Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Self-publishing symposium: Kristen Tsetsi

How does self-publishing differ from traditional publishing?

I haven't had a book traditionally published, so there's a lot of information I don't have that would allow me to make a sound comparison, but I can tell you why, after having self-published, I'd like to be traditionally published.

As I understand it, having a book traditionally published means 1. People take the book more seriously immediately 2. (this includes reviewers normally not accessible to those who self-publish) 3. the book shows up in bookstores - the real ones that have people walking in, perusing

On the other hand, self-publishing is faster, gives the author complete control over everything from fonts to cover art, and cuts out the middleman.

Of course, the only time you don't want a middleman is when you're making real money from book sales. Most self-published authors don't.

Do self-published book review blogs help to raise the reader awareness of self-published books?

I believe yes. Internet blogs, articles, and websites are the biggest marketing tool self-published writers have when it comes to spreading word about the work.

How do you respond to the following statement?--Self-publishing is not a serious way to get one's work into print now and never will be.

I'd have to ask how "serious" is defined. And if I came to agree that it's currently not a serious way to get one's work into print (and it's not likely I would agree), I'd then have to question the use of the word "never."

Has the golden age of self-publishing already passed or is it yet to come?

It seems to have just begun.

What about the challenges posed to the self-published writer by having to promote and edit his or her own book?

As I understand it from authors who have published traditionally, the challenges are similar for all who want people to read their work. Every author should spend as much time editing her/his own writing as possible, whether self-publishing or handing it off to an editor connected with a publisher. Promotion, too, is something traditionally published writers have said is largely left up to them, as well. "They" say publishers aren't doing as much author promotion as they used to.

The challenge is real: it's difficult to simultaneously market and write. Both require creativity, but they require it in different ways, and each begs for full attention. I'm learning it comes down to time management. It's not easy, but it's do-able.

Why is it that a self-published author has yet to emerge into national recognition as a self-published author? (As opposed to being given a mainstream publishing contract after a self-published book attracts attention.)

My guess is that self-published authors simply have yet to be taken seriously. Until a traditional publisher accepts the work, it's not "real." Nor is it "good." Many still view self-published writers as those who can't write; if they could, they would be traditionally published. (Look here for a conversation/debate with with author J.A. Konrath about this popular belief.)

Has the experience of self-publishing changed the way you write? (If you have self-published. )

I wish I had a more interesting answer, but no. Anyone who writes writes the best way they can.

However - if anything, it's possible self-publishing allows some writers to be truer to themselves and their writing because they're focused on just that: the writing. They're not worrying about how to please an editor and/or a publisher, whether the manuscript will be accepted, about what will sell, and then allowing that to influence the story or how it's told.


Kristen Tsetsi is the author of Homefront

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