Everything You Need to Know about Self-Publishing in 5 Posts


I have been doing a lot of reading and research about self-publishing recently and there is an overwhelming amount of discussion going on these days. The publishing world is going through an intense transition right now and the only thing that’s certain is that no one knows how this is all going to play out. A lot of people have a lot of theories about the future of self-publishing, but it’s too early to come to any definitive conclusions. Not surprisingly, the best information is coming from people who have self-published. There’s a lot to learn from their experiences but there’s no one right path that’s applicable to everyone, despite a lot of claims to the contrary. I’ve been meaning to explore more of these issues here but I’m finding the amount of information overwhelming and it’s difficult to distill the flood in a meaningful way.

Given that context, it should be obvious that the title of this post is an exaggeration. However, over the course of my reading, I have found 5 posts that provide a fairly thorough look at many of the issues self-publishers need to consider. These posts are somewhat related and developed over the course of the past week or so.

On April 2, Salon posted an article by John Winters, “I’m a Self-Published Failure,” in which Winters describes how his efforts to self-publish resulted in minimal sales.

TheĀ novelist, screenwriter, and game designer, Chuck Wendig, posted a reaction on his terribleminds blog, “When Self-Publishing Is Just Screaming into the Void.”

A couple of days after the Winters piece, Salon published an article by Hugh Howey about his success at self-publishing, “Hugh Howey: Self-Publishing Is the Future–and Great for Writers.”

Wendig responded to this article as well in another post, “Self-Publishing Is the Blah Blah And Floo-Dee-Doo and Poop Noise.”

What makes this sequence work so well is that the Salon articles focus on the extreme of self-publishing and Wendig provides a more realistic middle ground and places these extremes in a broader context.

The fifth post I refer to is also from Wendig, “‘Indie First?’ What Is Best in Publishing?” in which Wendig responds to some of the reaction to his Howey piece.

Clearly, these articles don’t cover everything you need to know, but they do capture the current zeitgeist of the self-publishing culture of the moment.