so i was wrong about the self-publishing thing.

I had this long and very clever blog post witten in which present-day Marko rebuts the arguments of 2011 Marko in opposition of self-publishing, but it came across all braggy and smarmy, so I deleted the draft and decided to start over.

Yes, two years ago I wrote a lengthy blog post detailing why I’d never, ever self-publish. Rather than refuting all my points from back then, I’ll make a short list of reasons why I finally decided to put the novel out myself.

Firstly, and most importantly, I was out of patience with the traditional dance of Query > Submit > File Rejection in pursuit of an agent or publisher. I finished the novel in 2009, sent it to a major SF publishing house in the summer of that year, and didn’t hear back at all. No rejection, no “I still haven’t gotten around to looking at it”, no acceptance, nothing. I might as well have put the manuscript into the stacks at the local library, hoping that an editor might stumble across it accidentally while looking for new reading material in our village library by chance. That’s three and a half years waiting for a response. In the meantime, I shopped the manuscript around to half a dozen other publishers and about 30 or 40 agents, and got no bites. I was simply at the end of my rope with patience.

Secondly, the market for self-publishing has changed quite a bit in the last two years. In 2011, ebook readers were still just getting off the ground; now they’re so mainstream that everyone and their grandmother has a Kindle or an iPad with a reading app on it. Sales of Kindle books have gone up accordingly–that awful Fifty Shades of Kink book sold twice as many Kindle copies than print books. While self-published authors are still looked down upon somewhat (and there is a lot of awful self-published shit out there), there are now plenty of self-pubbers whose books have sold well enough to get their authors offers from traditional publishing houses, and quite a few who can actually make a decent living off their self-published books. Economically, the field has become more viable for self-publishing.

Now that I have the novel out there, I must say that I also like the control I have over every aspect of this endeavor. I went with Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP), and their control panel lets me track my sales numbers pretty much in real-time. KDP also pays royalties out monthly (traditional publishers pay twice a year), so there’s no guesswork involved in when (or how much) I’ll get paid.

So there you have the reasons why I changed my mind on self-publishing: I was sick of the traditional submission treadmill, Kindle publishing seemed like a good way to get my work in front of a lot of readers, and I very much enjoy the transparency and speed of the sales and royalties model offered by Amazon. Times and circumstances change, and I can admit that I’ve been wrong, and that my fears about self-publishing were (luckily) unfounded in my case. Your mileage may vary, of course.



21 thoughts on “so i was wrong about the self-publishing thing.

  1. enjoying the hell out of your first one, can hardly wait for more. Thank you for being creative and sharing with us

  2. Marko, I don’t care why you changed your mind. I’m just glad you did. I’ve been hoping to read this book sometime, and now I have. Got it Tuesday afternoon; finished it Tuesday night. Highly entertaining. Thanks for writing it and thanks for getting it out there.

  3. First SF book I’ve read since the sixties. Loved it!
    Only problem I had with it was it ended way too soon.
    Gimme more.

  4. Ordered direct Thursday afternoon.
    Got around to checking email Friday and there it was.
    Finished reading Friday afternoon (had the day off).
    Good read and looking forward to the next (- although a little taken aback by 80′ aliens [grin]).
    Glad to be able to directly support the author.
    — ARRognlie

  5. What did you do for publicity? To go from publication to #1 Science Fiction>Military in ~ 2 weeks is astonishing.

    • Mostly? He wrote a book people enjoy reading and recommend to their friends. That’s been the big secret since at least Exodus or Gilgamesh…

  6. Just a heads-up. This post has been linked on Vox Day’s blog, with an excerpt.

    Vorsicht! Vox ain’t no kinda modern latter-day la-di-da bien-pensant!

  7. Self publishing changed, no further explanation needed.
    I would like to see a paper version of the book as well, because I am old fashioned, I guess. I’ll probably get an iPad soon, but please put me on the list of dead tree enthusiasts.
    A friend of mine recently died who, even as an author probably no one has ever heard of, sold over a million copies of one of his books. But publishing has changed and you sir, are a beneficiary of this.
    Best wishes for every success!

  8. Allow me to join in with the multitudes singing your praises from upon high.

    Damn good read, glad you went the self-pub route so we could get our grubby little paws upon it.

  9. What I get from this tale of success is that some dead tree publishers are so full of their own self importance that they can’t be arsed to go to work. If that’s the case, perhaps they can be arsed to get in line at the unemployment office.

    I read your book, and have one complaint. The covers are far too close together. The story was delightful, including the 80′ tall vicious, bloodthirsty aliens VS the 6′ tall vicious, bloodthirsty aliens.


  10. ohboy ohboy! I’ve been hearing about this book for YEARS and it’s only $2.99! Direct to the author! Awesomesauce!

    Ok, used up my exclamation points and yours too.
    (I assume it gets delivered via email? neato. What else do you want to sell this trusting reader? :-D)

  11. Pretty well written for a first (published) novel.
    Decent characterization, decently written, good combat sequences.. not too much in the way of author tracts/awfully silly stereotyping some writers seem prone to..

    Good effort, compared to other self-published books of similar stripe I’ve read – I had to put down MHI after reading one too many ‘evil monster’.

    On the other hand, not-that-good-sf.

    Could’ve used some proof-reading for consistency
    (30 lb full body armor protecting against .50 BMG? ). Even with awesomely strong materials, .50 BMG AP would go through two inches of steel at close range.
    What’d make more sense would be say, exoskeletons with fuel cells, which is practically present day tech, or tinkering with soldiers to make them easily carry more weight..

    Perhaps avoided pointless sf-cliches like ships with artificial gravity while said artificial gravity isn’t used to move vehicles.. nor would it be useful in a future where people have figured out how to prevent muscles/bones from atrophying in space.

    Also, what werethe 80′ aliens? Alien equivalent of elephants, put there to prepare the terrain for alien brand terraforming? Melee troops wouldn’t make sense for a civ that can blast everything to cinders from space..

    For the puzzled ones, elephants shape their enviroment in a pretty major way. Siberia with Mammoths would look quite different..

    • Perhaps avoided pointless sf-cliches like ships with artificial gravity while said artificial gravity isn’t used to move vehicles…

      Maybe it requires a massive fusion powerplant of the type lugged around by a starship? Or maybe you can just kick back and enjoy the space opera?

      (And if you only like ‘hard SF’, then why are you reading a book that is self-described by the author as a ‘space kablooie’? That’s like reading a Harlequin and complaining about the kissing. It makes you sound a little thick.)

      • For Pete’s sake, if I only read books I could find no issue with, I’d be left with like one or two authors.

        Don’t think I ever wrote I only like hard-sf either…