Was Self-Publishing The Right Decision?

Sunday will mark a year since I first uploaded to Amazon. At the time, I was wrestling with a question that many writers are still dealing with today: should I self-publish?

The argument about whether to self-publish has been debated in great detail both here and elsewhere. I don’t want to add to that general discussion today, rather I want to offer up my personal experience of self-publishing.

Given that this is an anniversary of sorts, I would like to look back over the last twelve months and examine the results of that decision, and compare it with what would likely have happened had I decided otherwise.

Regular readers will know that I broke my own impasse by deciding to publish some short stories, while holding A Storm Hits Valparaiso in reserve. It was still being considered by a handful of agents, and I wasn’t completely convinced that self-publishing was the right approach.

Publishing the shorts was an experiment of sorts, but the results far exceeded my expectations. I knew within a month or so that I would publish everything this way and I withdrew A Storm Hits Valparaiso from the agents still considering it.

Looking back a year later, I’m sure I made the right decision. In my first twelve months, I sold 3,482 books and made well over $8,000. Not all of that is profit, I estimate $3,000 went out the door in expenses (haven’t tallied those yet), but $5,000+ is a pretty solid first year.

Aside from those 3,482 paid sales, I gave away well over 30,000 books and had a story go viral on Wattpad, where it is approaching one million reads.

(Before anyone gets too excited with the above number, each chapter read is counted individually on Wattpad. I have 65 chapters, so that translates to around 13,000 people who actually read the book from start to finish, plus another 5,000 working their way through it right now.)

One fascinating thing about Wattpad is seeing around 70% of the people that start the book (i.e. open the first chapter) make it all the way to the end. Given the amount of people that would merely be rubber-necking to see why something got a million reads (I do it all the time myself), that number blows me away.

Whatever way you slice it, whether free or paid, thousands upon thousands of readers have been exposed to my work in the last twelve months. And I’ve made some money. Self-publishing has been paying my rent since August.

Things are looking up too. I’ve been growing month-on-month. I’ve sold around 500 books in each of the last two months. And, in a couple of weeks, my 2012 sales will overtake my total for all of 2011. I’ve already surpassed 2011 in terms of income, and I’m on course to more than double what I earned last year.

And that’s before I release anything new. I’ll have two full length releases over the summer, I’ll try and squeeze in another before Christmas, and there should be some shorter pieces too. If they perform anything like the books I’ve released already, income could rise significantly.

We also mustn’t forget that the market continues to grow, both in the US and elsewhere. I’ll be releasing a variety of translations to capitalize on this, beginning with the French edition of Let’s Get Digital in a matter of weeks.

I will also be focusing on the paperback side, releasing almost everything in paper as soon as possible after the e-book, and increasing the number of stores stocking my print editions. Depending on how sales go, I may start looking at using Lightning Source and/or doing my own print run. Maybe even a hardback. Who knows? Anything is possible. Maybe even audiobooks.

In summary, I’m pretty damn happy about my first year. I’ve sold books, I’ve made money, I’ve built a platform, I’m finding readers – all from scratch. I didn’t even have a blog or a Twitter account a year ago. And, rather than all these tasks leaving little time for anything else, I’m writing more than I ever did before. A lot more.

I couldn’t be happier. Okay, I could be selling ten times as much. I’m pretty sure that would make me happier. But I’m way ahead of where I thought I would be even on my most optimistic projections.

But the biggest change has been on a personal level. I don’t even recognize that guy who used to fester in slushpiles all over Manhattan. I have more confidence in my work and in myself.

For the first time that my destiny is in my hands. Making a living from writing is no longer a mere pipe dream; now it’s a possibility within reach.

But what if I hadn’t self-published? Where would I be now?

Let’s see. If I had listened to the advice I was getting on a certain writers’ forum, I would have either kept querying, or trunked A Storm Hits Valparaiso and started something new.

I had 300 rejections (including those that didn’t respond) from agents in Ireland, the UK, and the US, as well as a handful of rejections from editors. I had lots of partial requests, many full requests, and even got as far as the phone call twice, but always fell short.

I had started to write a new novel, but I was doubting every word and had been stuck at the opening for some time.

However, let’s cut this alternative scenario some slack. Let’s assume that I dusted myself off, continued to query A Storm Hits Valparaiso and, after three months, finally caught a break and landed an agent.

I’m sure the agent would have wanted some changes, so let’s assume we hammered those out over another three months before going on submission.

I severely doubt that an MS which attracted 300 rejections – many focusing on the difficulty of selling a historical novel from an unknown, unpublished Irish writer set during the South American independence wars – would attract a firestorm of attention from publishers, but let’s assume I got real lucky and landed a deal within six months. I’ll also be generous and grant this alternative me the average advance: $5,000.

In this alternative scenario – which is the best possible outcome on the spectrum of realistic possibilities, requiring a series of incredibly lucky breaks – I’ve also made around $5,000.

But wait. I don’t even have all that yet. I’ve probably only got a check for a third of that, and 15% is going to my agent. I would likely have banked just over $1,400 by now (or, more likely, be waiting on the check from the publisher or the agent).

My agent and publisher would be advising me to start blogging and set up a Twitter account. With the level of marketing I’m likely to get (on a book the publisher bought for $5,000), the promotional burden is going to fall on my shoulders.

The book wouldn’t be released until Fall 2013 (when I receive the final third of my advance, the second check being on acceptance of the manuscript), and I would most likely never see another penny from it either. I might catch a break and make a few grand from foreign rights sales, but that wouldn’t be for some time.

And that’s the best case scenario.

It’s much more likely that I would have failed to get representation for A Storm Hits Valparaiso, let alone a deal. I probably would have given up, trunked it, and continued to hammer away at something new.

I’m pretty determined, but the query grind was getting me down. I don’t think I could have pumped the book out that quickly, and probably wouldn’t have started querying again by this time. In fact, it might have been well into 2013 before I would have been ready.

And, of course, A Storm Hits Valparaiso would simply have gathered dust, rather than being my top-seller in 2012.

I think I made the right decision.

About davidgaughran

David Gaughran is an Irish writer, living in London, the author of "Mercenary" and "A Storm Hits Valparaiso" as well as "Let's Get Digital" and "Let's Get Visible."
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140 Responses to Was Self-Publishing The Right Decision?

  1. Aaron Rosenberg says:

    Congrats, first off! I agree, it sounds like you made the right decision!
    I am curious, though, about the “expenses” you said you’d incurred. Were those marketing and advertising? Or just general living expenses and book production expenses?
    Also, in general, how do you feel you managed to attract sufficient attention to make your sales take off?
    Thanks!

    • All expenses are related to publishing or promoting the four e-books and two print editions I have released. The biggest expense was editing. Aside from that, there were all sorts of little expenses – advertising, commissioning a map for my historical novel, print formatting, comp copies of print books, giveaways of print books, postage etc.

      I try and do as much stuff as possible myself (like e-book formatting) but I hire help where needed (editing, covers, print formatting).

      Marketing expenses are a tiny percentage of my outlay. I’ve had a few ad spots, that’s it. IMO, the best marketing you can do is publish a professional looking product, and, for me, that means investing in a great editor, cover etc.

      • Aaron Rosenberg says:

        Thanks for replying, and for the details. As far as the “publish a professional looking product”–well, let’s just agree to disagree on that. :) There are plenty of excellent and excellent-looking books that don’t do nearly as well as yours did–and that’s not in any way a put-down on you, or a patch on your success. It’s just that writing a good book and making it look good aren’t enough. I wish I knew what was, though. That’s what everybody’s trying to figure out.

      • We might agree more than you think.

        If we look at what sells books (and this hasn’t changed dramatically over time), the biggest reasons that readers always give are that they read something by the author before (and enjoyed it), or it was recommended by a trusted source (be that friend, newspaper, teacher, blog, Amazon’s Also Boughts or whatever).

        Every single other factor (cover, blurb, sample, price) are way off in the distance (cover is next in line). Word of mouth is what really sells books. But how do you first get noticed? How do you get those first groups of people to read your book, then talk about it?

        That’s far from an exact science, but we know the kind of things that help: an arresting cover (which suits the genre), a snappy title, an enticing blurb, a well written sample that hooks the reader right from the start, and a reasonable price. Writing in popular genres can help, as can targeting a niche that might be under-served. Having lots of books certainly helps. Ten books is ten more ways that readers can find you or your books – ten more trails of breadcrumbs across the internet leading back to your blog or Amazon pages. Writing great stories definitely helps. Nothing gets readers talking like a really great book. No recommendation carries more weight than a friend thrusting a copy into your hands and *insisting* you read it.

        On the other hand, I see books with crappy covers do well all the time. Or books with formatting errors. Or books with a flaccid blurb. Or authors with only one book out. But you couldn’t say that writing one book, and presenting it in a crappy way is going to increase your chances of success.

        Success requires nothing more than dumb luck. That’s the only necessary condition. There’s no writer that became successful that didn’t get some kind of lucky break along the way. I think doing all the stuff I outlined above will increase your chances of getting lucky, but they don’t guarantee it. Nothing can. But I think a good, determined writer has a better chance than ever.

      • Aaron Rosenberg says:

        Well, on that we most certainly do agree. :)

  2. clraven says:

    great blog post! Self-publishing definitely seems to be the right decision for you. Having taken the plunge ourselves in February, we’re now convinced it was the right decision for us. Like you, we were getting despondent with the constant rejections (if the agents/editors bothered replying) but now we’ve released our own book, we don’t have to worry about rejections. Our sales are nothing like yours – we’ve only made £12 so far – but the whole experience has been so rewarding that we’re planning on doing it again with another short story collection and our debut novel. If we waited for a publisher or agent to accept our novel, it would probably be years before it’s released. Doing it ourselves means we can get it out this year. Seeing as authors are now expected to do the majority of marketing anyway, why not go it alone? The royalties are better, the rewards are better (knowing you did all or most of the work) and it’s fun.

    • One thing you need to keep in mind is that no-one follows the same sales path. I know writers who sold a handful of books in their first six months, and then exploded. I know others who took a year or longer to get going. And then there are those who raced out of the gate and had thousands of sales in their first few months. I was outselling some of the writers that started at the same time as me, and plenty of them have zoomed right past me (and one is earning more than enough to support herself now).

      Everyone is going to be different. Keep at it!

  3. Happy publication anniversary David! And congratulations on your success so far. Reading your post has inspired me with fresh optimism for the future. I’ve only been tweeting and blogging for a few months – and it’s very early days for my two e-books. I’m half-way through writing another novel and have been wondering about going through the whole submission process again. I’ve had a literary agent in the past but things didn’t work out, and after reading your post and hearing other similar stories, I do wonder if it’s worth the effort – especially in such a rapidly changing digital climate. I remain undecided, but at least it’s no longer the only way to get your book out there and make some money too. Thanks for your post and best of luck.

  4. laurenwaters says:

    So happy for you, David. You deserve it!

    (I’d love to hear more about the effort and cost of getting a piece translated)

  5. And you have to add in the intangible value of inspiring hundreds upon hundres of writers (including this one) considering going the same path. Happy Anniversary! And wishing you much more success.

  6. Congratulations on your success! I think the freedom and speed of self-publishing is worthwhile in itself, but making competitive money on top of that is an achievement to be proud of.

  7. Rutger says:

    You are an incredible inspiration, Mr. Gaughran! I hope you continue to do well in the future and grace us with your writings. You give hope to younger, more alternative writers everywhere. Thank you for taking the time and effort to blog for us, Godspeed!

  8. JC Piech says:

    Congratulations on your success David! It’s truly inspiring, especially as I’m just about to release a self-published novel myself. It often seems like a hard route to take, sometimes so hard it feels like it might not be worth it. But your blog post has made me feel very excited about what I might be able to achieve if I put in the work. Many thanks for sharing! :)

    • It’s not easy. There is a steep learning curve. You need to be disciplined with your time and not let the million potential distractions keep you from writing. But, having said that, it’s certainly not as hard as firing off queries into the abyss and getting nothing but scorn or rejection in return (when they bother replying).

  9. LM Preston says:

    Oh David you are talking my story. Partnering with my husband and starting our own small press has grown us personally in so many ways. And the reach we’ve made selling our books has far exceeded our expectations. Any business takes 3 years to pay off itself – I’d say you’ve seen your profit much earlier and in 3 yrs you would have topped that 10fold! Thanks for sharing your story. Now authors have many choices and if they are willing to put forth the work – they can see success in multiple paths.

  10. RichyD says:

    I feel ya, David. I started self-publishing three months ago, and though I’ve only sold a handful of copies, I’ve discovered my mood and my outlook on a writing career are much, much more positive than back when I was swamping every agency in New York with query letters.

    I think the most important fact to keep in mind when you’re self-publishing is that the process of putting your work out there, promoting it, writing blog posts, and learning to use social media, is a valuable learning experience–more than anything you could get at school or in a master’s program. It equips you with a whole new set of tools that will help you live a fuller life, whether you make money off your books or not.

    Plus, my mom is REAL proud of me.

    Thanks again for a great post, David. I look forward to them each week.

  11. Congrats on your adventure in self-publishing so far, David! I think you underestimate the “best case scenario” if the right agent and the right editor had loved the book, but none of that really matters. You’re happy with what you’re doing, and you’re having fun, and you’re making money, and you’re writing, so that’s all that matters, right? :)

    • I thought about that section for some time. I tried to be fair. We aren’t talking about a putative agent hunt. Remember that I queried this novel for eighteen months and it got 300 rejections/non-responses. Off the top of my head, maybe 50 or 60 agents requested the partial and maybe 20 or 25 agents requested the full – maybe more. They all turned it down. The main reason was the supposed “marketability” of the book, with more than a few of them saying they liked the writing/story, but they couldn’t sell a historical set in South America from an unknown.

      Taking them at their word, I think my best case scenario was fair enough.

      While we are on the topic actually, I recently saw a survey of historical fiction readers which said the 2% of respondents rated the geographical setting of historical novels as important (time period was MUCH more important, as was whether the book was about a minor/major historical figure or not etc.). Shows what agents know!

  12. Congrats and thanks for sharing an inspiring story.

    “I have more confidence in my work and in myself.”

    This is one of the things that stood out for me about the success stories at the back of Let’s Get Digital – the number of authors who said they gained a renewed artistic confidence as a result of seeing people buy their books and leave positive feedback – even at the beginning, when they had only sold a few copies.

    I’m sure the money is great, but it looks like there’s something about self-publishing that’s good for a writer’s soul.

    • Perhaps I should have expanded that section, because I think it’s important and doesn’t get spoken of enough. We can throw around all the numbers and dollar signs we like, but personal happiness is much more important. Querying is such an intensely negative experience. No matter how much confidence you have, no matter how persistent you are, no matter how thick your skin is, you will likely hit a wall at some point. I remember when one agent screwed me around. I thought I had finally got representation, and he pulled the rug from under me. I also remember trying to get back on the horse straight away and send a few new queries out – and I just couldn’t do it. I was done.

      Self-publishing changed everything for me. Before I uploaded to Amazon, readers were a kind of mythical creature. It was only after I published my first e-book that I realized that the internet has torn down all the walls between writer and reader. I get emails all the time from people that have read my stuff, and it’s great! There is no better way to start the day than with an email from a reader.

      Aside from that regular boost, there is something incredibly motivating about self-publishing. I want to write a million books now, and a year ago, I thought I would have been lucky to squeeze one more out.

  13. Congratulations on your indie anniversary, David! That scenario you played out sounds about right from what I’ve heard, and very similar to my own experience, even with a wonderful agent. Best wishes to you for year two!

  14. David, congratulations on your anniversary. After two years, I’m creeping toward your numbers, so you’ve done a fantastic job IMO. Just think, this is only the start and I’m sure you have lots more to write. Wishing you many more years of successful self-publishing.

  15. Dan says:

    Happy anniversary and thanks for the retrospective. As someone who is a few days away from pushing the upload button myself, I really appreciate your thoughts on the path you took vs. the alternate version. I only wish I’ll have as much success as you.

  16. Rick Spilman says:

    Congratulations and happy anniversary! You’ve done a great job and I appreciate all your good advice on the blog. May you have continued success and may we all follow your good example.

  17. You rock, David. And your experience parallels mine, except you sport a cool hat, have serious pimped-out blog stats (287,000 visitors?!), and probably have an accent that makes it impossible to keep the women at bay.

  18. You DID make the right decision! And you’ve gone on to inspire people like myself. I published my first ebook back in August of 2011. Shortly after that, I came across your blog, Joe Konrath’s, and a couple others I read religiously. In January I quit my job after sitting at that desk for 10 years wishing I had more time to write. I now have three ebooks out and am editing #4. Would that have happened going the traditional route? Not a chance. It’s so inspiring to read about people that started before me. I feel like I could be getting a glmpse of my own future, too! Thanks so much for sharing your journey.

    Oh, and I’m halfway through A Storm Hits Valparaison, and it’s wonderful so far. To think it could have ended up “trunked”! What a shame that would have been.

  19. Gail Galvan says:

    Dear David: Thanks a million for this candid, insightful perspective..I have been self-publishing since 1999. I am an advocate for the unknown writer out there..wondering, “Will anybody ever see my work?” It was simply worth it all to just see my first book and thereafter, in paperback, sitting there on my coffeetable. My question is this…do you mind if i share your post with my writer friends at Write-On Hoosiers? P.S. Your Valparaiso book caught my eye because i just happen to live in Valparaiso, Indiana…I’m sure your career is going to soar! ENJOY! You will be a miraculous happy ending…and beginning for us all. Thanks. Gail Galvan, Indiana Poet/writer/pioneer self-publisher of books….Write-On!

    • Please feel free to share this post/repost it yourself (just link back here and it’s fine).

      I remember when I was querying this book that someone said that “A Storm Hits Valparaiso” made them think of a tornado hitting a trailer park in Indiana – and they advised me to change the title. Well, it seems the title made you pick it up!

      P.S. You can’t beat the feeling of seeing your own book in print. My second (POD) paperback is out in a week or so, and I plan to cradle it as much as my firstborn…

  20. Lynne Spreen says:

    Thank you for sharing your story. I knew I had finally resolved the “self-publish or traditional?” question when these two things happened: 1. Two indie presses wanted to work with me and I realized, “what do I need YOU for?” and said no thanks, and 2. a writer friend, who expected to land an agent very soon, offered to recommend me to the agent, and I said, “No, thanks. I just don’t know what they can do for me.”

    Because once the publishing game changed, and we writers were told we had to do everything ourselves, we learned how. Then we turned all Little Red Hen on the publishers, and decided to spend the bread ourselves!

    • I think that the greatest thing about the rise in self-publishing is it gives writers more options. Instead of writers begging for a publishing deal (any kind of deal), they are now beginning to value their work – looking beyond what might look like an attractive advance and running the numbers. I think it’s encouraging writers to take a longer term view, and that can only be a good thing. I think writers are perfectly entitled to ask a publisher “What can you do for me?” I certainly wouldn’t have had the smarts to ask that a year or two ago, but it would be my first question today.

  21. I am happy I subscribed to you blog after reading this particular entry. I too have been reading all over the map and feeling as overwhelmed as so many others with various contradictions and opinions. When I hear about successes I smile. There is nothing like someone else’s success to believe the impossible is possible. Congratulations on making great strategic moves. The future is bright for you – I feel it!

  22. Gary Ponzo says:

    Congrats, David. I just finished my taxes for 2011 and I made $8000 in 2011 in ebook sales on Amazon. (B&N is a joke and not worth mentioning.) Anyway, since Christmas I’ve been averaging $5000 a month in sales. Now I do have a new release which is doing quite well, but my point is, you can move up pretty fast. I went from $800 a month to $5000 a month almost overnight. I don’t know how long this will last, but you’re a terrific writer and have a solid profile, keep pluggin along and we’ll continue to root for you.

  23. fergyville says:

    Wow David! Awesome story. You’re doing the most important thing too — writing every day. Oh and you’re so right about the translation bit too. I was just thinking about putting time aside to translate my material as well. I have the advantage of being a native french speaker, so I’ll have one language done for free (lol), but I also want to get into other widely spoken languages.

    Anyway, congratulations on your accomplishments thus far :D

  24. Susan Alison says:

    I nodded and agreed all the way through your post. I, too, am pleased I self-published. My book, ‘White Lies and Custard Creams’ was rejected for years and years and years by the traditional publishing industry. It went up on Amazon in June 2011 and was at number 3 in the top 100 paid in Kindle store by September 2011. It has sold over the 50k mark in downloads on Amazon alone. The query grind was getting me down, too, and the feeling of relief that I won’t be doing that again is indescribably glorious! Yay for us!!!

  25. Congratulations on a great first year!

    “Was Self-Publishing The Right Decision?”

    Next week you can do a companion post: “Water? Is It Wet?” :)

  26. MaanKind says:

    Thank you for your inspiration.

  27. I think I made the right decision.
    Absolutely. And well done, David. Your persistence has inspired me throughout the past several months–and I think persistence is what made all the difference. Keep going.

  28. WOW! Congrats on your success! It’s funny that I ran into your blog, as I am battling with a similar predicament. I’m a different kind of writer; I am a grant writer. However, I’ve been writing a nonfiction book about grant writing – a sort of “how-to” – and I’m almost finished. I’ve been doing research on the pros & cons of self-publishing, and your blog was the final determining factor. I’m doing it. Thank you!

    – Jason

    • That kind of book is *perfect* for self-publishing. Not only will you get it on the market much, much quicker, but you can also update it whenever you like, and even chop it up and sell it in pieces if you choose. On top of that, you know *exactly* who your target market is, and probably where they congregate online. Best of luck with it.

      • That’s so funny! I thought I was done with the book in January; I thought wrong. I’ve made so many revisions and I’m making more. Some people have purchased the original book through my website, and I’ve promised them free copies of the revisions in the future. Thanks for your input. I really appreciate it!

        – Jason

  29. loulocke says:

    Dear David,

    Congratulations on the year’s success (and thanks for sending all those people my way with links to my category post!!).

    I just gave a talk at a writers association about self-publishing, and while most of the people there were thrilled to hear that self-publishing was now a viable option, there was one young man who was clearly stuck in the “self-published work is crap” school of thought, and he was very skeptical that self-publishing was actually working for any but a tiny minority (the famous Amanda Hocking) was the only name he knew.

    It was hard to convey to him how profoundly everything had changed in the past two years, or the how frequently I read on blog after blog the stories and the comments of authors who have tried self-publishing and not only found greater financial success but incredible creative benefits as well. I wish there was one place for us all to go and do what the recent Amazon shareholder report did-just write two paragraphs where we could simply state our name, a little of our publishing history, our books, our genre, our sales data, and the two best things about being self-published. I think this would blow the world of publishing away!

    Another thought this post prompted. As a speaker about self-pubishing at another conference in January, I found myself at a table with some young editors. At a certain point they began to sincerely mourn books and authors that they had recently had to turn down–despite their belief that the books were great books and the authors very talented–because they couldn’t “sell” the books to the editors and marketing departments above them. As one of them put it, “there are only so many books I feel I can fight for a year, and this wasn’t one of them.” There was real sadness that a great story was never going to be read and an author might give up writing. But when I spoke up and said, “Well, why don’t you tell them to self-publish?” They looked at me like I was speaking in tongues.

    I don’t think that traditional publishing industry people yet understand what terrible damage they were doing to the creative minds of the world by making the barriers to getting your work out there higher and higher. They had gotten used to just shrugging off the books that they turned away as “having potential but don’t think we can sell it.” Maybe they told themselves someone else would pick up the book (but hope secretly if that happened that the books wouldn’t do so well that they would rue the decision to pass it by) But in any case, they seem to still be focused on the idea that they are saving the world of readers from bad books. Consequently they don’t yet get why ebook publishing and Amazon’s removal of those barriers has had such a profoundly positive effect on authors–and has brought such pleasure to the readers who are discovering these works that are new, cheap, and not clones of whatever was the best seller 2-3 years ago.

    My first book, Maids of Misfortune, stayed in a drawer for 20 years (taken out occasionally to try again for a contract), before I self published. Without self-publishing it might have stayed in that drawer forever, but even if I had been exceptionally lucky (following your best case scenario) if I had instead sold my first book in 2009 instead of trying to self-publish it, I would probably only recently gotten the final payment of a $5000 advance. I would not have been able to retire completely (as I did) to write full time–so the second book wouldn’t be written, much less published. I would have had to spend just as much time marketing, but I would be living in fear that my numbers for the first book wouldn’t be enough to get me another contract.The price on the book would probably have been too high, I wouldn’t have had the benefit of free promotions, and given the shrinking shelves in bookstores, I probably wouldn’t sell enough to start getting any royalties. But I did self-publish, and at the end of two years 38,000 people have bought my books, and another 50,000 have downloaded them for free as part of KDP Select promotions, and I have made more money than I ever thought possible.

    So here to a great second year to you-and all you indies out there.

    Mary Louisa, author
    Maids of Misfortune and Uneasy Spirits

    • Hey Mary Lou. That attitude is quite sad really, but sadder still is that writers still subscribe to it too. I’m sure many of these people mean well with their advice, but it’s just dumb. We can argue all we like about which path is better, but for a book you can’t sell? A writer shouldn’t think twice. While they are looking for a deal, if that’s still what they really want, they can be building an audience, making money, having a ball, and keep querying.

      I’m doing a couple of talks/workshops in England in September. I expect to run into the same attitude in certain quarters. My question will be a simple one. If a writer has trunked a novel – which they genuinely feel is good enough but just couldn’t sell for whatever reason – and has written something else and is now querying with that, what good reason is there not to self-publish the trunk novel? I can’t think of one. Even if a writer wanted to completely disassociate themselves from the book (for whatever reason), they could always publish it under a pen-name.

      P.S. Holy guacamole, I love those numbers. 38,000? Wowza.

  30. Pam says:

    David, this is such an insightful post! I hope you don’t mind us reposting the first few paragraphs on the Wattpad blog (we added a link to your blog to continue reading). We’d like more Wattpadders to read this and get inspired by your success!

  31. Tyler Wills says:

    David,
    a deserved Congratulations and thank you.
    The answer is quite simple in my humble opinion, had you not taken the route you have you certainly would not have enriched as many or as wide a range of people with your words. And this way it is and will be a two way road, the alternative was always going to be one way only.

  32. Kudos for sharing your numbers! The fact that you have an experience like this you’re willing to share is great and helps anyone else in the same boat. I’ve been self-publishing since 2005 (back when it was a horrible thing to do), and my sales every month have almost doubled since November… I’ve also been able to pay the rent and the bills with my writing, and it’s such a great feeling knowing that I’m doing this my way… look forward to reading more of your journey as it develops.

    Armand Rosamilia

  33. tonidwiggins says:

    David, what a year! You made the smart and soul-satisfying choice. Sincere congratulations.

    I had a similar journey (and saw you on that same forum), although I did get an agent. But then came the brick wall of head-shaking editors: they didn’t know what to do with my strange hybrid of forensic geology and eco-thriller.

    But I’m finding new readers every day who know what to do with it: read it!

  34. diannegreenlay says:

    Congrats, David, on your success and many thank you’s to you and people like Mary Louisa (don’t you love her Wolfhound?) whose blogs are just the thing to keep the rest of us going. I am a newbie at self-publishing but a total crusader for it. My first novel, “Quintspinner – A Pirate’s Quest” is self-published and yet won lots of awards, and because of both of these situations, I have been asked to lead an “Introduction to Self Publishing workshop” at the end of May for a writers’ group of traditionally published authors. I have listed your blog and Mary Louisa’s in my “Must-Follow” Resource List hand-out to them.
    The world as we know it changes in many ways (especially in the area of technology), and those who, early on embrace the changes ,will benefit the most. So, yeehaw! Jump on the wagon, writers! Give it a try, I say.

  35. MarinaSofia says:

    Thanks for sharing everything so candidly and well done!

  36. David, I’d love to hear the story of your Wattpad experience sometime–how you used it, how you tied it into later publishing. That’d be a useful blog post to me, since I’m ramping up fiction writing and finishing a novel (and I love the short form).

    • Sorry James, your comments seem to go straight to Spam these days, and I’m not sure why, you should be whitelisted – apologies.

      The Wattpad experience has been a very positive one, but I’m not even half way through the six month partnership with them so it might be too early to do a comprehensive post on it. It’s also quite tricky to ascertain what effect it has had on my sales. I’ll be interested to see how my next release in this genre goes, and see if I get any extra boost on launch.

      The short version of what happened is that they approached me in December about serializing a book (Storm) there. They started featuring me in February. Before that, I had amassed 3,000 views on my own. As soon as they turned the spotlight on me, that number climbed exponentially, and has continued to do so since then.

      They have done other things to promote that book, including guest posts, reposting some of my blog post, a cover-off, a YouTube video (!), and there is plenty of stuff in the pipeline like a Podcast to their members. I might also try and hook up with them to do some kind of self-publishing advice forum or question and answer session – we’ll see. But that spotlight is immense – that’s what is really driving those numbers.

      • “Sorry James, your comments seem to go straight to Spam these days, and I’m not sure why, you should be whitelisted – apologies.”

        I notice it asks me to always login now. It changed a few weeks ago. Maybe I’m a spammer and didn’t realize it?

        Thanks for the Wattpad explanation. One more: what kind of content did you post first at Wattpad? Your entire novel, or bits, or short stories, or…?

      • This is really dumb. Even your replies in a continuing thread are being labelled spam. The filter is usually spot on, unless someone throws a load of links in their comment. It seems to have singled you out for some reason.

        As for Wattpad, I put a couple of shorts up, then serialized my novel over a few weeks.

  37. Congratulations David. You had an awesome year. One of the greatest things, I think, about this self-publishing renaissance, is that we genuinely want our fellow writers to succeed, so we root and we cheer and we say “yeahaaa!” when something great happens to one of them. We vicariously live through each others’ experiences and the sense of community this creates, as a result, is heartwarming.

    A lot of this is because of people like you. We appreciate your contribution, time and honesty. Thank you.

  38. yoga-adan says:

    well deserved congrats david ;-) all the best wishes

  39. John Barlow says:

    David, I’m a huge admirer of this site, and of indie publishing, but I don’t think your numbers are quite right. If a big, brave, ‘literary’ novel set in South America like yours is going to attract any interest, it’s going to get more than $5,000 worldwide; otherwise, agreed, no point in you signing.

    Given a good agency and a respectable initial US/UK publisher, it’s also likely to get a few foreign sales, and these do add up. If your initial hypothesis was $20,000, how would that change things? Or $35,000? The higher the hypothetical initial advance(s), the bigger gamble to go indie, although of course it’s always hypothetical, you can’t do both.

    I have no firm opinion here, I’ve done both; I’m just pointing out that trad advances alone can be enough to live on, and in many ‘trad vs. indie’ discussions the financial benefits of the trad route are downplayed and those of the indie maximised.

    Anyway, best of luck for your move to London.

    • John, I received 300 rejections on that book. I think $20,000 is more than a stretch for a book that plenty of agents had a chance to sign and decided they couldn’t sell it. But I’ll play along.

      If I’m on a $20,000 advance, we’re talking Big 6, so probably a contract with non-competes (preventing me self-publishing), and my rights are likely tied up for ever (hard for a book to go out of print with POD and digital). The likelihood is that it won’t earn out, so let’s say that’s the last money I’ll ever see on that book. And 15% of that goes to my agent, so it’s really $17,000.

      A Storm Hits Valparaiso has brought in between $3,000 and $4,000 (not counting publication costs). It has only been out for five months, and I still own all the rights to it. It’s the first title I’ve released in this genre, but I’m following up with another historical in July which I expect to boost sales of Storm. But let’s say things stay as is, and there is zero growth. I estimate I would overtake that $17,000 number in just over two years. And I would still own all the rights.

      Even if the advance was a crazy $35,000, I could expect to overtake that number in just over four years. And I would still own all the rights. which after the agent’s cut would be $29,750, by the same calculation, I could overtake that in three-and-a-half years.

      • John Barlow says:

        I’m really just trying to play the devil’s advocate here, because what you say makes perfect sense. Two things kind of stick in my mind:

        1. How many ebooks keep on selling at the same rate for 4 years? Even in an expanding market, we don’t really know. But to an outsider, it would probably look a bit like an example of ‘boom mentality’.

        2. Your assumptions about the trad route are based on the past model. But publishers are busy hiring www specialists and kitting up to exploit the ebook market. It’s not going to be the same industry in a couple of years’ time. Look at the Friday Project/HC, for example.

      • They don’t keep selling at the same rate. They have continual peaks and troughs. I have sold 389 copies of A Storm Hits Valparaiso this month. If that rate continues, the numbers I’ve given above are *way* too conservative – but I took an average of the five months since release. But sales will certainly go up and down. Another example: Let’s Get Digital has sold around 100 copies in April – it’s weakest month in quite some time. But it sold 276 copies in March – it’s best performance in some time. It averages just over 200 copies a month. I expect next month to be a good one, with the release of the paperback, the French edition, and some promo.

        The difference between publishing myself and going via a publisher is that the publisher will likely only push the book for a couple of months, then it’s on its own. But e-books can have multiple runs at the charts if managed correctly. Quite frankly, publishers don’t think the right way to make that happen. They seem to think books “spoil” after a certain time, and (unless it’s non-fiction which has quickly dated) that’s just rubbish.

        I don’t expect all my titles to continue to increase exponentially, but I do expect my sales to increase overall. Each time I release a new historical novel, I expect to pick up new readers for my existing historical novels. In four years time, I expect to have at least five historical novels out (very conservative estimate), and a bunch of other titles too.

        My numbers assume zero growth. I think they are conservative.

  40. Jillian Dodd - Glitter, Bliss and Perfect Chaos says:

    Congrats on your first year self publishing. My year anniversary is coming up in May, so we started around the same time. I’m with you. If I had waited for an agent, then possibly a publisher, I’d still be waiting instead of earning money. I love that I control my destiny. I’m in charge of every detail of my book. No one is telling me what I have to change. No one is putting a cover on it that I hate. No one is putting me on a schedule. I have two full length novels out now and will have two more out by the end of the year. It was scary at first, but I’m so glad it’s the path I’m on!! Continued success to you!!! And I wanted to let you know that I don’t always comment, but greatly appreciate all the things I’ve learned on your blog!!

  41. I’ve left a reply elsewhere to congratulate you. I thought you and your readers would also be interested in my experience. I haven’t had the sales success you have had, but I have had the great gratification of finding appreciative readers for my works. Before I epublished, I had really just given up after more years than I care to relate, but you can read about all that here: Reflections form an Aging Writer: http://www.randyattwood.blogspot.com/2011/08/reflections-from-aging-writer.html

  42. Hey, David. Congrats! I’m certainly glad I self-pubbed. My sales have steadily increased and I’m actually paying bills now with my earnings. It’s pretty awesome. Your book was instrumental in helping me find success as an indie author. Thanks!

  43. cheeriet says:

    Hell yeah you should! Plus, just think of all the folks who you’ve inspired one way or another, in their self publishing endavours. Myself included! I was sitting on the fence for that decision around the same time you started this blog, and if it hadn’t been for the encouragement I got from following the first couple of weeks of your journey, I might never have had the courage. I can’t imagine I’m alone in this regard – that’s why you’ve got over 28,000 subscribers in less than a year! You’ve done a lot of good in this little industry mate, and helped a lot of people on the road. You deserve to be doing well, and I’m sure that will bear out over the course of 2012! If this is the new slush-pile, then you’re a cork – and Amazon is sure to bring out an Historical Fiction imprint soon… :0)
    Good luck for the next year mate!
    Tony

    • Not *quite* 28,000 subscribers! WordPress made some change a few months ago and started totalling blog subscribers, Twitter followers, Facebook Fan Page numbers etc. to make that number look much more than it is.

      I have nearly 20,000 Twitter followers which is boosting that number more than a touch…

      Actual blog subscribers is *scurries to check* … 2,585.

  44. Sam Torode says:

    Amazing what you’ve accomplished in a year, especially when you include creating one of the very best blogs on self-publishing. Congrats!!

  45. I’m just dropping in to say that, as an aspiring writer myself, I found this inspirational. I’m also looking forward to exploring wattpad, and discovering your, and other, stories!

  46. I was the author who followed the advice of others. Thank goodness I finally broke free, and am slowly, but steadily, catching up and seeing many happy returns. And thank goodness for writers like yourself who inspire and cheer on the rest of us. Best wishes and congratulations to a year above and beyond!

  47. This post was great, very informative and eye opening ( I am still in dummy stage). A lot of things to think about, lots of possibilities and no longer have to feel like such a loser over getting a few rejections, because there is always this path, just needs some commitment. Congrats on your success and hope your future books do even better.

  48. Happy Anniversary and congratulations on your success, David! :)

  49. Pingback: A re-think | Eternal Atlantis

  50. I agree entirely. I’m coming around to my first anniversary too and I feel the same way. There is so much I don’t enjoy about the query process and the rejections (or even absence of a response) were totally demoralising. Compare that to receiving emails from people telling me they love the book. My best one was being in the supermarket and receiving a text from someone who had to tell me then and there how much he was enjoying it – that trumps writing to agents any day!

    Most of all it’s inspired me to keep going – to write more, publish more. I had agents telling me they didn’t want the book and now I have readers telling me they do. That suggests I’m on the right track.

    Thanks for your inspiration for the morning as I sit down to edit the next book!

  51. Congratulations on a fantastic first year! And thank you for sharing the details and the side by side comparison with what would probably have happened if you had continued going doing the traditional route. The trad route is looking more and more pointless!

  52. Congratulations David and thanks for a tonne of inspiration as well as great information about how to do all of this. Someone mentioned China above, and I’m off to check out that link. But a though occurs to me: what about India? That’s a big market too, with a lot of English speakers and learners. Anyone know anything about tapping into the Indian market?

  53. Congrats. David on your success. All along I’ve had the feeling that self-publishing was the route I wanted to take and you’ve given me more confidence to pursue this path. In your alternative case scenario no one would have yet had the chance to read your book. For me personally the fact that people are reading it and enjoying it would be far more important and rewarding than the money (though obviously the money would be extremely nice too!).
    Best wishes and thanks for sharing your story with us.

  54. Red Tash says:

    I completely, completely agree with you, Dave. All other factors aside, just the experience of having people read the book and LOVE it is something that would not have happened if I had not epublished. I know it is more the fashion to ascribe the possession of human emotions with the state of being immature, or childish, but the truth is, having an undue amount of negative feedback really does wear a person down. One would have to be inhuman to not be affected by that.

    The same people who have no qualms telling a friend to find a new job and not stay working for an abusive boss in a toxic office will tell you to have a thick skin and keep going on the query go-round, even if its highly toxic feedback loop makes it impossible for you to continue writing.

    There is no doubt about it–I am much more motivated to write now that I have three titles in my genre’s Top 100 list (THREE!) than I was a year ago when I was still licking wounds from years of being shot down by anonymous strangers. To that end, I have seven works-in-progress right now. SEVEN! And two of them are collaborations with like-minded authors who I know will do as much lifting as I will when promotion time comes. I feel fantastic about what that means for my future as a fiction writer.

    If you’d told me a year ago that I’d have this much going on, I’d have said you were high. Now, I wake up every day happy, and look forward to the future! And all because of what I did. Your book was a big part of that, and I thank you, sir.

    Good on you, and good on us!

  55. Pingback: A Week In Links | Laney McMann YA Writer

  56. I think your year is outstanding and I appreciate you writing about it. Do this math – I have a couple of books traditionally published in print. They sell well. Cover is $19.95 I get 10% of retail. Figure out how many books I have to sell to make $5K. You chose wisely, Grasshopper.
    MKPelland@gmail
    http://www.ontext.com/ontext-writers-blog

  57. Congratulations on achieving what you have achieved. Very good assessment, too. I have sold a little more than you in one year, but my ‘success’ was very promptly ended by entering my ‘well-selling’ book into the KPD select programme. Never mind.
    Your decision was the right one, but you never know until you try it. To be honest, I love those stories, but I writers/authors must look at it with a certain clarity, that it by no means, happens to everyone. There are still plenty of self-published authors whose books don’t sell at all.
    As for querying: I always said that I wanted to give my books a fair chance and query for a few weeks/months. Somehow, I’m over it now. Rather do it myself. Instand success, like you said. I gathered about 40 rejections for my novels and it looks like, rightly so, they don’t sell. Not one bit. I think I sold about 100, but that’s not cutting the mustard.
    Like you, I use the time to write and will hopefully release two or three books this year. Maybe I get lucky again, selling above average and with a steady increase.

    Wish you all the best and may your sales pay for anything you wish for.

  58. Pingback: A Novel’s Journey: A Reason to Live « matthew iden

  59. kareninglis says:

    Can I add my congratulations, David. Like you I self-published my first book last year (8 months ago in my case) – and my second one came out a month ago. Both are children’s books that had sat in a ‘virtual drawer’ for almost 10 years but were always very close to my heart. I had had a couple of near misses with them – one of them with Bloomsbury. But when it all came to nothing I went back to the day job (of copywriting!).

    It all changed for me when I took a sabbatical last year and, with the publishing industry having drastically changed, I decided to grab the opportunity to get my books to market myself….

    And I so agree with you comment that, until that moment “readers were a kind of mythical creature”!

    ‘The Secret Lake’ has done really well in print and Kindle by children’s books standards. I’ve sold around 900 since September. It’s also had some great reviews – including 5 Stars from the ex Head Reader for Puffin UK!. And Eeek! The Runaway Alien – which I self-published at the start of March – is currently top of ‘Reader’s Choice Top 10 Books’ on a respected UK children’s website called called LoveReading4Kids where they have placed it in 7+, 9+, Books for Boys and Books For Reluctant Readers… :) This was the book that Bloomsbury liked a lot – but said was ‘the wrong length’!

    To add another snipped of empowerment – on Wednesday evening I received an email out of the blue (at 10pm) from a mum who lives up in the North of England. It is her son’s 9th birthday this coming Sunday and she had been Googling looking for books for boys and found Eeek! (And my email via my blog I guess…) But she had a problem – she could see that LoveReading would never get the book to her on time and they (and Amazon) were showing delivery times of a few days… To cut a long story short, I contacted Lightening Source yesterday (Thursday morning) who pulled out all the stops and ran a rush job for me (the extra cost to do so was £3.80!) – and – here’s the bit I can’t get over – the books were delivered to her house up in Sunderland 100s of miles away – at noon today!

    For any/all here you can read the detail of my marketing and sales stats on my blog http://www.kareninglis.com/marketing

    Best of luck to all! :) Oh – and if any of you haven’t yet done so, do check out the Alliance of Independent Authors which launched at the London Book Fair and is a global not for profit organisation for self-published authors http://allianceindependentauthors.org/

  60. John Logan says:

    Hi David,
    As you know, your blog on your experiences was one of the strong influences that led me to decide to self-publish my novel 4 months ago (after the book being tied up fruitlessly in a contract with literary agents for over a year).
    The result was that I was invited to be on the author panel at London Book Fair last Wedmesday, for the launch of the Alliance of Independent Authors, speaking on the subject of How I Went Indie and Why. I was able to tell the audience that I’d made £1000 in the previous 7 days from downloads on Amazon of my one novel.
    There was a representative from Amazon in the audience and I shook his hand afterwards and thanked him.
    Thank-you too David!
    John

  61. Deb Kinnard says:

    I haven’t gone this route yet, but I’m strongly considering it. Having had a great relationship with a small e-press with whom I see eye to eye, I’ve hesitated. But for three years I had an agent who either didn’t sell for me or refused even to look at several projects because she didn’t like the theme or setting or some other facet. She also refused to work with the small press, so every deal I made in those years, I made on my own.

    However, every time a book released, I got a nice bump in sales on the others. I rejoice with you on your success, and as I jump into this new river I’m glad to have a body of work whose sales can cross pollinate and keep this whole ship moving forward.

  62. Hi David,
    I just wanted to add my voice to the choir and congratulate you. Thank you as well for your many insightful posts.

  63. Hi David, congratulations on a year well-spent! I can’t believe it’s a year… I remember we started doing this around the same time and there’s something very wonderful about reading a year later that you don’t regret your decision, and that it’s helped you creatively. I have to agree with you there. Publishing might be a dollars and cents business like any other, but there is something creatively liberating about learning the publishing ropes oneself and putting out a product you can be proud of, knowing it’s success or failure is all in your hands – and that you’re NOT restricted from writing anything else and putting it out there. I remember I was pleasantly surprised when my poetry (which we all know isn’t exactly a lucrative niche) and short stories began to find an audience. I haven’t done spectacularly well yet, but the creative output I’ve experienced since starting this endeavour has been unexpected (read: huge). I’ve just released a first full-length fantasy novel (part of a series) and can only expect good things because, whatever happens, I know I’m in this for the long haul. This kind of indie publishing has made me inspired to craft more and more stories, and that can only be a good thing:) Congrats again on your success…. and back to lurking for me:)

  64. Susan says:

    David, great post. I just made the same decision this week. I have one traditional book published, and in the last year, three e-books and a novelette. I have a pararnormal/fantasy making the rounds, now with an agent and editor. I’m going to self-pub it. That’s were my writing has come to live. Thank you for confirming what I’ve slowly come to know :) And good luck to you!

  65. sandnige says:

    You are doing brilliant so proud of you you encourage me.

  66. Thanks for your story David. I am now following your blog and really LIKED this entry. I have been considering taking this path myself but am just waiting to get a final answer from an agent back in NY who has my full MS. Once I get an answer, then I’ll make my move one way or the other. Best of luck and keep it up.

  67. Nanci says:

    Thanks for telling your story. I am one of the many other people considering self-publishing right now, and it’s looking more and more like the right choice for me. Good luck in your future work!

  68. C.j. Archer says:

    Congratulations on your 1-year anniversary, Dave. I loved reading your post as it mirrored my own experience a little, particularly the doubts and the pile of rejections. Oh the rejections! I do want to add that you forgot one thing – the respect you’ve gained within the self-publishing community for your insights and fact-based posts. It’s not a monetary benefit but it’s certainly something you should be proud of. Here’s to an even better 2nd year and beyond!

  69. patricefitzgerald says:

    I’m late to the party, David, but I wanted to add my congratulations to the heap you’ve already received. You not only write a good book (fiction and non-) but you give so generously back to the community — I don’t know an indie writer who is more respected than you. Thanks again for that. Fortune will continue to smile on you because you prepare, work hard, and give back. I look forward to hearing how much you make in your second year!

    I’m looking at about $9K in profit since first publishing last July, and that was, practically speaking, all from one novel. It’s up and down — April was slow until I did a free stint yesterday and today — I’m happily celebrating 7,000 downloads for my political thriller RUNNING since yesterday… which means a total of 49,000 downloads. I’m fairly certain I’ll be able to say I hit 50,000 by tomorrow.

    The freedom and creative inspiration is amazing. I want to write again! I tried to sell various iterations of this book from about 1998 – 2011… but years went by when I just didn’t send anything out, because I was so emotionally bludgeoned by the rejection. It’s like hitting your head against the wall… finally, you just want the pain to be over.

    Now, all I have to do to get a book out is write it! (Well, and a few other things.) If only I would stop wandering around entertaining blogs like yours, reading rather than writing…

    Congrats and continued good luck, Dave. You deserve it.

  70. Cora says:

    Congrats on your one year self-publishing anniversary, David. Here’s to hopefully many more to come.
    Hard to imagine that you only started a few months before me (mine is in July), since your blog was an immensely helpful resource for me when I was starting out.

  71. Hi David,
    one year ago you took a brave decision. I’m sure you’re a much happier person now than you were, or than you would be had you tried to deal with the gatekeepers and accountants. It really looks and sounds like you’re trying what you wanted to do all along, and I’m happy for you. Go on listening to your heart!

    Very best wishes,
    Jens

    PS: “Let’s get digital” is by far the best book I’ve read on the subject of self-publishing.

  72. Maia Sepp says:

    Many congrats on your success, David!

  73. Congratulations, and thank you for being one of the trailblazers of this liberating trend. The one result of your decision to set yourself free from the old model that stands out for me is that “anything is possible.” In about four weeks, I will join the ranks of Indie Authors – I’ve not been this excited about my writing career for a long time. Thanks again for all the information and advice you’ve made available on your website.

  74. I enjoyed your article and agree. Only being several months since my self-published book was published, it’s easy to get down about small initial sales (I’m the author of I’m Fat, Help Me). But, your commentary on looking at who you are now having gone through the process was helpful to me. I’ve learned so much: the publishing process, editing process, taught myself WordPress to create the website (imfathelpme.com), and how to publicize the book. I’ve grown and I thank you for pointing that out.

  75. Pingback: Was Self-Publishing The Right Decision? | David Gaughran | Publish Your Dream

  76. Reblogged this on Writing Investigated and commented:
    Is self-publishing a viable option? Positive news from self-publishing is encouraging and empowering to authors. David’s posts are always clear-headed and factual, so take a look at what his experiences have been in the past year since he began self-publishing his stories and a novel.

  77. You information is exactly what I needed, I am working on self-publishing and creating information products. Keep up the hard work David.

  78. Pingback: Writer Wednesday « creative barbwire (or the many lives of a creator)

  79. Melanie says:

    Your story is inspirational. I don’t have a finished MS, but have been considering self-publishing a great deal. Thank you for sharing your story and I am truly happy you are succeeding!

  80. Pingback: Choosing to Self-Publish « Brit Darby

  81. nanbush says:

    Congratulations for your first year! Now a question:

    A new ebook author, I priced my nonfiction book (substantial in its field) at $9.99, which is where Kindle and Kobo have it. Now it has finally gone up on Nook…at $8.39! Who picked that price, and won’t that get me in dutch with Amazon? Is there a way to get it back to $9.99?

    How do you communicate with B&N? The website is not helpful.

    It is heartening to see that your rankings have varied all over the lot, too. In its first three weeks, my book has bounced from the 23,000 level down to 94,000 and back up to the 50,000’s. Like bronc busting! Your posts have been enormously helpful in their information. Many thanks.

  82. Brit Darby says:

    Congratulations on the one-year anniversary David. Your best-case scenario inspired me to take it a little further with a blog post of my own, revealing a little more of the world of traditional publishing. I wish you many years of doing what you love.

    Fela Dawson Scott
    a.k.a. Brit Darby

  83. Pingback: Why I decided to self-publish | Stan R. Mitchell

  84. Congratulations on your success. I enjoyed reading this article because, like you, I really don’t have much doubt about self-publishing my novel called “Beneath the Mimosa Tree,” a general fiction novel that I wrote and edited and fiddled with until it was just the way I wanted it. I was fearful that someone would come along and tell me to rewrite aspects of the book, and I was determined not to alter what it had become. Additionally, I have a background in publications, and I decided that I knew enough to proceed. It’s been out for a little over a month and it’s seeing mild success so far. The toughest part is getting people to know about it and consider it. Anyway, you are an inspiration and I look forward to reading more and following along on your journey.

    Stephanie Verni
    stephsscribe.com

  85. Pingback: Blogs for self-publishers April 29 – May 5, 2012 — The Book Designer

  86. Thanks so much for this. I finally got out of the query grind and self published on Amazon on May 1, 2012. This is great confirmation that I made the right choice.

  87. Mica says:

    Hi David, first off congratulations.
    Glad to see your book in the featured section on wattpad. do you think a writer would benefit from posting their first book in a series on wattpad & amazon then publishing the rest of the series on amazon at a low price? Would you get any sales from the wattpad readers?
    Or would it be best to post a standalone on wattpad?

  88. I love that there are more and more of us Irish getting out there and making things happen (what is living in Sweden like compared to here, by the by?) There’s you and Catherine Ryan Howard who have both self-published and been successful. I’d say the satisfaction from being an author and following your dream is amazing. No more waiting for someone else to make it happen for you. So my sincere congratulations on your one year anniversary! And the idea of translating your book into other languages wasn’t even something I’d ever considered; let us know how that goes please! R.

  89. Pingback: Was Self-Publishing The Right Decision? | Digital Publishing With The Every Day Book Marketer | Scoop.it

  90. I’m proud to tweet LET’S GET DIGITAL, David. It’s a fantastic book. Read it straight through when it first came out and now read parts of it from time to time. Thanks for all you’ve given the author community.

  91. Pingback: Review: Let’s Get Digital | Clare Davidson

  92. Pingback: Was Self-Publishing The Right Decision? « Thomas Rydder

  93. Definitely self publishing was right for you and it gives me a bit of a push to try it myself someday. I have written a kids story or 2 but never had the guts to try get them published, also with all my crazy adventures around the world (http://trailingtrekker.wordpress.com/) many say I should put them into a book someday. Perhaps I will get the courage to sit down and do something about it, hearing your story makes me think about it more seriously.

  94. Chris D says:

    I totally needed to read this post right now, at this very moment. Thanks for sharing your experiences. It gives me hope as I have decided to self-publish a novel this summer.

  95. Pingback: Making an Income by Self-Publishing | Royalty Rates and Other Factors

  96. Owen Banner says:

    Great post, David. I appreciate the figures you cited to give us an insight into the actual dynamics of self-publishing and what an indie-publisher can expect when they put their book out there.

  97. Well David, you really did made the right decision. Going to self publishing will take a lot of time and effort from you but it all pays off, much faster, than going through traditional publishing. Congratulations on your success and thank you for sharing your story. It keeps more authors inspired to turn to the DIY way.

  98. Pingback: TTT Freebie- Top Ten Favorite Book Reviews | mystmusician

  99. Pingback: Was Self-Publishing The Right Decision? | The Passive Voice

  100. Right decision mate ! from a fellow Irishman.I am currently writing a debut model and am self publishing myopic.I’ve a friend who is a published author with a big publishing house.Whenever I discuss what the bottom line is ….it always seems vague.

  101. Paul Molokwu says:

    I have written several manucripts and short stories, but is afraid to go into self publishing. Your story had encouraged me to do so.
    Paul Molokwu, Lagos Nigeria

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