Self publishing – is it cool now?

Cover of "Kindle Wireless Reading Device,...

Cover via Amazon

Recently, a friend suggested I self-publish my completed novel on, so she could purchase it to read on her kindle.  My first reaction to this was one of recoil:  “I don’t want to self-publish.  How … how … passé.”

But perhaps that idea (along with the use of the word “passé”) is outdated.

Maybe the onslaught of book-reading gadgets flooding the market in recent years has brought forth a venue that allows self-publishers to shine.  Or, at very least, to get paid.

Even so, given the unattractive reputation of self publishing in the “buy a book with actual pages and schlep it around with you” generation to which I belong, I am still apprehensive.

So I thought I’d research and answer a few of the questions us non-kindle-owners have about this new evolving form of publishing.

1)      Where can I publish?  Well, you can go directly to, which makes your ebook available to the world via Kindle and Kindle apps (which can be downloaded to ipads, iphones, Blackberrys {Blackberries?} and Android devices).  Another option is Smashwords, which  seems to publish to everything else – Barnes&Noble, itunes, Sony’s reader store, and

2)      How much does it cost?  Nothing, if you do it all yourself – including cover art and transferring the digital file into a format that can be used by the publisher.  You can find out how to do that in this fantastic article from tech media website

3)      What rights do I retain?  Apparently, all of them.  You are self publishing the book in an online format.  And you don’t have to use just one publisher.  You can put your work up for sale on both and (and a few others) simultaneously.

4)      What about advertising?  This is the big con to self-publishing.  Publishers make pretty pretty ads to post in glossy magazines.  And you likely won’t be able to afford that.  So instead, you’ll have to network your little tooshie off.   Post a link to the site on your blog, tell everyone on facebook and twitter, call the biggest gossip you know and tell him/her to spread the word.

5)      What if it’s not good enough?  Weeeeelllll … this is really the big one, isn’t it, fellow writers?  The ever-present doubt nagging at the back of your mind is a clear indication (to me) that you want to produce the best work possible.  And my guess is you’ve edited that novel five times (so far).  But you still don’t know if you should make it accessible to readers (other than your mom) without the expert eyes of an agent and/or big-publishing-house editor.  I hear you, man, I hear you.   But the truth is, you may never know until you put it out there.

My book is currently in the revision stage (again).  And after it’s finished, I have a contest in mind for submission.  But if that doesn’t pan out, I may just try the self-publishing route.  Now that it’s (kinda) losing its bad rep.  I’ll keep you posted on that development.  (I’ll have to, if I want anyone to buy it!)

Leave a comment


  1. I think the key to deciding about whether to self-publish is just like jumping in the pool. You have to hold your nose and go. You can un-self-publish if some publisher wants to “pick up” your book, and you can always go indie if you are tired of waiting for the “traditional” route.

    • Mamas

       /  November 12, 2011

      Thanks, Kate!

      I just bookmarked your e-book about your self-publishing adventure (thus far) on smashwords.

      Thanks for being such a valuable resource!



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