1. You've never finished a manuscript in your life: You love writing but you've never actually finished anything that you have sat down and written. So how could you ever self-publish anything. Well here's the thing, before my Master's thesis, I have never completed one of my novels. I've been writing since I was nine but I never actually completed anything; something always distracted me, and I just didn't know how to make the characters get to where I knew they were going to end up. I think it was that along with a combination of other things: I was too young, not enough life experience yadda yadda yadda, but I think it was about ambition, the bottom line is, if you want to someday see your name on the spine of book on someone's bookshelf then you need to finish your novel. Just do it-outline the entire book so you have a map as to where you're going, and then just write it. Forget structure and grammar and spelling and just write it, you can always go back and revise, just get that first draft on paper.
2. You don't know where to start: What helped me to actually create a login on Createspace was all the rejections I got from traditional publishers. After two years of rejections, but mostly what killed me was the waiting. The waiting to hear the rejections, because when you're sending out your query letter's you can only send one at a time. Which means you're waiting months for a response that will either change your life, or make you feel full of poop, because no matter how many times your mom tells you the story of J.K. Rowling and her like 64 no's you still feel like you're book is no Harry Potter, and you're dreams of becoming a published author are slowly being sucked away. You feel like writing may not be your thing, and all those teachers and friends that have read your stuff and told you that you may be somebody were obviously fools! But then somehow you hear about self-publishing and you think...what? really? Could it be? Well yes, it very well can...and here's how; Createspace.
There are a variety of other self-publishing sites but I chose Amazon's Createspace because it seemed to have the most easy set up and most beneficial for me, but there are lulu.com and others that I've heard great things about as well.
Createspace allows you to create an ebook version, a print version, and an audio book of your work if you choose. You can sell your books on Amazon as a print and Kindle version and if you pay the extra $25 you can sell your book via their extended distribution service which sells your book all over the place, including Barnes and Noble. More on Createspace and How-To, next post....back to why you can't self-publish.
3. You don't have time: I've got two kids under the age of five and an unhousetrained puppy and guess what I just finished formatting my book for printing. If you really love something you find the time.
4. I'm worried it won't be good enough/other insecurities and anxieties: Life is too short to live in fear, and we never truly know what we're capable of until we live outside of our comfort zone.
5. It's too expensive: If you edit, edit, edit take a month long break without looking at your manuscript, and then edit, edit, edit with fresh eyes, and then send it to your friend that is a grammar teacher to edit, and then get it back and edit it again. You can save on hiring a copy editor. Also when you self-publish with Amazon, you can always upload new versions of your book if you discover a comma splice after you've already sold 4 copies. Also cover artists and cover designers can be hired for reasonable prices. (More on that in another post) Not to mention marketing can be done for minimal costs thanks to social media. Self-publishing = low start up, so if money is the only reason you haven't hoped on the self-publish train, you can no longer sing that tune.
6. If I self publish I can never get published by a fancy New York publishing house: O contraire pooh bear. This all depends on your ISBN#. If you fork out the dough and get your own ISBN# rather than go with Createspace's free ISBN# option then when Big Publishing comes knocking you can go with them, no harm no fowl, however if you did use Createspace's free ISBN# then sorry but no. However my question is, if you're so successful as a self-publisher and used to calling your own shots in terms of marketing, deadlines, your vision etc. then why go with Big Publishing?
7. No one reads self-published books: WRONG.
8. I don't want to turn into the person that is constantly plugging their own book: Get a Twitter, Facebook page, blog, and maybe even an Instagram account just for your book, that way it's your book chatting itself up rather than you. This way your friends can look at pictures of your dog and cute kids without having to be bombarded with links to your latest novel. But if they follow your books pages than they are still in the loop but at their own volition.
9. I'm afraid to put myself out there: Use a pen name.
10. What if everyone hates it: There are ALOT of people in the world, and if you market your buns off, the more likely that someone will buy your book. And if they buy it, read it and hate it their going to write a review. And if they write a horrendous review about how much they hated your awful book, (as long as their negatives aren't poor editing) other people will still buy your book because one bad review doesn't deter people, in fact it may intrigue people, peak their interests, like a car crash or Miley Cyrus, you just can't look away.
So fear not, and self-publish on!