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Here’s today’s installment. I decided to mention it because, well, you’ll see. He mentioned me. This will give you an example of a wonderful free service Dave offers. I may write a blog post later this week to add to some of the points Dave made.
Everything below the following line is from David Farland’s Daily Kick, 2/14/11 (and not written by me):
David Farland’s Daily Kick in the Pants—The Dangers of Self-Publishing
Friday I wrote about Amanda Hocking’s tremendous rise to becoming a bestseller through self-publishing her e-books. I’ve heard from a lot of fans lately who want to give that a try, and by all means, if you think that you’ve got the chops, give it a try.
But let me warn you of the danger first. Unfortunately, you are not your own best critic. Nor is your spouse or your mother or your neighbor your best critic. As a result, when you think that you’re ready to publish, in most cases you’re not.
Time and time again, I find writers who are almost delusional. They’re like the singers that tried out in Hollywood last week on American Idol. They were by far the worst that the country had seen. For some reason, Hollywood attracts delusional people.
Because writers aren’t their own best critics, we often hear stories like the one told by Raymond Feist recently. He got a knock on his door, and when he answered, the fellow at the door said, “I’ll be you’ve never talked to a real author before!” Ray, who has sold millions and millions of books, just laughed and said, “Buddy, I think you’ve got the wrong house.” But the fellow persisted and showed Ray his two self-published novels. They were printed to a high quality, which showed that the fellow had some taste, and so Raymond bought them and the fellow went off to schlep his works door-to-door. Raymond then read the first few pages of one and said that it was one of the worst novels that he’d ever seen.
I’ve done that same experience on more than one occasion, picked up a self-published novel only to see a dozen horrible mistakes—everything from typos to misspellings and just genuinely terrible prose—all within two pages.
So I’m worried that in the rush of self-published authors this year, we’re going to see a lot of people embarrass themselves. More importantly, you might actually hurt your career.
Let’s say that you put up a book that isn’t quite ready, and it gets twenty reviews on line, and most of them pan your book. How easy do you think it will be to sell your next book, or the one after that? Those negative reviews will never go away, and they’ll dog you. Indeed, they’ll destroy the name that you’re trying to create for yourself.
So don’t rush to publish in e-book format.
Please be aware that I’m not saying “Don’t publish.” I’m just urging you to be careful.
Last year I won the Whitney Award for Best Novel of the Year with a book that I self-published. When I won the award, Howard Tayler, the self-published author of the famous Schlock Mercenary cartoons, said, “You know, Dave, you’ve just done a world of damage. You self-published for all of the wrong reasons: your mother begged you to do it. You didn’t want to take your regular publisher’s advice. Then to top it off, you sold all of your stock, got great reviews, and won a major award. I keep telling people not to self-publish, even though I’m making my own living at it, and now you come along and just reinforce the wrong message.”
Howard is right of course. Both of us were publishing to small market shares, where self-publishing made a little more sense, and we both succeeded, just as Amanda Hocking is succeeding, and some of you are succeeding.
One of my friends and past students, Moses Siregar, I just found out, is at the top of Amazon’s sales charts with his epic fantasy THE BLACK GOD’S WAR. Moses is a fine writer and is deserving of success, and I think that it will follow. But Moses also knows the risks. I recently heard some other New York Times bestselling writers tell him, “Moses, don’t self-publish!” They pointed out the risks. I then told him, “You know, Moses, I hate to say this, but I think you’ll do it. You’re savvy enough to know what you need to do in order to self-publish well, and I think that you should go ahead.” Now, four weeks later, he’s doing great. So go check out his book at:
It will only cost a dollar, and if Moses gets the velocity he needs, maybe his project will turn him into the next Amanda Hocking. Personally, I really enjoyed Moses’s work.
Oh, and don’t self-publish! For every one who succeeds, there will be hundreds who will destroy a potential career. Recognize that when you self-publish, you might just be gambling with your career.
Ken Scholes will be speaking to us next on the Farland’s Author’s Advisory Confernce Calls and you are invited to attend at no charge, as always. Mark your calendar, the date is Thursday, February 24th, 9:00 p.m. EST.
Ken is the author of LAMENTATION, and the topic will be “Self-Awareness: an author’s first best tool.”
To get on the call, dial 1-218-862-7200. When the line picks up, dial the calling code, which is 245657. The call is free, long distance charges apply.
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