Friday, September 21, 2018

Why I'm Now Self-Publishing

So, I'm wondering: was anyone surprised when I said I was publishing Blood in the Snow a couple weeks ago? Now that you know, would you be surprised if I told you that self-publishing Blood in the Snow wasn't originally in my plans for the novella? What if I told you that I didn't plan to self-publish at all? Would you find that shocking?

Younger me wouldn't.

Two years ago, I was convinced that I wasn't going to self-publish, despite how many of my friends and favorite authors were going that route. I even wrote a blog post about it, listing five reasons why I planned to pursue traditional publishing instead of self-publishing. And yet here I am, preparing for a book release in a little over a month. (Obligatory shameless promotion: if you want to help promote Blood in the Snow or any of the Magic Mirrors books, make sure you sign up for the blog tour, reviewer crew, or both!)

So, what changed between then and now? Several things. And, in usual Sarah fashion, I have a list to explain them.

Why I'm Now Self-Publishing

  1. I'm literally majoring in it. Ok, I'm not majoring in self-publishing. But my major and minor do cover almost everything, skill-wise, that I was concerned about. Book formatting? Same principles as any other document. Cover design? Graphic design minor. Marketing? Taking a class on it now, and I actually love it. Editing? It was my least favorite PWID class, but it is part of PWID. Also, paying someone else to edit my work is slightly more feasible now than it was two years ago (both because I have slightly more money and because I know of more editors).
  2. Money still isn't my primary goal. When I first started hearing about self-publishing, the main draw seemed to be the fact that a self-publishing author makes more money per book than a traditionally-published author does. I'm of the opinion that the earnings are probably pretty close either way, given book sales and the extra money that self-publishing authors sink into their books. But as I said before, my main goal in publishing is to share my stories with other people and to do so in a way that's more professional than just posting them on my blog. To that end, self-publishing, as long as I do it well, is just as good as traditional publishing, even if my stories don't reach quite as many people.
  3. Self-publishing now doesn't mean always self-publishing. I think this is something I forgot in my original assessment: although most authors move from traditional to self-publishing, there's no reason why I can't move the other way if I choose. (And Google backs me up on that.) I can start by self-publishing, but as I continue to write and edit, I can also shop some of my novels around to traditional and small-press publishers. In fact, some of what I've read and considered suggests that self-publishing might help a little if I do it well since it'll allow me to build my audience and get my name out there.
  4. Definite control of the multiverse, if I need it. I think I mentioned a while back that I'm connecting all my major novels into a single multiverse. (And I'm very glad I did, as it's solved several story and worldbuilding problems.) I don't know for sure yet how interconnected everything will be or if I'm telling one immense story or just a set of stories that happen to overlap occasionally. But if it turns out that everything is one big story and I need to control how and when I publish things, I want to have that option.
  5. I had an opportunity and no reason not to take it. So, yeah. In the end, basically, my decision came down to this: I had a story that people said was publishing-quality. I had a gorgeous cover for that story that I didn't want to waste. I had the opportunity to self-publish it and get a little boost from other authors when I did through the Magic Mirrors blog tour. I had, and have, a lot of friends who seemed eager for me to publish a book. And I had a lot of reasons why my original concerns about self-publishing weren't as serious as I originally thought. And all that added up to the decision: let's do this thing.
So, if anyone was curious . . . there's your answer. If you have any other questions about my decision, Blood in the Snow, or how the publishing process is going so far, let me know! I'd be happy to answer them in comments! Also, a question for you: do you ever plan on publishing, either traditionally or through self-publishing? And have your thoughts on that question changed at all with time? Please tell me in comments!
Thanks for reading!
-Sarah (Leilani Sunblade)  


  1. A list! I love lists! xD

    While I think the majority of self-publishing is done perhaps before the book is ready, you've definitely made some good points here, Sarah! And since it sounds like you know what you're doing, I wish you and Blood in the Snow all the best. :D *sends lamingtons for energy and motivation*

    (It's cool that all your novels will be in the one multiverse! I've done that before for casual story ideas... mostly to cut down on worldbuilding, which is not a good reason. xP)
    - Jem Jones

    1. Lists are the best. I swear by them. :D

      Danke! Yeah, the "before the book is ready" bit is the main factor in most self-published books. But I've edited Blood in the Snow so many times, I think it's good to go.

      (Yep! All my long novellas, anyway. My fairy tale retellings may or may not be in the multiverse. But it definitely does not cut down on worldbuilding . . . just helps simplify things sometimes.)

      Thanks for stopping by!

  2. I go back and forth about self and traditional publishing. I think I'm good with either.

    1. Makes sense. And sometimes it just depends on the book you're working with at the time, I think.

      Thanks for commenting!


I'd love to hear your thoughts! But remember: it pays to be polite to dragons.