Why I Chose Self-Publication

The Friday 5 blog feature will be back next week, I promise. But today I made a big announcement: Cambiare will be self-published! (*cheers and confetti*)

A lot of thought went into this decision, and I’d like to explain why I chose the path I did.

Writing a book is hard. First, drafting a novel is a huge amount of labor. Then when that’s done, there’s all the revising, rewriting, beta feedback, more revising, and editing until you want to hurl your laptop into a fireplace. 

(Please don’t set your computer on fire).

During this whole process, I had to ponder my path to publication.

With traditional publication, there would be additional stresses: writing the perfect query letter, making sure my manuscript fit word count guidelines, finding comps, writing a synopsis… and rejection. Lots of rejection.

Self-publishing had a separate set of challenges. The cost was a huge factor if I was looking at things like owning my own ISBNs, hiring a freelance editor, and getting my ebooks professionally formatted. There were a lot of moving parts, since I would be starting a small business. It was daunting.

So I started my writing journey with the intention to traditionally publish, for a few primary reasons:

  • The business side of self-publishing was intimidating.
  • I wanted the distribution channels I would get from a deal with a larger publisher.
  • And yes, I daydreamed about seeing my book at Barnes and Noble.

I queried for a few small rounds. I participated in Twitter pitch events and mentorship contests. I received some rejections and a handful of full requests, but couldn’t seem to connect with that perfect agent or mentor. I learned to dread the phrase “enjoyed it but it doesn’t fit my list”. I spent weeks (months!) waiting on responses.

I was fighting an uphill battle with traditional publishing on this particular manuscript, and I knew it. The phrase “no faeries” had begun cropping up on agent wish lists. Agents were already past the fae “trend”.

I pondered shelving my book entirely – if audiences didn’t want faeries anymore, what was the point? But I got different feedback from potential readers. They weren’t done with fae quite yet. More importantly, I couldn’t let this story go. I was too passionate about Cirelle’s story to give up on it because an industry fad declared it passé.

But the real nail in the coffin for traditional publishing was my book’s age category. Cambiare is New Adult. My primary characters are in the NA age range, and the target audience is older than Young Adult. However, in traditional publishing a New Adult Fantasy category just doesn’t exist, full stop.

I queried as adult and was told the voice and pacing felt too much like Young Adult; I was advised to switch categories. So I tried aging down the characters and querying it as YA, but there were concerns with pervasive sexual undertones written in a manner that better fit an adult novel.

In my heart, I knew neither category was truly where my book belonged. 

I lost sleep over it. If I did manage to click with an agent and get a YA book deal, would they demand I tame down my story? How would a YA contract affect my plans for darker, steamier content in later books? Sarah J. Maas got away with mature subject matter, but I wouldn’t have her clout. And this wasn’t just a sex scene or two I could cut; it was the entire tone of the novel.

So I took a harder look at self-publishing. I devoured every video on Jenna Moreci’s YouTube channel. I scoured Reedsy’s blog. And indie author friends like Coralie Moss were generous in sharing their wisdom as well.

The more I studied, the more I felt this was the right path for me. The pros of going indie started to look more and more tempting:

  • It allows me to publish as New Adult.
  • I’ll maintain final creative say in the direction of the story (although I am still working with betas, critique partners, and an editor)
  • I get to hire my illustrator and pick my cover layout.
  • I can set my own release schedule.
  • I don’t have to worry about legalities of giving away sample chapters or other freebies.

After weighing the pros and cons, I am very comfortable with my decision to be an indie author. Will it be a buttload of work? Oh yes. It’s not going to be an easy path, but I think it’s truly the best one for my story and my writing career.

In the end, it’s all about putting the story I want to tell into your hands. And that’s what I’m going to do. I hope you’ll come along on the journey with me.

Stay tuned for more updates, including the cover reveal, pre-order dates, and giveaways!

Three ways to stay connected:

  • Click here to sign up for my mailing list: subscribers will receive exclusive short stories and bonus material, as well as first peek at Cambiare news.
  • You can also get updates on blog posts only by using the widget on the right (at the bottom if you’re on mobile).
  • Or follow me on Twitter for announcements.

One thought on “Why I Chose Self-Publication

  1. The other part of it that you have more say in is when your books are released if you have more than one in a series. That can be huge! My upcoming book is going to be published by a company, but my next series might be self-published.


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