Why I Chose Self-Publishing
In 2015 I made a decision to make my ambition of becoming an author a reality, to make writing a priority in my life. I hadn't taken my writing seriously in at least a decade, there had been plenty of talk but next to no actual writing. I have my own theories on why this happened, but I'll save that for another time.
Back then I wasn't part of any writing community, I wasn't connected to the writing world on social media, it was just me and my idea staring down at the blank page on my laptop, wondering if I would get to the 80,000 word target I'd set myself.
And I did, woohoo! Next I bought the Writers & Artists Yearbook and proceeded to send my bog standard letter and required amount of manuscript away to unsuspecting agents. I'm not sure what I expected would happen next, but what did happen was a full house of rejection.
It was at this point that I started making connections with other writers through social media. It was good, I started to get a glimpse inside the writing and publishing world. Though I would be nearly through writing the next book before I would stumble across The Bestseller Experiment Podcast. I mention this because not only did it massively increase my writerly circle, it also introduced me to the new modern self-publishing world.
I still queried my next two manuscripts with agents, and wrote considerably better covering letters. Although I didn't get an offer representation I did get a lot of full requests and some really great personal rejections.
By this point I'd started to seriously consider self-publishing, not as a back up option, but as viable alternative to traditional publishing, one where I was in charge - of everything. No one could change my titles or pick cover art I didn't like, I could set my own schedule and I liked the idea of that. My own mini publishing empire (well cottage industry, but I like to think big).
There were a few catalysts that encouraged me to take the plunge, the main one was being made redundant. I decided that this gave me the perfect opportunity to take a breather from day jobs and put some energy into launching my books.
The day I pressed publish on Jack In A Box felt like I'd truly achieved something special. Holding my first paperback in my hands was surreal and I've been enjoying the process ever since. The interesting thing about self-publishing these days is that I'm hearing of more and more authors who chose this route for one series and are traditionally published for another, you don't have to confine yourself to one box if you don't want to and that's exciting.
My Rowan McFarlane Mystery series has been well received by readers and a reviewer from a recent book tour said she was 'Rowan McFarlane fan for life' that was music to my ears.
It hasn't been easy, let me tell you, if anyone says that self-publishing is taking the easy route then they have no idea the amount of work, blood, sweat, tears and cash that goes into producing your own book. Sure, I've made mistakes, but if I look at this like a business, then I think you'd be hard pushed to find any fledgling business that didn't make mistakes in its first year.
I chose self-publishing because I was passionate about my series and I believed this was the right route for me and it. My publishing dream evolved over time as I began to gain a greater understanding of what I could do myself.
Self-publishing was a conscious decision to follow another path and every time I get a review that tells me how much the reader connected with Rowan, and every time I look at my books on the shelf, I know I made the right choice.