Defining initial success in self-publishing.

I recently made the decision not to go with self-publishing for the moment, and like always, I’m doubting that decision. Part of it, I think, is the expectations I’m placing on myself. I’m looking at authors who are finding success in self-publishing, and I think of all the work I’ll have to do to get to that point.

But perhaps I’m not using the right measuring stick. I’m not saying I should abandon my big goals, but perhaps if I make my goal simply to earn back the money I’m putting in, then it may be a lot more conducive to me taking the plunge.

Self-publishing is very rarely a ticket to great money, but it is a chance to make some income while giving readers the chance to read your books. That’s what I should focus on now. I’m tired of my stories languishing on the computer. They deserve readers.

But then I wonder if I should give trade publishing another chance. At the end of the day, though, I’m a bit of a control freak by nature. The idea of having complete control over the product I put out there is appealing. Even the marketing, although it may be a bit outside my comfort zone, is a chance to experiment.

After all, self-publishing is still very much an experiment for every author. There’s no magic bullet that works for everyone. For some, it’s writing a lot of books very quickly. For others, it’s becoming very involved with fans on social media. Then there are those who just put the book out there and readers somehow find it.

The point of all this is that there are many different routes to success and many different standards for success. I may do terribly at self-publishing, but that’s still better than never trying at all.

Even if I only make back a fraction of what I put into my first few books, that’s okay. Self-publishing is a long-haul. Some writers find success immediately, but it’s more common to build up momentum as you build up your backlist. Since your self-published book never goes out of print, the backlist can be a very powerful tool for success.

So I guess I’ve changed my mind. We’ll see how long that lasts…

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