Self-Publishing - Freedom or Failure?

Self-publishing has only become a viable option for writers in the past decade or so. Prior to today's era of convenience, authors who chose the self-publishing route were seen as vain, or desperate, or somehow not as good as authors who were chosen by traditional publishing houses.

In many circles, that idea of "not good enough" persists when the subject of self-publishing comes up. But is the reading community right to be so quick to judge self-published titles and authors? Or are they discounting wave upon wave of perfectly good, often quite cheap literature simply because the title doesn't have the backing of a publishing house?

As I intend to be self-published, I am clearly biased. But, for the record, I never queried the Fool's Fief series to any agents or publishing houses, and I never will. I knew from the beginning that what I wanted - an epic novel series with illustrations and bundled content - was not going to be possible for a new author. What publishing house would want to fork out extra for painted interiors on a debut author? What if nobody liked the book, or it simply flopped despite being well-liked? Stranger things have happened in the publishing world.

But I know that for many self-published authors that is not the case. They attempt the traditional route, then self-publish when no offers are forthcoming. They are wary of having to do all their own marketing, cover design, formatting for print and digital, without the safety net of a publisher to organise the bulk of the non-writing work.

And it is daunting.

I hate marketing. I don't feel like I'm much good at it, but it's a small price to pay for the creative freedom I have over my novels. 

After several months of research and contemplation, I've come to some conclusions;

1. There is a large amount of sub-par writing out there, the bulk of it in self-publishing, but by no means are the larger publishers immune to it.

2. Any decent writing which is self-published is at a serious disadvantage when it comes to funding and marketing opportunities.

3. Reviewers are happy to review the same book by traditionally published authors no matter how many reviews it already has, but wary of looking at self-published titles.

And so, fellow self-publishing authors, if we desire exposure, we must create it ourselves, fighting against the commonly held belief that our writing is shit, on a budget most people would consider paltry for a month of coffees, let alone for producing and marketing a book. 

In light of these conclusions, I've decided to put my efforts towards getting exposure for indie and selfpub writers that won't cost a fortune. Everything from giveaways to reviews to excerpt-readings to classes, all written by and aimed at independent and self-published authors. 

I invite you to send me your unpublished, self-published or independently published fantasy short stories, novels, novellas, flash fiction... anything you've got, lay it on me at esfurlan.author@gmail.com

Why? Because I've opened a review channel exclusively for the unsung and unsigned of fantasy. You can check it out on Youtube - its called The Indie Dragon - and let's see where it takes us, yes?

E. S. Furlán