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To Publish or to Self-Publish?

The Numbers Game by Allison JandaThe following is a guest post by Allison Janda, author of The Numbers Game, a Jack Crawford Mystery.

How did you make the decision to self-publish? This is a question that I’m asked a lot. Seeing as how I’ve self-published seven books now, I sure as heck feel as if I know a few things about the topic. I thought I’d share them with you, here.

Here’s the bottom line. I have submitted at least two of my books multiple times to multiple agents at multiple agencies. All of my submissions were done (pardon my pun) by the book. In other words, I only submitted to one agent at an agency at a time. I didn’t contact every single agency in the history of literary agencies. All of my communication was researched and clean. When I got a rejection (form or personal) I only ever responded with a “thank you for your time.” Don’t even get me started on the funds I spent to get covers designed, chapters professionally edited, and on and on.

The publishing industry is ever changing. If you don’t have the exact book at the exact moment the single person out of hundreds is craving it…the stars don’t align. Ouch. It’s disheartening, to say the very least. At least, from this side of things. I’m sure a lot of agents feel pretty sad about it too, though.

Now, a lot of writers might come up against this brick wall, again and again, until they finally quit. I don’t blame them. When you put time and work and money (plus blood, sweat, and tears) into your work it’s hard to not take rejection personally. So you stop taking it.

I approached things a little differently. You see, I’m proud of the work that I put into my product. I’m also a modern-day woman who doesn’t wait around for Prince Charming to ride up on his white horse with an offer for representation. Thanks, Charming! I’ve got this. Instead, I hired some people who knew more than I did about design and formatting. I read blogs on the topic of indie publishing and sales. And then…I took a risk. From there, real books were born!

Allison JandaThe great thing about being a writer in today’s world is that you don’t need a big name agency or publishing house behind you in order to be an author. You can do it yourself. I think it all depends on what your goals are. If you’re in it to win it with a multi-million dollar publishing deal, I salute you. For me, it’s more about sharing my talent. Now, I’m not saying that I don’t submit books to agencies. I’m not saying I wouldn’t welcome representation. However, I am totally and completely willing to take the road less traveled when it comes to putting my books into the world. After all, they still get out there, don’t they? The fact that there are people willing to pay money, any money, for my writing is humbling.

If I could offer any advice to people who are considering the route of self-publishing, it would be this: who cares? Writing is a craft. It isn’t brain surgery or rocket science, it is simply art. We shouldn’t judge people who are “indie” authors versus “traditionally published” authors. Instead, we should appreciate that there are multiple channels through which artists can be recognized.

Read my review of Sex, Murder & Killer Cupcakes, another book by Allison Janda.

More about the author and her work: Allison Janda’s Website.