I’m often asked by my students what I think of self-publishing. Sometimes I get the feeling that some of the younger ones particularly think I’m a bit of a dinosaur, what with my old school approach; I’m convinced that traditional publishing is the way to go almost all the time. There are a few circumstances where I think self-publishing works — if you’re writing a book aimed at a very specific market, for instance, like a local history. It would be hard to find a traditional publisher to take something like that on. Also, I know of an inspirational speaker who self-published a book (with the help of a good ghostwriter) as an adjunct to his talks, and the book did quite well. If you’re already a celebrity of some kind, self-publishing would work, but then chances are good you could find a traditional publisher if you were a celebrity.
Okay, I’m then asked, but why can’t I just put it up on Amazon as an ebook and see what happens? Well, you can. But first I would read this article, “Adventures in the Kindle Trade”, by Lawrence Grobel in The Saturday Evening Post. As Grobel points out, “The truth is, with every successful e-book writer’s story, there are hundreds of thousands of failures.” Food for thought. Don’t just take it from me.