Saturday, 26 November 2011

Life as a Self-Published Author by Shelley Workinger

Self-publishing is on an all time high. With eBooks and internet sales on a permanent rise, I wanted to know what it is like to be an independent author. So I asked Solid (read my review here) and Settling writer Shelley Workinger.

Shelley launched her debut novel, Solid, last year and in July this year she launched the sequel Settling. Sound, the third books of the series, is already on its way for Summer 2012. And here is what she had to say about being a self-published author:

"Self-publishing is the hottest new trend in Bookdom. It’s the greatest new outlet for writers to get their work into readers’ hands fast, and it’s the newest wrench thrown into the publishing wheel, causing major changes.

Thing is, it’s not new at all.

Mark Twain self-published; so did Edgar Allan Poe, Upton Sinclair, Virginia Woolf, James Redfield, Gertrude Stein, David Thoreau, Leo Tolstoy, Walt Whitman and many other literary greats. Just because Twain’s first DIY project wasn’t Huckleberry Finn, doesn’t make it any less valuable of a work, nor does it mean Twain put any less of himself into it. Maybe even more so, with the commitment required; in spite of the recent creation of ebooks, the one thing about self-publishing that has remained the same over the decades is the amount of work involved. True, authors no longer have to build printing presses in their wood sheds and peddle their books from the backs of covered wagons, but don’t be fooled into thinking that just because it’s not as hard as it used to be means that it’s easy. It’s not.

The enormity of the demands put on a self-published author is right there in the title: SELF.

You write, you edit, you polish until at last your manuscript is complete. But that’s not the end of the road for a self-published writer; it’s merely when you take on the next role at the company in which you’re the only employee. Besides writing, you must also do the jobs of editor, graphic designer, promoter, accountant, even public speaker. (And not only do you have no fellow colleagues to commiserate with about your boss…you’re the boss, too! So the buck stops with you.)

The initiative to try on all of those hats and learn those new skill-sets bleeds into that vital second “self” necessary for the process: self-confidence. You have to really believe in both your ability as a writer and the strength of the work itself because no one’s going to do the promoting for you, and you won’t have an agent to shield you from any negative feedback, either.

Now, I’ve tried to paint a very realistic picture, but please be assured that it’s not a bleak one; self-publishing may quintuple a writer’s work load and risk, but so will it exponentially enhance his/her sense of pride and accomplishment. Essentially, if you believe it’s worth it, it will be. ;)"

Find out more about Shelley Workinger and her books by clicking the links above or by visiting the Solid Series website. You can also join her group on Facebook or follow her on Twitter.

Thanks for the guest post Shelley! :-)


  1. Excellent insight into self-publ. I agree - the workload is exhausting and all-consuming. And the essential ingredient is confidence because if you dont believe in your product, then you wont be able to go thru all the rigmarole required to sell it. What do I love about self-pub? The independence. The total control I have over the process from start to finish. Plus i dont have to wait ... months b4 an agent sells my book...another year b4 a publisher fits it into THEIR publishing schedule..and so forth.
    Good blog post.

  2. Thank you! There are definitely good points to it and it's such a huge trend at the moment!


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