Self Publishing Is Not For Dreamers

Self-Publishing in not for money making dreamers

Take a quick glance at a list of Twitter profiles, and within a few minutes, you can find the self-published writers who thought the streets were paved with gold. Simply write a book and send out a few Tweets and I’ll be a bestseller and millionaire.

Oh dear, did they just dream for a few days? It’s also clear to see how they started with such enthusiasm and then when it became obvious that it wasn’t going to be a cake walk, they just packed their little Twitter bags and gave up. The dead writer accounts.

With the advent of self-publishing, we have seen a literary gold rush of sorts. All chasing Kindle fame and fortune. Unfortunately, for these gold digging prospectors, life in the literary lane has not changed all that much. There is still only a little room at the top, a slightly bigger space in the mid-list, and then comes the slush pile that was always there, but is now a lot more populated.

This rush to get on the ‘bandwagon’ has blinded many to what a book is all about. A book is for the long term. If it doesn’t sell like hotcakes this week that doesn’t mean it won’t sell well next year. And even if it doesn’t sell next year, well, that’s writing. Go write a better one.

When I started publishing, I had one clear goal in mind. To be read by my grandchildren. When I find myself thinking about my book sales, good or bad, I remind myself of this. I wrote to be read. Dollars and cents, while nice to have in your pocket, are nowhere near as rich as knowing that one day when you are long gone, someone will pick up your book and your words will still be alive.

Now, this is not to say that I don’t work hard at promoting my books and making sure they are well presented and advertised. It would be a lie to say that I wouldn’t like one or two of them to sell like crazy and afford me a palace on my own island. But the reality is that I have to work hard to sell books each and every day. Fortunately, the stories are ageless, so lucky me. I can keep working and promoting my books until the day I die.

Writing a book is not about today and selling a million tomorrow. It has never been. So self-publishing has not changed much at all. The real writers and authors know they are in for the long haul. The ‘fly by nighters’ will do exactly that. Fly away as soon as they discover that writing and then selling a book is indeed, a lot of very hard work.

Self Publishing – Not For The Dreamers

29 thoughts on “Self Publishing – Not For The Dreamers

  • 19/09/2011 at 1:53 am

    I will never make money from my writing love to write what i know and what i believe in . Interesting to see what others write and their writing styles, how they are so different and express themselves . What ive never had i will never miss have never had money to spend wildly and i am happy with my fill in life . I have been a mother since the age of 17 and am proud to say ive seen my son to college thats what makes me smile and no money can make this happen and now have 2 beautiful daughters too who i will get to college aswell .Surely writing is about the person and who they are its like an expression of themselves .

  • 19/09/2011 at 5:12 am

    Excellent points! If you’re going to go to the trouble of writing a book, you might as well sign on for the long haul. :)

  • 19/09/2011 at 6:04 am

    Thanks for the wonderful post, Derek. Definitely right on the mark. My grandmother died at age 45, when I was 8 years old, and what I have left of her is her poetry. Unpublished even, but her words, and real. My mom died at age 50… not a writer, but 2 1/2 years later, I still dig through her desk looking for notebooks filled with her accounting homework.
    I’m 34, and I have a daughter. SHE is why I’ve decided to do something with the gift of writing I’ve always loved. Would I love for my writing to also support the two of us? Of course, but the big thing is this tangible piece she’ll always have to hold.

  • 19/09/2011 at 7:16 am


    Just want to add my tuppence worth to the comments above and say thanks again for hitting the nail squarely on the head.

    All the best and keep up the good work,


  • 19/09/2011 at 5:31 pm

    Derek, an interesting and timely post. I turned down a publisher this weekend (my blog post explains why). Now I start the road of self publication.

    It has never been about the money, like you I just want to be read by my grandchildren (first one due tomorrow!). A few cents in the pot would be nice but I am not looking for gold paving. :)

    • 19/09/2011 at 5:47 pm

      I read your post Glynis and can empathise. I’ve retweeted your post as it really is a worthy read for any writer.

  • 24/10/2011 at 1:02 pm

    Please keep ’em coming, Derek! I love your words of wisdom. I’m new to self-publishing, having been pubbed by traditionial pubs and ebook publishers in the past. Sincerely, I’m with you–my books are up there for the long haul, too. If this one doesn’t sell, then the next one will do better. If it was about fame and fortune, most of us would have been long gone by now. Anyway, your words are an encouragement and they inspire me to move forward. Thank you & happy writing!

  • 24/10/2011 at 2:13 pm

    No problems Connie, I can rant and rave until the cows come home :)

    And welcome to self publishing. It’s tough, there’s not way to pretty it up, but the one absolute blessing of it is that you can let your imagination run and write what you want to write. Not what you’re told to write or locked into a one genre.

    So I wish you good luck and happy writing.

  • 24/10/2011 at 6:44 pm

    As someone finally plunging full-force into my writing after years of scribbling here and there, I’m not sure what to think now that I’ve learned how much e-books and self-publishing have changed things. There’s no doubt there is new opportunity out there, but I can see how easy it can be to get lost among all the trash flooding the market. Still — and maybe I’m being naive — I have to believe if you write a great novel and you can get people to read it, word will spread.

  • 24/10/2011 at 7:18 pm

    Great article. Thank you for the reminder.

    I get so wrapped up in the numbers sometimes. I’ve been able to sell a few short stories but I am absolutely terrible at marketing.

    I wrote my first book for my children and I continue to write both because I love to write and because I love the feedback from happy readers. After all, that’s really what writing all about.

  • 04/02/2012 at 3:54 pm

    Thanks again. Sober advice. Vindicating for someone likde myself whose in it for the life-long love affair with words and story-telling, but is not adverse to heartily wallowing in well-deserved fame, fortune and payola, should the opportunity arise. Right on!

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