Guest Post Series: Self-Publishing

“I like the freedom of being able to write the stories that speak to me, and to make all the decisions about how they are presented and promoted.”

This is a guest post from Clarissa Gosling.

Why do I self-publish? 

One of the main reasons I decided to self-publish was speed. 

I had heard so many stories about great authors who took years to find an agent, and then for that agent to find a publishing deal for them. I had read numerous self-published books and could see that many quality authors were choosing to self-publish rather than wait for a publishing deal. 

I was excited to try my hand at it and see what I was able to achieve. Of course, the increased royalty rates that you get as a self-published author just made the deal sweeter. I also knew that even if I signed with a traditional publisher, as a debut author I would still be expected to do the majority of the promotional work for my books myself, so a traditional deal wouldn’t get me out of doing that. And if I was doing all the promotion work then surely I deserved to get the vast share of the royalties in return? 

I like the freedom of being able to write the stories that speak to me, and to make all the decisions about how they are presented and promoted.

 Self-publishing does bring with it a lot of challenges and the need to be able to switch between the creative and business sides of your endeavours. I choose my cover designer and have the final say in the covers. I choose when the books are published. I choose how they are promoted and when I run any sales or promotions on them. As a self-publisher I can be nimbler to take advantage of changes in the market and turn my business in a new direction. I am not beholden to anyone. If I make bad decisions then I will need to take responsibility for that, but equally I will reap the benefits of success.

I love the fact that I am not tied into anything and I can write and publish at my own speed, without worrying about publisher deadlines or whether the book I am working on would be published or not. 

I am building a team of other professionals and fellow authors who support and help me produce my books to a high quality. And I work hard to make sure that each one is better than the one before. 

Publishing has a lot of moving parts, so I am not trying to do everything at once, but to build a base from which I can expand in the future. With each book I am reaching further and building more of an audience keen to purchase my future books. 

I started with two non-fiction books about the experience of expat life (Moving abroad with children, and Raising bilingual children: when school speaks a different language) with the aim of helping other families in a similar situation. These were well received and I learnt a lot from doing them. 

I next published a selection of short stories, which is free across most retailers. And I am currently working on longer form fiction, which I plan to continue to expand over the coming years. My next story will be published in the anthology Realms of Fae and Shadows, which is due to be published in a few weeks.

Self-publishing has given me the opportunity to build my writing skills and author career alongside my growing children. I have the flexibility to work at home round their commitments and to build my skills as I feel they are needed. This is a long-term decision for me, and I can see my career growing before me. I am just at the beginning and I am excited to see where this opportunity takes me. 

Clarissa once missed the bus home from school because she was lost in a book. She no longer reads at the bus stop and now writes fiction she hopes is just as immersive. Though, she doesn’t advise missing buses! For more information about Clarissa and to sign up to her newsletter to hear about new releases and promotions visit clarissagosling.com 

Author: Mary Petiet

Mary Petiet is an author, poet, and freelance writer. Always a Cape Codder at heart, she is a long time contributor to Edible Cape Cod Magazine and many other books and publications. Mary is the author of Moon Tide: Cape Cod Poems, Owl Magic: Your Guide to Challenging Times, and Minerva’s Owls (Homebound Publications). In 2020 she founded Sea Crow Press, an independent small press curating poetry and creative nonfiction.

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