DIY publishing and the perils of going it alone.

Influenced by my own experience as a musician releasing music independently, I’ve been leaning toward the independent/self-publishing approach as I begin to plan out how to best release my work. I originally expected to go the traditional publishing route, querying an agent and trying to go through the gauntlet of achieving a physical release that, may or may not reach bookstore shelves.

Over the last year, however, I’ve been gravitating more toward the do it yourself (DIY) approach as the pandemic progressed. Now a physical release may be impractical for a beginning author and perhaps I should focus on making the release accessible and move on to the next book.

The big question there is, how can I get my book seen? Well, you would think that going the traditional route would provide an answer to that, but that machine rarely cares enough to put any energy and resources ($) into a new, unknown writer and a first genre fiction release. Except for the very rare instances where you’ve written a breakout hit from the get, advances for a first time author are also usually quite small.

Given those considerations, I have drawn to doing it all myself. But there are perils there too. Going the e-book route results a non-zero number of headaches as well. Apparently, there is now a growing, TikTok-fueled practice of processing Amazon Kindle returns after having read books, costing DIY authors more money than they make. The problem was voiced by DIY author/publishers throughout the online groups I belong to, but is now being widely reported.

So now I feel like I’m back at square one. It seems this will be a painful process for me and anybody starting their publishing journey, no matter which path we take.

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