Writer Inspiration: Are you Ready to Self Publish by Lisa Kessler

Are you ready to Self-Publish?

by Lisa Kessler

Hi everyone –

Thanks to Musetracks for allowing me to blog with you today!

It used to be considered foolish to self-publish. (Okay it’s April Fool’s Day so I’m going to be “foolish” *ahem* I mean festive!)

Anyway, as recently as five years ago, self-publishing was frowned upon by the mainstream literary world, and probably with good reason.   The self-published paperbacks were often priced twice as high as their mass-market counterparts, and you couldn’t get shelf space in a book store with a self-published book.  Authors were faced with a future of selling high-priced books out of the trunks of their cars.

Add to the tough sale that the books were often poorly edited with less than professional cover art, and it’s easy to see why many would consider self-publishing a fool’s game.

Enter eBooks and the Kindle…

As publishing continues to evolve, and royalty rates for eBooks climb in the online stores, self-publishing has stepped into the spotlight.  And it’s not playing the fool.  Not anymore.

We’ve all been hearing about Amanda Hocking’s success, but the reality is most of us won’t sell millions of self-published eBooks on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.  (Although you never know, right? J )  In fact, she’s recently signed a traditional book deal with St. Martin’s.

So what’s the right publishing path?

I wish I knew!  LOL   I think the tricky part about publishing right now is that there isn’t one main path to publication anymore. 

I attended an online workshop with an agent who has been experimenting with Smashwords and Amazon Kindle self-publishing, and her advice surprised me.  She recommended trying it. 

I’ve been writing short stories for years for my blog. (http://lisakessler.wordpress.com )  Some of the stories I’ve placed in different small press anthologies, but the rest I have sitting on my hard drive wishing they could get out and be read.

I’ll probably never be able to place the stories with a traditional publisher.  They’re just too short.  I could go with an ePub house, but I’d give up a major percentage of royalties on something that would probably be offered at a low price because it’s short.

So it left me staring at self-publishing.

On 3-17-11 my first eBook short, Across the Veil, was released for Kindle.  It’s also available on Smashwords, and with any luck it will hit the B&N Nook store next week.  *fingers crossed*

I don’t expect to be the next Amanda Hocking, but I do hope it will help me find more readers so that when my novel, Night Walker, is released later this year I might have a readership that will be anxious to grab a copy.  The first reviews are trickling in for Across the Veil now and I’m very excited about the buzz.

It’s also been a HUGE learning experience!  I learned how to make cover art.  I found people I trusted to help me with editing and copy editing.  I stumbled through formatting for eReaders, and I’m learning to guest blog!

All of which I think will help me be more prepared when my novel is released.  So far, I don’t feel like a fool for self-publishing.  In fact, I feel a little foolish for not trying it sooner… 

So what do you have taking up space on your hard drive?  While you’re out querying agents and publishers, why not let some of your other work out into the world?


Lisa has published short stories in anthologies including: Dead Souls, Ladies of Horror 2009, Hell Hath No Fury, and magazines including: Sinisteria, Horrorfind, Twilight Times, The Writers Hood, Savage Night, The Murder Hole, Behold and Shadowkeepzine.  Her vampire short story “Immortal Beloved” was a finalist for a Bram Stoker award.

She’s recently sold her Night Walker series to Entangled Publishing in a 4 book deal.  The first book will be released later this year.



Across the Veil is available on Amazon http://amzn.to/hwdhtA and at Smashwords http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/47079

You can find Lisa all over the web:

Goodreads: http://goodreads.com/lisakesser

Twitter: http://twitter.com/LdyDisney

Facebook: http://facebook.com/LisaKesslerWriter

Blog: http://lisakessler.wordpress.com

Website: http://LisasLair.com or http://Lisa-Kessler.com

14 Responses to Writer Inspiration: Are you Ready to Self Publish by Lisa Kessler

  1. Kat Duncan says:

    Great post, Lisa. I’d encourage writers to try epublishing. It provides a whole new perspective on the publishing industry and is a good way for authors to see how much work goes into producing and marketing even ebooks. I’ve had some success with it myself. I like being a do-it-yourselfer and having complete creative control over some of my work.


  2. Lisa Kessler says:

    Hi Kat! *waving*

    Thanks for stopping by the blog!

    And I agree with you about gaining a whole new perspective. I have learned SO much about formatting, pricing, promoting, cover art, etc. from this self-publishing experience!

    If you’ve got some writing that won’t “fit” with a publisher, it’s very worthwhile to put it out there yourself…

    Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

    Lisa 🙂


  3. Linda Wisdom says:

    Great post, Lisa!

    I’m putting my backlist books myself along with some original material. Yes, it used to be a bad thing to consider but nowadays it’s a great way to bring the older books back along with innovative material that a publisher might overlook.

    I can’t wait for your books!


  4. Lisa Kessler says:

    Thanks Linda!!!

    I read one of your backlist you put up for Kindle! 🙂 And I love the new covers you’re coming up with for the book too!!! Very nice!!!

    I hope Across the Veil will be in the Nook store soon… Smashwords is really slow compared to the Kindle store… LOL (See all the ePublishing stuff I’m learning? 🙂

    Thanks for stopping by and commenting Linda!!! Always great to see you!!!

    Lisa 🙂


  5. Pamela L says:

    I’m torn over the idea of self-publishing. Part of the reason is because some publishers don’t want “previously published material” and there might be a point where I want to submit my work to them. However, I am thinking of self-publishing short stories.

    There is a WIP I’m working on that I may self-publish because I’m not sure it would fit a publisher’s needs. Don’t know yet, though. Have to keep my options open. 🙂


  6. jbrayweber says:

    It’s a leap of faith, isn’t it, Lisa. Not knowing the right path to publication or knowing if the route you choose (whether through traditional or e-publishing means)is indeed daunting.

    I myself have been floundering on what I want to do. What do I REALLY want? All I know for sure is that I feel like I’m wasting time.

    Thanks so much for the inspirational post and sharing your story with us.



  7. Hi SavvyAuthor,
    Great post. Still really scared to put my stuff out there. I’ve sent queries, but I really have a long way to go.



  8. Lisa Kessler says:

    Hi Pamela –

    I’m only self-publishing my shorter fiction too. I think it’s a good fit for do-it-youself ePublication because you can set the price low enough to attract new readers, and most publishers won’t be interested in short stories…

    So many options! LOL

    Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

    Lisa 🙂


  9. Lisa Kessler says:

    Hi Jenn –

    It’s a total leap of faith these days! LOL But you know nothing is a sure thing, and if you don’t take a few risks, nothing will happen…

    Good luck in whatever path you choose!!! 🙂

    Thanks for reading and commenting! I’m glad it inspired you!

    Lisa 🙂


  10. Lisa Kessler says:

    Hi Sheila –

    Keep sending the queries and keep writing!!! You get better and better the more you write… 🙂

    Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment!

    Lisa 🙂


  11. Lisa, I know I’m a little late but this blog topic is awesome! Since our class, I’ve been fascinated with the suggestions as well. I can say that just thinking about self-publishing makes me really, really excited. I’m hoping that something spectacular happpens.


  12. Lisa Kessler says:

    Hi Alicia –

    Thanks Alicia!!! I’d be thrilled if something spectacular happened, but at this point the goal is just to get my name out there so maybe when my novel is published later this year readers may at least have a clue who I am! LOL

    Can’t hurt right? 🙂

    Good luck with whatever path you choose…

    Thanks for commenting!

    Lisa 🙂


  13. Stacey Purcell says:

    Everytime, I think I’ve made my mind up to go this direction or that in publishing, something comes along and rocks my decision! How do I want to be published? Well, that is a huge question and I’m not sure which avenue to take. It actually gives me a headache when I read conflicting blogs/articles on the matter….maybe I’ll fip a coin!!!


  14. Lisa Kessler says:

    Hi Stacey –

    It is confusing and it all feels like a gamble, but once you make a decision and start moving forward you’ll feel much better!!! 🙂

    Good luck in whatever you choose, heads or tails! LOL

    Thanks for reading and commenting!

    Lisa 🙂


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: