Thursday, October 3, 2013

So You Want to Self-Publish? Guest Post

Great minds think alike. This guest post is from the great mind of Dustin Stevens, the author of 21 Hours. He reached out to me about doing a guest post, and this is a FABULOUS one about (gasp) self-publishing!
(By great mind, I mean he went to HARVARD. Come on, great doesn't get much greater than that!)
Unfortunately, I might be thin-skinned, but I enjoyed this post nonetheless.  (Post by Dustin Stevens, highlighting by me)

So You Want to Self-Publish? You’re Going to Need Some Thick Skin…
The first thing any person that has ever written a book hears from others is “Wow, really? That must be an incredible feeling.” Every time I hear this I smile and nod, because it really is. The first time you hold a book you’ve written, it can be quite euphoric.
What I often don’t tell them is the feeling can be short lived.
The reasons for this are varied, starting first with self-imposed expectations. While the first time  you see your book listed on Amazon can be incredible, the second time it becomes a little less so. Even more the third time. Writers are no different than anybody else with aspirations, each time wanting to climb a little higher up the proverbial mountain. While the first time just holding your own book is enough to make you smile, the next time you want to see someone else holding your book.
So, how does this equate to needing thicker skin?
While the various technologies that exist for self-published authors offer a wealth of avenues for producing work, it does precious little to help with getting that work to the masses. That process requires a tremendous amount of elbow grease that in many ways can be just as daunting as the traditional publishing world.
While agents often serve as the gatekeepers into major publishing houses, book bloggers are by and large the holders of the keys to self-publishing success. These are wonderful people that take the time to spread the word of good books through their own kindness and generosity…which of course means they are deluged beyond belief. Hoping to avoid the lengthy query process is why no small number of authors opt to self-publish, but getting the larger blogs to accept a self-published work can be just as difficult, and just as harrowing, as trying to get into a major agency.
Second, perhaps more important to a self-published author than even a traditional published one are reviews. While someone coming from one of the Big Six has a tremendous amount of marketing support, often time the hopes of the self-published reside on the written words of others in places like Amazon or Goodreads. Because of that, the self-published are much more attuned to the thoughts and feedback of others. After spending weeks, months, or even years carefully constructing a work, it can be quite terrifying to place its fate in the hands of strangers.
Finally, the entire self-promotion can be quite daunting. Generally speaking, most authors would rather stay at home writing than ever dream of going in front of groups of people and talking about themselves or their work. Often, we hope our stories do that so we don’t have to. Pushing that aside to openly stump for a particular work takes getting used to.
Make no mistake, this is all worth it. Obstacles like I just mentioned are but a small down payment on moments like the ones mentioned above and the hope of bigger things to come. It should just be known though…it isn’t for the faint of heart, or the thin-skinned.

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