Self Publishing: Success and Stigma

Okay. I know I’m trying to tackle two pretty big birds with a pebble from a fishbowl in a doll’s house. But I’m gonna do it anyway.

I’m keen to know your definition(s) of success in publishing. I’m also keen to hear about the opinions of self-publishing in your circles.

Success

Last week I published my first book (link takes you to Amazon buy page) on digital platforms, and have made a grand total of US$6.99. This is AWESOME. I’m taking it to mean I am officially an author, and is one indicator of success for me.

The next is having my first reviews all come in at five stars. Sure, they’re from people I know, but they’re also people I trust to give an honest review.

Most importantly, the message of the book is clear. People finish the book feeling good. A reader leant it to her friend who was feeling down, who read it and said she thought nothing could have cheered her up – but this book did. If that’s not success then I don’t know what is.

While my long-term success expectations / goals are obviously a bit higher, these are my baby steps of success. I am proud of my work.

The Stigma

There’s two parts to the stigma. One is the stigma of self-publishing, and the other is of digital books – which clearly aren’t real books.

Now, I readily admit that I far prefer a physical book, especially for fiction. I’ve trained myself to be able to read on my phone or tablet, but for now I can only handle non-fiction in this way. I think it’s because the non-fiction I read is mostly about writing & publishing, so it feels like I’m doing work (which my phone is mostly for. Work and procrastination).

For fictional stories, I like having food or a cup of tea, sitting on my armchair or snuggled in bed, without the screen glaring back at me. It’s also hard to read in the sunshine, and I don’t know if I’d trust myself with my tablet at the beach. I’m working on it, though, cause it will help my bank account out a LOT.

In my circle of friends, there are a lot who agree with me. There are a lot of people who won’t touch an eBook, and it’s the real deal or nothing.

Having said that, it’s been amazing to see that the fact I’m publishing independently is NOT a stigma any more. People are impressed, if anything, that I’ve managed to get my butt in the chair, set a goal and reach it. I’m being called an author.

And that’s kinda awesome.

4 thoughts on “Self Publishing: Success and Stigma

  1. I felt like I was a success when one of my early readers said they laughed out loud at my book 😉 Earning money is also nice. It’s not loads, but that doesn’t bother me right now. I feel like as long as I am making progress, putting out good work, and pleasing most of my readers then things are going well.
    I second the e-readers! I’ve never been good at reading on a tablet, or a phone, but my kindle is amazing. When I switched to a kindle from paperbacks I could suddenly afford to read and read way more again than I did a few years back.
    As for the success thing, I spend SO much time with other writers online that I forgot lots of people want to write books and never do. So, to anyone who isn’t a writer, what we’re doing is a huge deal and incredibly impressive. The fact that it’s self publishing doesn’t even factor into the equation for most.

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    1. Hmmm… I wonder who that was? Lol.

      And yes, it doesn’t matter that it’s not much, because it’s a start and it will grow over time – as long as I keep writing and putting stuff out there. Happy readers = happy authors.

      Sigh. My next big purchase is really going to have to be a laptop, which I’m aiming to get mid-2015, so might invest in an e-reader as soon as I can afford it after that.

      That’s a really good point. I totally forget that it’s a big thing just to finish – actually it’s a big thing to even get started lol. I need to take myself back to before I was a writer, and how I saw it then. And you’re right, of course, no one really cares who published it.

      Thanks for your comment x

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  2. Congratulations! I too am waiting for the day I earn the first $ from a self published book of mine because then I’d be a professional author and not just an amateur one. I’m pretty sure that’s the definition of professional.

    Also, I used to be against ebooks and I still can’t read on a screen for too long. But I recently got a kindle and these ereaders are great because there is no screen glare. It doesn’t hurt the eye and the screen looks a lot like a printed page. You can read it outside in the sun as well!

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    1. Thanks, Eddy! It’s what defines an artist as a professional so I’m going with the same definition for writers 🙂

      Yeah my sister has an ereader and has recommended it, but I can’t justify the cost right now since I already have a tablet. I might invest in one next year, though I’ll still get my favourites in hard copy as well.

      I just read your last blog post – I think it’s an awesome idea to bring everything together. I decided to have this (personal) blog separate to my author website cos I write kids’ books which is a different audience. But I like the idea behind you pulling everything together.

      Liked by 1 person

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