“Independent” or “Why I’m Going DIY”

There was a time I didn’t think I’d ever want to self-publish a book.

I thought it wouldn’t feel legitimate – which is less of a commentary on the legitimacy of self-publishing than it is on my feelings, which will tend to feel whichever way they want to, legitimacy be hanged.

To Past Me, self-publishing would have felt like quitting; like I couldn’t get any of the bigger-than-me names in the industry to give me a chance, so I turned to a do-it-yourself last resort.

But then something changed my way of thinking.

And no, it wasn’t J. Taylor Publishing’s acceptance of my story in their upcoming “One More Day” anthology, because that came later.

What happened was the realization of just how much I loved my “Ballad of Allyn-a-Dale” trilogy. Loved it fiercely, just the way it is. And it dawned on me that, were I to traditionally publish Allyn’s books, there would be any number of people in a position to pressure me to change the books in ways that could quite possibly break my heart.

I don’t totally despise change. Fear it, sometimes, but I can face it when necessary.

Messing with Allyn’s story, however, is not necessary. Not if I publish it “not dependent on or affiliated with a larger or controlling entity”-ly.

So that’s what I decided to do. And the decision was scary as change to make, but a little exciting, too. I was going to do this for my Merry Men. I was going to publish their books my way, all by myself.

…With zero self-publishing experience…


Nobody wants the self-publishing attempt of my magnum opus to look as slapdash as this “Ballad” cover thrown together to inspire me during its first-drafting in NaNo 2010.
Nobody wants the self-publishing attempt of my magnum opus to look as slapdash as this “Ballad” cover thrown together to inspire me during its first-drafting in NaNo 2010. I mean, it’s cool and all, but it just won’t fly.

Well, the only way to get self-pubbing experience is to self-pub something. So I came up with a plan: Figure out what the heck I’m doing by self-pubbing another project first, and then handle “Ballad” and its sequels like a pro.

That’s where The Wilderhark Tales come in.

It’s a perfect story choice, too, because The Wilderhark Tales are actually something of a prequel to the “Ballad” books. Allyn-a-Dale was born and raised in the Wilderhark fairytale world before finding himself in the different-sort-of-magical realm of Avalon Faire. So pubbing The Wilderhark Tales first not only gives me experience as an indie author, it’s chronologically sound. Double win!

What’s the experience been like so far? Predominantly thrilling, with some stress on the side. I’ve got enough control-freakish tendencies that I enjoy being able to call all the shots. I can micromanage and nitpick to my heart’s delight, and the only one I have to compromise with is myself. On the other hand…it’s all on me, guys. I can’t just turn in my manuscript and wait for somebody else to turn it into bound books and e-books for sale. Nope – if I want it done, I’ve got to oversee the doing.

Thank God for the resources of the internet. It makes it that much easier for me to behave as if I have a clue.

In the meantime, I haven’t turned my back on traditional publishing. At this point, I don’t feel that I want all my literary eggs in any one basket. There are some books I want to handle on my own, sure. But I’ve written other books – and doubtless shall write more – that I’d still love to see accepted by a publishing company of greater than one. Because I want that experience, too.

And you can bet I’ll keep you guys updated on my experiences as they come. (:

Speaking of experiences, if you’re interested in sharing your experience of reading my soon-to-be-self-pubbed novella, “The Swan Prince”, and perchance having a portion of your review included in the published book… well, you’ll have to read it first, now won’t you? To request a pre-release read-and-review arrangement, or an author interview with me on your blog, drop me a line in the comments or e-mail me at Danielle.E.Shipley[“at” symbol]comcast.net. (Further details toward the end of this post).

9 thoughts on ““Independent” or “Why I’m Going DIY”

  1. Inspiring post. I’ve been considering self-publishing some of my work, too (and I’ve had books published traditionally and hope to have more). I love it that there are several options out there these days and we can try all of them.

  2. Much luck in your new venture. Self-publishing seems so overwhelming, all the tasks you don’t usually think about, you have to do yourself. But as a fellow control-freak, I can certainly see the appeal. Especially for novels as close to your heart as Allyn’s.

    Enjoy the process and learning along the way. I can’t wait to see the results!

    • Thanks, Laure! There have been some overwhelming moments, but just trying to take things one step at a time makes it feel more manageable. I’m looking forward to the first book’s finish line, myself!

  3. Hurray for you! I felt exactly like you did initially. It was just ignorance. Ignorance of the difficulty in getting an agent, getting published, and ignorant of the freedom you have in self-publishing.

    But you’re going at it a lot smarter than I did. I jumped right in, did some research, but not enough on formatting. That, I learned by just jumping in. I had to make changes after ordering my 1st 50 books! I’m still selling them though or giving them away as a review book. But then I still had changes to make after ordering the next 10! Then the next 6! 🙂

    Now, I think it’s just fine. A tester book would have been a great idea. Or, just be sure you order a review copy and sit on it for a while before ordering your bulk. My editor (a newbie as she was) hadn’t given me that advice.

    • Oh yes, I’m definitely making use of review copies. Life experience says, “Never expect things to come out perfect on the first try.” …Actually, I’m trying not to expect total perfection at all. But I mean to work my way as close to it as I can!

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