The Empowerment of Self-Publishing

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This week I was reminded of why I love self-publishing and why I do not miss the elusive chase that was pursuing traditional publishing.

I recently self- published a middle-grade novel. It’s harder to promote a self-published middle-grade book online than a genre book for adults. One hurdle I’m facing now is that it’s difficult to get book bloggers to review a middle-grade novel on their websites.

My first book was LGBT fiction, and it wasn’t too hard to get book bloggers to review it. I suspect that for my next two books, chick lit and paranormal romance respectively, it might be even easier. There are lots of open-minded, book-loving bloggers who readily review quality, self-published works.

Not so much for middle-grade books. I wasn’t sure if there were too many middle-grade bloggers out there, but I did find a whole list of them online. When I started looking over the review policies on the websites, I found that the vast majority of them specifically refuse to consider self-published works.

The more I read through these sites, the worse I felt. Each one felt like a rejection, and it reminded me so much of the hopelessness of the traditional publishing query process. I remember reviewing site after site of literary agents whose submission policies said things like:

  • We will ONLY considered previously published writers

  • Submissions accepted by referral ONLY.

  • Please contact us ONLY if you have met us personally at a writer’s conference.

These agents and MG bloggers seemed to say: If we don’t already know you, we’re not about to give you a chance to prove yourself. One of the bloggers even stated “I am not interested in any books you had to publish yourself.”

Ouch.

It didn’t feel good to read all those depressing NOs. The whole experience left me with that icky, helpless, degraded feeling I used to get when contacting agents. I know most of agents are probably nice in person, but the websites always seemed to say GO AWAY. YOU SMELL LIKE DESPERATION AND FAILURE.

Look, I get that many pros in the business have been burned by self-published authors who waste their valuable time by submitting sub-par, poorly written, and/or badly formatted manuscripts, but I am not one of those authors. It’s unfair to lump us all into one category.

I almost didn’t finish the blogger’s list, but I forced myself to. So far, I did get one “yes” to a review and another lovely pro-indie blogger said I could do a guest post.

Anyway, I was glad to get that done and get back to my regularly scheduled indie writer life. As a self-published author, I get to call the shots. I can try all sorts of marketing strategies – social media, paid ads, emails, etc. Some will work, some won’t, but they’ll all up to me to try.

I don’t have to wait for a Yes.

I’m the writer and I approve this message. Thankfully, that’s all I need!

– Linda Fausnet

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