There’s been a little flair up over the past few days about an article regarding Amanda Hocking and her incredible success with self-publishing her books. I imagine the talk will continue, and we’ll keep having surprising stories about writers finding success. Amanda did a wonderful followup to that article on her blog, letting us all know that no, she did not find a magic solution to self-publishing success. She’s a bit baffled by it all actually. She basically busted butt and hit the right combo of elements to coincide with success. What hit me most about her blog post however, was the fact that she is now finding it difficult to make time to write. She is spending huge amounts of time on all of the aspects of publishing besides writing. This, to me, is the conundrum of self-publishing.
When you self-publish, everything is on your shoulders. Editing, covers, formatting, marketing, and so on, is all on you. Huge responsibility. Huge investment in time. Skimp on these and you skimp on your chances of success. You are pretty much going into business for yourself. If you don’t have the time and money to do it right, you won’t be selling many books. This is time away from writing. It’s time away from everything. If you already have a job or have children or other obligations, making the time to do it right is next to impossible. Personally, I’m not willing or able to take on what is essentially a second full time job to do it. I need the daytime job. I need insurance. I have children to take care of and be with. I’m also going to school. While some writers may enjoy the lack of many of these obligations, I suspect the majority don’t.
This is why I am avoiding self-publishing and will be for the forseeable future. If I’m going to do it, I want to be able to pursue it properly. This is also why I am content and quite satisfied with the trade-offs in going with a traditional publishing house. They take care of many things I just can’t afford to do and do it better than I. Most importatly though, it allows me to focus on what is most important. Writing.