Thursday, November 29, 2012

At the Crossroads

Anyone who has been published by a traditional publishing house may feel ambivalent about leaving that world and moving into the self-publishing world. We think we're giving up a lot of commercial support, along with the prestige of having a publisher invest their money in our work. But the world of the writer is pretty confused right now, and it's hard to see the future.

I've had six novels and one nonfiction book published by traditional publishers as well as numerous articles and short stories, but I've also written some books that no one is interested in despite agents' best efforts. So what do I do with them? In past decades the writer would have put them back on the shelf (and it was indeed a shelf, long before computers) and moved on to the next writing project. But today we can do something about all those manuscripts languishing unread. We can send them out into the world on our own. We can be our own publishers. We don't have to get permission or approval from anyone else. This may not be a good thing (every writer has been spared embarrassment by a careful editor) but it is now the reality.

On Saturday afternoon, December 1, I'm going to facilitate an afternoon discussion about self-publishing with six writers, some of whom have been wildly successful. Many writers are happy with the attention of a small publisher who promises to sell two thousand copies. How would you feel about a writer who sells that many books in a month on her own? I'm going to find out on Saturday.

This is also an unplanned opportunity for me to announce that I too have taken the plunge. On this past weekend I posted my sixth Joe Silva as an eBook, a book that I never expected to do anything with when I began writing a mystery series set in India. I've published two books featuring Anita Ray, but I haven't forgotten Joe.

The sixth Joe Silva was hard to put aside because I finally take Joe (and Gwen) to visit his family. During a family reunion his ailing and aged father has put together, Joe comes face to face with an unrecognized crime from his younger days, and a new crime triggered by that confrontation.

I've learned how to post the mss, how to get a good cover (buy it from a good designer), and now I'm going to learn how to promote and sell the book.

And yes, I'm planning on taking notes and will share them.


  1. Hi, Susan,

    First, I think the cover art is perfect for a mystery novel. I haven't taken the plunge into self-publishing yet. So I want to follow yours. E-book versions of The Inferno Collection and The Drowning Pool, the first two novels in my Kim Reynolds mystery series for Five Star/Gale were published by L&L Dreamspell. I was pleased with their professionalism and integrity. Please feel free to promote the new book on Author Expressions.

    1. Hi, Jacquie,

      The cover is by a good friend Kathleen Valentine who has been very successful with her eBooks. It's an interesting experience to be working with Five Star on one series and working on my own with the other. I'll keep you updated. Next week I'm on Author Expressions, and I hope I'll have something to report.

      Thanks for commenting.

    2. Thank you, Susan. I loved working on your book. As you know, I've had a really good year for ebook sales with over 30,000 books sold. And I am always happy to host other authors on my blog and to do guest blogs!

  2. Oh, goody! Another Joe Silva. I will order forthwith. Thanks for sharing the news, Susan.

  3. Thanks, Edith. It took me a long time to get here, so I'm still learning.

  4. Susan and Jaqueline,
    I'd be happy to do a guest post on Author Expressions if you have a slot free sometime!

  5. I'm looking forward to being there tomorrow, Susan. Thanks for doing this. So far in 2012 I've sold over 30,000 ebooks that I published myself. It is a brave new world!