Self-Publish or Traditionally Publish? A One-Woman Debate (Part 2, Definitely)

If you also follow my YouTube channel (check it out here), then you’ll know that the result of this debate has been decided for a while now. Honestly, it may have been decided while I was writing part 1. There’s a solid chance that writing that post completely talked me into my decision, which is: I’m self-publishing! Yay!

So this post is going to be less about the debate, and more about the things I’ve discovered since making my decision. If you were hoping for a pros and cons list of self-publishing vs. traditional publishing, worry not. I have something pretty great planned in the near future, and that’s going to be a part of it (so stay tuned, and follow my blog if you don’t already so that you know when that post goes up).

The first thing I’ve learned since deciding to self-publish is that it’s super easy to get overwhelmed if you dive headfirst into the research. There’s about a million things that you need to know and prepare for, and learning about all of them at once is enough to drive anybody into a panic attack. On the bright side, I’ve also learned that self-publishing isn’t as scary as it initially seems. I repeat: Self-publishing isn’t as scary as it initially seems. Once you slow down and take in the information little by little, you learn that self-publishing isn’t a big, terrifying, unconquerable beast. It’s actually fun, and exciting. If you get a kick out of being productive, like I do (I mean, I’m not productive often, so when I am it kind of gives me a natural high), then you’ll love the self-publishing process. I’ve been working on marketing myself, from keeping up with my social media presence to preparing character sketches that I can use to release information about my novel, and I’ve been having fun every step of the way!

I guess that’s something else I’ve learned. When you take your future into your own hands, it gives you a better sense of accomplishment and independence, something I’ve never really had before. Even though I’ve been away at school for two years now–my freshman year was spent at home, attending a community college–I’ve never really felt independent. I’ve grown up as the only child in an overprotective household, where I’ve never really had to be independent, even when I’m away at school. But doing this–working toward self-publishing-has felt like something that’s mine every step of the way. I’m being productive. I’m accomplishing something all on my own. And that’s so, so exciting. Gosh, I’m almost giddy from it.

The one negative thing I’ve learned, though, is that self-publishing isn’t cheap. You have to pay for cover art, professional edits, setup fees, etc. That might be fine for people who have careers to fund their writing, but right now I’m just a broke college student. I’m going to have to start an Indiegogo campaign or something if I want to get this book published (actually, that’s 100% the plan, so fingers crossed it works out). I wish that it wasn’t this expensive, but I just take comfort in knowing that, if my book is successful, it’ll all pay off in the end. And, if not, at least I’ll be able to say that I’ve self-published a book, which is always something to be proud of.

Now, this post wasn’t meant to convince you that you should self-publish your own book, because every circumstance is different. The reasons I chose to self-publish could be the reasons you choose not to self-publish, and that’s okay. In the end, we’re all on our own individual writing journeys. All we can do is hope we make the right choices, and I feel very strongly that I’ve made the right choice for myself.

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