Guest blogger Catherine Cavendish on the perils of self-publishing
It has probably never been harder to get a publisher or agent but, conversely, it has never been easier to self-publish. There are many avenues to choose from. It can be genuine self-publishing where you literally do everything yourself and become your own publisher, or choosing to go straight to e-book with Kindle or others, or selecting print on demand (POD). You can always choose to pay shedloads of money to a vanity publisher - and end up with a garage load of books to sell.
These days all writers need to be their own marketers, but a real publisher will provide a much bigger shop window than most of us can provide for ourselves. If you go it alone, you will have to generate all the buzz yourself, and that in itself is a full-time job. You won't have much time left to write your second novel.
We have all read the 'amazing success stories' from authors whose self-pubbed books have been picked up by leading publishers and gone on to make them fortunes. Or the author who has done it all by herself and become her own bestseller. These success stories are rarely, if ever, exactly what they seem. When you dig a little deeper, you find that the author is already well known in some other field, has an uncle in a leading publishing house, has a great deal of money to shell out in marketing campaigns, and so on. And, let's face it, of the thousands of writers now bypassing traditional publishing routes, not many sell more than a few copies.
A few years ago, I went down the POD route myself. I sold a few books but I wouldn't do it again. I now know what a difference a professional editor makes and my writing is much tighter than it used to be because I have learned so much from her. I know how frustrating and depressing it is to get those rejection slips but I urge you to think very carefully before embarking on self-publishing. Try joining a writing community such as
Don't give up. Keep on writing. Work at perfecting your craft. Don't stop submitting to agents and publishers. It worked for me. And I keep on learning more every day. Good luck!