sharpen over time as you put things you learn into practice. Even if the money’s not rolling in from book sales, you can still feel a sense of satisfaction in a job well done.

  10. Great post Kathryn. I think the motivation behind the do-it-yourself attitude also needs to be examined. Can you do it better on your own? If people are really honest with themselves, some aren’t cut out to be teaching or publishing. But that doesn’t mean they can’t do it. It just means a huge time commitment to learn and become good enough at a new task. If the end desire is to create a top notch product or service, entrepreneurs are awesome. If it’s all about ego and a refusal to see one’s shortcomings, that’s another matter.

    • I agree. 5 years ago I never would have considered self-publishing, because of my lack of knowledge, confidence, and courage. I feel differently now because I have learned the biz and I see what is happening to authors across the board. I think we’re more successful at anything when we are well-armed with knowledge and can be honest with ourselves.

      • LOL. I felt the same way even up to 2 years ago. I wanted traditional publishing or nothing. But I came to see that my book wasn’t going to be traditionally published and opted to bring it to market on my own. Totally agree about that when it comes to success. :)

  11. It’s a decision every writer has to make, and as was noted about, there’s no “one size fits all” decision. When I browse for potential books for my Kindle, I always read the sample chapter first. And I’m sorry to say that easily 90 percent of the time that’s enough to show how poorly the book is written. But then there are some blog buddies who are professional about their craft and understand the importance of studying the craft and professional editing. And they have self-published books that are far better than some I’ve read that are traditionally published.

    On the upside of self-publishing, I do hear that an increasing number of agents scout the indie publications for writers they’d like to represent. In this new paradigm, an indie author who writes well can find an agent and traditional deal through this route. I think an indie who’s willing to do the real hard work of writing and the publicity work stands a good chance of building an audience and creating options.

    • I have to say I’m of two minds regarding the fact agents trawl the indie market. This means authors take all the risks and do all the work before an agent decides they’re worthy and sweeps in to offer them a deal. On the flip side, I can see how it would be easier to negotiate a contract as the author has already proven herself.

      I hope that the better indie authors rise to the top enough where they will force all writers to work harder at their books. This would give all indie authors a good name.

  12. Odds are, the home-schooled kids will score higher on ACT and SAT tests, write better essays, be more engaged, and have mastered all the AP material by the time they’re 16. They’ll also have more time to do things they love, like build things, volunteer, etc. They don’t have to sit in a classroom with 40-50 other kids, vying for their teacher’s attention. They won’t have to wait for other kids to copy one sentence down off the board. They will be more engaged with adults and consider them as resources….

    Need I go on? About the writing decision, I struggle with that, too. Haven’t been able to go out on the self-publishing limb—yet.

    • Love your points regarding home schooling. All true! When I work at my kids’ school, I am amazed at the range of skills, abilities, behaviors, knowledge — too easy for kids to get overlooked and lost in the shuffle.

      I keep my ears and eyes open on the indie front. One day I might change my mind…

  13. Very applicable theory to many area of our lives. I homeschooled our kids for 2 years and got a lot of flack from friends and family, too. It worked out very well for us and they are both successful academically and socially. I have wondered about the self-pub world, too because I’ve seen some terrible ones, but some great ones too.
    You’ve made some great points, and encouraged good dialogue.

    • I love knowing that you home schooled your kids, Denise. I think it would be a lot of fun – except the math. I am lousy at math!

      The indie route continues to vex me. But I am encouraged by the bloggers I follow who are self-published. They are all positive and would do it again. That’s a big plus!

      • Thanks, Kate :-) It was very fun. I utilized a homeschool co-op and we all pooled our talents. It can be a wonderful alternative -but it’s not for everyone.

        I hope you’ll post another time about your evolving thoughts on indie publishing. It seems to really be gaining momentum but as always, there are pros and cons to everything!

  14. Anything out of the norm is open to criticism, which is not always a bad thing. It always amazes me as to how we’re all about ‘celebrating the differences’ until someone actually decides to do something, yanno, different. I don’t blame parents who want to home school their kids, not with all the budget cuts and standardized testing BS going on, to name just a couple things.
    As for self publishing, does it still have the stigma it carried a few years ago? I’m not being rhetorical with the question, I really don’t know. But I can’t imagine it does. I have a problem with publishing houses/literary agencies from the standpoint that I don’t believe they’re risk takers. And hell if writing isn’t all about risk taking.

    • Hi Cayman,
      I think self-publishing is more popular now because of the opportunities social media has presented, so no, there probably isn’t as much of a stigma anymore. But because everyone and his brother seems to be self-publishing, what it takes to write a book has been devalued in some ways.

      I agree with your view about lit agents and pub houses – they seem to only care about the current trends in the market. It is all about making money rather than taking the risks, as you wisely point out.

  15. Going at somebody for choosing to home school is so beyond rude. And cruel. It isn’t an easy decision; when anybody decides to do anything against the established grain there is a lot of questioning and self-doubt that goes along with it. Having others shovel their opinions on your doubt-pile is just ridiculous.

    And I love the parallel with self publishing, particularly because that’s what I’m doing right now. Every day I get closer to release date I feel more and more like I’ve been an idiot and that I should pack it in. But the stubborn part of me insists that I’ve done the right thing. I’ve used betas, I’ve re-written, revised, checked again and revised some more. I’ve paid for professional editing. Professional cover images and design…. All these things I’ve done and I still feel like I’m doing the wrong thing. Ugh.

    But you’re right; the only way to know is to try and learn from the mistakes. Otherwise, how am I really going to learn? Eh?

    • Hi Ileandra,

      I suppose there will always be a feeling of self-doubt in these kinds of situations. You are taking a huge risk, and I think if you didn’t try you would be disappointed. There is no guarantee that we’d find success through traditional publishing houses, so we’re not losing anything by doing it ourselves. I think you’ll do just fine. :)

  16. Oh, geez! Some people and their negativity.

    Like you, I believe do-it-yourselfers have the potential to do incredible things when passion and love are authentic. Because it is an independent endeavor, one that stands out beyond what is “normal”, these individuals are easy targets for Debbie Downers.

    In the end, a strong do-it-yourselfer will listen to her soul and ignore the rest of it.

    • Hi Britt,
      Love that – Debbie Downer. So true though! Are people that threatened they have to make people feel small in return? I think that self-publishing can earn a great name for itself when more and more quality authors hit the scene. While there are some stupendous self-published works out there, they’re few and far between in comparison to the books that weren’t ready to hit the market.

  17. Definitely side with the do it yourself camp and say kudos to your friend for doing what she thinks is right. People that we’ve met who have been home schooled have done just fine for themselves. As kids they had more free time to develop hobbies and interests making them more interesting people and generally tend to be more independent.
    I agree with what you’ve said about self publishing. I think I would self pub after going through all the steps you mentioned. Would love to read one of your stories one day, self or trad published.

    • I was amazed to hear how much more free time her kids have now. For instance, they started school in August and one of their school days they’d accomplished everything they needed to so they were able to go to the beach at 11 am! That’s my kind of school!

      That’s nice of you to say. I would love for one of my stories to be published, whichever route it may be.

  18. Never fails to astound me how thoughtless people can be. We are so very institutionalised I think. We expect people to do things the way they have always been done. Why not self publish. I think there are some pluses to it – control being a huge one.

    I lived in a very remote area of Scotland when my little boy was even littler and I home schooled him. I loved it but then I think kids sitting in a box with 20 other kids all day is depressing :)

    • Hi Kate,

      That’s true, we are institutionalized. And normally I’m very traditional in my ways–I don’t like change and it takes me a long time to warm up to new ideas. But I wouldn’t go off on someone for doing things a bit different than what I would do. Unreal.

      Some schools are very depressing, I agree. And when you put a whole bunch of kids with different backgrounds, skills, behaviors in one “box” then someone is going to suffer.

  19. I am a DIY-er. It’s not something I’d recommend lightly, as like you say, you have to be prepared to do a lot more than you would the traditional route. In some ways, I guess it depends on your reason for doing it. For me, it was a choice between DIY or not at all, because I didn’t think the story I wanted to tell would be looked at by trad publishers, especially as a first timer. I don’t expect riches, but I think it is a story worth telling. So, why not? Life’s a gamble anyway :)

    (And the whole thing about home schooling? I wouldn’t mind betting that kids who get that kind of one-to-one teaching will do better any day than the trad route, because it’s more personalised learning. My sister-in-law has home schooled my nephew for 4 years. It’s been tough on her, but he’s doing great. The only down side I see is the lack of social interaction, but there are ways around that. Whatever works, I say.)

    • Hi Alarna, I think that self-publishing is great for people who know what they’re in for. Your reasons make sense, and why wouldn’t you want to tell your story? It’s nice that you are able to get your book out there without the help of a publisher.

      Yes, lack of social interaction can be problematic — but unless the home schooled family lives in some remote area with no services or neighbors or electricity, then it shouldn’t be difficult to socialize the kids. There are a lot of home school FB groups and the like that offer support and information. Kids can still join after-school programs or sports in the community. So, in that regard parents just need to put in a little extra effort and it should be easy-peasy.

  20. Hi Kate,
    Self doubt is probably the biggest hurdle to any self-publishing, and you’re probably right about the snobbery of the traditionalists. However, this is a digital age, which means opportunities are there that might not previously have been there before.

    If you need a set of eyes for any of your books I’d happily take a read. I’m obviously no editing expert like you, but I’d gladly take a look.

    • Right, this is the digital age and we need to take advantage of open doors. If we feel strongly enough about our work, then nothing should stop us. Thank you for the kind offer. I have had people beta read it, and I have received positive feedback. The problem is simply that I overthink and talk myself out of being persistent with querying. I back down with rejections when I need to step it up. But thanks again–it is nice to know I have someone out there who’ll lend me some help. :)

  21. Revise, revise, revise … I’m on that merry go round right now and I’m not sure when I’m going to get off :) I guess I will have to believe that I’ll know when the time is right.

    I don’t have kids, so I can’t comment on the ‘home school’ debate, but it was a great analogy. Based on what I’ve read from you so far, the fact that you’ve taken your own advise about quality story telling, revising and putting your best story forward and the positive feedback from betas … Sounds to me like your ready! But I can completely understand the hesitation – it’s a huge step.

    Good luck arriving at your decision! Either way, I look forward to reading the story when it’s released into the world :)

    • Part of me is more than ready. I’ve been at this every day (either actively or just in my head) for about ten years. The other part of me holds back and probably is the reason I’ve been at this every day for about ten years, haha. I appreciate your awesome encouragement and positivity. That’s the stuff I hang on to when I’m not feeling it enough myself. :)

  22. I’m telling you right now, much as I loves your writing and all the things that come with it…..I;m going Detroit. Rock City.
    On writing, we can go same page.
    But this here is baseball. And on the this here of that, I can’t do it. Just can’t.
    Hey. Nothing personal. You know it.

  23. Self-publishing is one of those examples where fear can be both a blessing and a curse. Fear in the right quantities can push us to try harder and do better, engaging for a finer result. But too much fear can paralyze us to the point where we cannot move forward. Not good. The amount of self-confidence involved in putting anything out there for public consumption of any kind – whether it’s to a friend, an agent, or a group of online strangers – is monumental. It takes courage and a drive that not everyone has.

    I think you do, though, Kate. You’re a coach, a teacher, and an editor. All those jobs demand confidence and the willingness to see a project through to its finest completion. Yet, they also require the ability to know when it’s time to let go. That “letting go” can be for a student or a mentee to face a test or the next task on his own…or for a manuscript of your own making.

    It’s almost less about “do it yourself” than “trust yourself to do it.” :)

      • Ack! You’re ganging up on me. ;) Seriously though, I really do appreciate the helpful thoughts from everyone here. I need to get out of my own head sometimes.

    • Mayumi,

      You’re absolutely right about fear–and I feel it in both extremes. You’re very kind to say that, and as I said above there is a part of me that feels confident and another part of me that doesn’t. I’m constantly see-sawing on the issue, so I get nowhere. Posts like this help because I can hear and consider other perspectives. Sometimes I forget how often I am “self-publishing” and that I’m putting my writing out there. I don’t know what the difference is for me, but obviously there is if I can easily post on a blog but not easily query or self-publish.

      Thanks for the good words. :)

  24. Great post, Kate. I do think the stigma attached to the self-publishing author is fading. Slowly.

    Like anything, if the quality of the work is good enough then I don’t see a problem with self-published stories. I’ve read some really good books that I would never have found unless their author had the leap of faith to let it out into the world.

    I’ve also read a few that we badly written, poorly edited (if at all) and amateurish in their presentation. If we are to release our own work, we MUST make sure it is the best it can be otherwise we’re that bad apple.

    • I hope you’re right, Pete. Maybe I am being a bit too hard on myself as well as the self-publishing arena. There are some great self-pubbed books out there, and I have to remember that it is possible to turn this game around in our favor.

  25. I think everyone has the right to choose. As for self publishing, yes, there is a bit of a stigma attached to it but I think that as time has progressed and will progress from what I am reading about, many writers are starting to get it! It, being the fact that mass production with no edits or proper book covers is becoming a public humiliation. Perhaps when self publishing boomed anyone thought they could be a writer because you could ‘hit publish’ on amazon. People learn through criticism and for the small few mixed in the bunch as time progresses, well you will always get a few. I have to agree with some other posts here that there are a number of books traditionally published that I have personally read which could you some editing. Nonetheless, it is brave and lots of work to be a writer and learn to market and self promote as well. I have spent this whole year, pent up, mostly in seclusion writing my book and reading hundreds of publications, countless forums and read many books along this journey as well as passed my book through 2 editors. I can only hope that if it is not well received by some that it is only because of a genre preference. :)

    • Hi dgkaye,

      You make wonderful points. And I’m so glad I wrote this post, because a lot of people are reminding me that self-publishing doesn’t have to be all bad. It’s what we make of it, and there are plenty of good authors out there who are working to eradicate the stigma.

      Sounds to me like you are doing what you can, to move forward, and I wish you the best of luck in your journey.

  26. This is rather interesting because I went to a talk between Jeanette Winterson and Audrey Niffenegger a few days ago an they discussed this, saying self-publishing used to have negative connotations and that it was the ultimate admit of defeat, but that has completely changed and nowadays many author who are outright upset with the traditional system decide to do it their own way by their own rules an self-publish. For me the main problem would be marketing. You need time to write, edit (and hopefully have enough money for a proper editor), market your novel, and have enough time to be seen and appear on talks and so on. That’s the main reason I don’t want to self-publish. I want to spend all my time writing. So if you feel you can manage it, go for it! I’d buy your novel :)

    • Hey Fredrik,

      I love hearing published authors give the thumbs up to self-publishing, or at least, explaining how and why it can be a wise choice. And the traditional system is nothing to write home about anymore, from the sounds of it. So, it may come down to choosing the lesser of the two evils. ;)

      I fully agree with you about the consequences of having to self-market. I’m terrible at selling myself (isn’t that obvious just from this post!), and I would rather spend my time writing, too.

      That’s awesome, Fredrik. I’d buy yours, too.

  27. This is a great analogy. The valedictorian at my kids’ International Baccalaureate high school was home-schooled until his very well educated mom could no longer give him the higher skills math coaching he needed. He obviously managed to absorb a decent education at home to prepare him for this grueling program.
    I am more doubtful about my own ability to navigate the technical aspects of self-publishing. I also find the promotion daunting, but one would have to do that in any case. There might be something in between–a coach or hired helper to navigate your project the technical aspects. Best of luck to you, whichever route you choose.

    • What a great story! That is where I would get stuck, too – the higher math coaching!

      Luckily for those of us that blog, we get a lot of insider tips from fellow bloggers who are self-published. I can already think of a few bloggers whose brains I would pick if I ever decide to follow that route.

  28. I think there’s an element of envy involved as well. If ‘doing-it-yourself’ (regardless of what ‘it’ actually is) is perceived to be somehow inferior, then the barriers to entry are lower. If the barriers to entry are lower, there’s less to stop anyone doing ‘it’. And if anyone can do ‘it’ then there’s nothing stopping them beyond their own fears or inertia – as your post points out. And that takes away the hiding-place for many people. No longer can they hide behind the excuse of “Oh, there aren’t enough agents to go around”. So those who do take the plunge – like yourself or your home-schooling friend – are doing what the cynics are afraid to. And that makes them envy us, when instead it should spur them on to do the same.

    • I like the way you think. I am sure there is a bit of envy involved. Who wouldn’t want to feel confident enough to, as you say, ‘take the plunge’ and self-publish or home-school. Many times we don’t go ahead with such ventures because we don’t feel we know enough, or have the right experience. This is something I have to remember as I think about self-publishing and whether it’s worth it for me.

      Thanks for swinging by and taking the time to comment.

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