Friday, July 17, 2009

The Writers' Porch -- Friday -- Self Publishing

Well, the vote is in! I will start the series "Short-Bread--How to Write Great Devotionals" beginning next Friday. However, today I want to chat about self-publishing. This is a portion of spam email I received this week.


There are three gifts for you at the bottom of this email.

Are you one of the 86% of people who dream of writing your own book?
Have you thought that writing your book is impossible, or that you could never be published?

I "equip saints for the work of the ministry" of writing. Why?
I do it because I don't want to see you take your book to heaven!

You have the ingredients to create your book. All you need is the recipe.
If you can tell a story, you can write your book.
But you may have to forget what you were taught in school.

In my course, I will explain to you:

1. Why I never write a book until I've sold it.
2. Why I never outline a book before I write it.
3. Why I never research a book until I've written it.
4. Why I'll never submit an unsolicited manuscript to a publisher.

I'll show you how to write your book quickly, and how to self publish it instantly.


First of all, I am not totally against self-publishing. But a writer truly needs to know the ends and outs of self-publishing (aka vanity publishing). Usually the costs are very high to self-publish a book and the return very low. I know, I know, you ask, "But what about The Shack?" The Shack and A Christmas Cup of Tea are one in a million self-published books that have actually succeeded financially. In order to make it work you must have a platform to sell your books. They will not sell just because they are on

I recently had a phone conversation with a woman that was contemplating self-publishing. The cost to her was going to be around $5000 and a garage full of books for her to sell. (She held no type of speaker/sales platform.) She absolutely insisted she thought this was the best option for her. (Then why did she call me for advice and then argue against everything I advised?)

Here's the problem. We writers want to see our words in print--at any cost. It is discouraging to receive rejection after rejection. However, self-publishing is not always the answer to finding our dreams. Please, please, please be extremely careful if you decide to self-publish. If you decide to self-publish, find a trustworthy company. For Christian self-publishing I would suggest WinePress Publishing. I have seen their work, which is beautiful, but more importantly they are honest and have great integrity. They are present at several Christian conferences. Talk to them to see what are your best options.

DO NOT publish with some fly-by-night spammer who sends out predatory emails. All right, I am getting off my soapbox now.

See ya next Friday!


Lysa TerKeurst said...

Great advice Susanne. I especially like how you address that every writer longs to see their stuff in print. How true.

But how sad their are companies out there that prey on this dream. A garage full of dusty books with your name on the front and a credit card bill that haunts you month after month is a steep price for the temporary thrill of seeing your name on the cover of a book.

Thanks for the insight and gentle warning!!!

Lynn Cowell said...

Susanne - Last year I received a quote from a company to self-publish to the tune of $17,000! Can you imagine? So glad I was surround by wise gals in the P31 office who confirmed that that was not the way to go! Lynn