Kootenai River in NW Montana, near Canadian Border

Kootenai River in NW Montana, near Canadian Border
photo by Gene Tunick of Eureka, Montana

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Tip O'Day for Writers #96

Guest blogger Donna Levin opines on whether or not to self-publish.

In recent years self-publishing has finally become affordable. So affordable that I’ve been getting a heckuva lot of e-mails from writer friends-and-acquaintances announcing the self-publication of their novels, often ending with the personal note, “I just got tired of all the rejections.”

Well, I hear you, man/dude/sister, louder than a foghorn when it’s too late to save your boat.

If all you need is to hold your fiction in your hands, with a high-concept cover and your name as large as the title, self-publishing is the way to go. If you will be satisfied by spreading a few hundred, maybe a thousand, copies among your family and Facebook buddies, then you, too, are a natural candidate.

Just keep in mind the alternative, which is to rewrite your manuscript, maybe even rewrite it twice, before you send it out. In my experience, writers often submit their work too soon. I have been one of those writers who thinks, “What the heck do they want from me? I’ve put my heart and soul into this. I deserve to get it published!”

While readers (and I have been one of these, too) think, “Couldn’t the writer have done one more draft to cut out the redundant scenes, liven up the dialogue, see more deeply into the characters?”

So find fresh readers whose judgment you trust to give you feedback. Then dig down for the inner resources you need to sit down to this manuscript again. You may very well still end up self-publishing, but you will be self-publishing a better book, and that can only be good.

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