Should I Self-Publish My Next Book?

Reposted from There Will Be Blog:

You all know about my e-book novella, the Salvation of Billy Wayne Carter, which you can buy here. I have another finished novel titled, Zen, Mississippi, which I’ve been trying to get published for about the past year. Every agent that reads it basically says, “I like the writing. You’re a really good writer. I can’t sell this. But definitely send me your next book.”

Well, if they couldn’t sell it then, it seems damn unlikely that anyone could sell it now with the entire mainstream publishing industry essentially facing Armageddon. It was already a difficult business, but this week alone, there were layoffs at Houghton Miffllin and Simon & Schuster, a major shakeup at Random House, and a payment freeze at Penguin. There were also layoffs at Scholastic and Borders recently. So if everything is going to shit anyway, why not take some control and just publish the damn thing myself?

Thoughts?

Generally, self-publishing is looked down upon by the ivory tower elites who hold the reigns of power in that business. It’s harder to get reviews. It’s harder to get distribution. And there’s a general stigma that if you are publishing something yourself, you’ve already failed at the more traditional route. I’m not quite willing to concede failure, but it seems like it might be a while before the industry straightens itself out enough to take what I do seriously. By then, I’ll have another book ready for them. I really want to do something with this book RIGHT NOW. Or soon at least. I’m getting impatient, and I’m addicted to instant gratification (among other things).

Moreover, the hurdles of reviews and distribution are much more easily overcome than they used to be with the rise of Print-on-Demand publishing, Amazon, and other resources available on the web. And even if you get a book deal with a major house, there’s a good chance that you will still have to do most of your own publicity. So I don’t know. Anybody have any advice for me?

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