My Books, Publish, Writing

Thoughts on NOT self-publishing

A funny thing happened when I received notification that Kindle Press had selected me for a publishing contract: I had little obvious reaction. My husband was joyous. I felt like I’d suffered a kind of shock, and it took nearly a week for that feeling to completely dissipate. That happened when I woke in the middle of the night and thought, I’m going to be published by someone else!

17zv8Except for a vignette published in an online literary journal, I’ve only been self-published. Oh, I tried for a “traditional” publishing contract with my first novel, but at that time indie-publishing was really taking off, and my impatient and impulsive self jumped in. By the time my second novel was ready for publication, I’d decided I didn’t have the personality type to have a successful traditional career. Or a writing career at all.

I saw myself as a hobbyist, writing what I wanted, the way I wanted to write it, accountable only to myself and readers in that I would write the best books I knew how. I didn’t set out to brand myself as a women’s fiction writer or a romance writer or any other single genre writer. My author friends, volunteered as beta readers and editors and, for one book, a cover designer. I did everything else on my own. And I’ve made mistakes.*

The biggest mistake was in failing to understand the necessity of abundant platform and marketing resources to succeed financially as an indie author. Realizing, finally, how much I lacked in that area, I didn’t expect to—and didn’t—make much money. And for a while, I convinced myself I was okay with that. Oh, how we lie to ourselves!

I work hard at writing. For the last seven years, I’ve sat at this computer nearly every day—for several hours on each of those days. Writing is my full-time job. The thing is, my only job before this was raising children—four of my own and then providing day care for four of my grandchildren for various periods over the next several years. Though childcare was absolutely the most rewarding thing I’ve even done, I didn’t receive a paycheck for that job.

Now, things have changed. For the first time in my life, someone has paid me for my work.

As I write this, I’m waiting to hear from my first professional editor. I’m accountable to someone else. I’m no longer just a self-published author. Someone has seen value in my work and was willing to invest in it.

Yes, I know authors say validation comes from satisfied readers. And definitely, it does. I don’t discount that a bit. Readers complete the equation. And I don’t discount the readers who’ve invested their money by purchasing my books.

Still, the money Kindle Press deposited to my bank account was a different kind of validation. It was a much needed boost of confidence. Finally, I feel like a professional. I feel like a grown-up. But I’d be lying if I didn’t say I’m a bit apprehensive about this new kind of publishing too. Then again, I suppose the unknown is always a little scary.

We shall see.


*I’ve been wondering if, once again, I acted impulsively by submitting High Tea & Flip Flops to Kindle Press … but that’s a topic for my next post.

13 thoughts on “Thoughts on NOT self-publishing”

  1. Congratulations on this new venture. I think you are very brave for trying this but also confident it will work well for you. Nice to have some money in the bank! A nice reward for all your hard work. ❤


  2. You did it! Congratulations! You submitted the perfect book to KindleScout. I can’t imagine anybody not liking your catchy, snappy, funny first chapter. Of course the rest of the book is great, too, but the first chapter is what most Scouts read and vote on. I’m curious to find out how this venture works out for you.


        1. I suspect the real purpose of the Hot and Trending thing is twofold: a way to get the Kindle Scout participants to advertise the program, and a way to line up possible pre-publication reviews.


  3. I’m happy to say that I was one of your earliest readers. Couldn’t put Brevity down until I had finished it. Congratulations we know you will succeed and it is very exciting to be recognised as a REAL author. 🙂


  4. I know what you mean about the feeling you had when you were selected for a contract. It’s like being on cloud nine. And you’re right, it lasts for days.

    I agree that the validation of a professional is special, above and beyond what our readers have to say. For that reason I don’t think I’d ever have the courage to self-publish. But who knows?

    Can’t say enough about how happy I am for you. I’m smiling as I type this. 🙂


    1. Why, thank you so much for the kind words, Laura. 🙂 But once your writing has received validation by professionals, why wouldn’t you have the confidence to self-publish? You could always hire a professional editor, if that’s what holds you back.


      1. I guess some days I don’t have much confidence in my work. Just when I think the self-doubt is all gone it’ll creep back in. I go through spells when my confidence level is at a near zero, and recently that’s been the case. Those are the days I think I might just quit writing. Of course that usually just lasts a day or so because I’d probably keep writing even if I was never published again. I’ll probably always wonder if that next story is any good and I guess I need someone other than my mum to tell me so. 😉 I know many traditionally published authors who struggle with this as well. I hope that makes sense.


        1. Oh, I definitely understand the lack of confidence, Laura. I decide to quit writing for publication about every other week! 😉 I don’t know, I guess I’m thinking I’ll have more confidence after Kindle Press publishes my book. Maybe I’m dreaming.


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