From the outside, one could easily look at the independent and self-publishing community as weird, a big joke, or even bizarre. Through my years of jumping from self-published, to being signed to a small press, and back again I have seen many conflicts arise. Authors/writers becoming upset in a vague post or this person saying something or that person not understanding. I can understand fully how frustrating it is and can be.

I wanted to write this in hopes of helping someone, anyone, to understand some of the common things you’ll see, hear, or experience from the outside looking in.

It’s easy and they’re lazy

The professionals among us would argue this until we’re blue in the face. There is nothing easy about what we do. Some parts might come easier to us than others, but that’s just life. Those of us that take this very serious talk about ‘the marathon and not the sprint’. Those that come into the field that sprint to the end (publishing) make more mistakes than those of us that understand the long game, the marathon. Mistake over mistake will eventually get noticed, by the community and readers. This is not easy! In it for the long run is hard, tedious, and so worth it for us.

It’s not a real job

What makes it ‘not a real job?’ We pay taxes (yearly or quarterly). We put hours in (months or even years on a single project). If anything many of us will learn multiple skills along the way. For example: When I began self-publishing I hard to learn marketing, formatting, video editing, new art programs, learn new techniques to keep up with trends and pace of others marketing, and learn better ways to time-manage, stick to a schedule, and how to work with the not so friendly co-worker. Sure sounds like a job to me!

They’re all coffee-addicts

Maybe…but what else are we suppose to use when we need to be rejuvenated? A lot of us like to joke, does that mean we’re not able to take things seriously too?

Self-published books aren’t that good, the quality just sucks

If you’ve come across one that isn’t of decent quality then frankly that dear reader is an author that tried to sprint or hired a non-professional to work on their book. Many books, done by professionals, are highly checked, scanned, edited, formatted, and the whole process before publishing happened. Even then, sometimes just sometimes, a misspelling will get through. That misspelling is a warrior god that made it through many rounds of a battle and more than anything should be given a great feast.

Small book press are just scams

Lies! Vanity presses are scammers and are not the same as a small book or independent publishing house.

Self-published, hybrid published, or independently published writers really don’t have talent.  If they had any they’d be traditionally published.

That’s a big ol’ negatory. There have been many traditionally published authors that have decided to go self-publish or chose to go to a smaller press for various reasons. Does that mean they’re not talented? Many chose to publish self or go to an indie press because that’s what they wanted. If a smaller press picked them they had to have some amount of talent to have gotten their manuscript picked up.

Participation Time!

What are myths that you have come across or even though? Let’s get a discussion going!

Before Publishing

Before you ever step forward with your finished manuscript there are choices to be made. Are you going to self-publish or submit to a publishing house? What the hell does it mean to be a hybrid? What’s a vanity press? I hope today’s post helps answer some of your questions.

  • Self-publish: Self-publishing means you’re putting up the funds to pay for the work required before publishing and ultimately publishing yourself.
  • Independent-publish/small publisher: Being ‘indie’ means you’re publishing through an independent publisher. An independent publisher will usually publish your book if they think it’s good enough, fits under their umbrella of genre(s) they publish, or if you’ve published before with them. (This can vary greatly publisher to publisher so don’t go saying I gave a definite in for you because it won’t work). They are not associated with the ‘top five’ or the bigger publishers, for example, Random House. They will help fund some of the cost or even all of it depending, but you may be asked to carry some of the weight if you want something special, for example hiring that one artist that does cover work you love so much.
  • Hybrid: A hybrid is someone who is publishing both ways. You can do this and it’s common for many authors to be this, having titles with publishers and titles they’ve self-published. It’s not a bad thing.
  • Vanity Press: These are where many want-to-be published fall victim. I’ve seen it many times. Vanity Press prey on the naivety of those new coming to the industry. They’re also referred to as ‘pay to publish’ because that’s how they work. You will fork up a bunch of money to ‘be published’ when the reality is a publisher, that’s legit, will be investing in you and your work, not the other way around. I really hate this kind of publisher cause in no way should it be considered a legit or viable way to be published. It’s a big ol’ scam.

Things to consider or remember:

  • To agent or not to agent? Many that want to go the route of ‘the top 5’ need an agent. Agent inquiries really are the only way to be considered for a bigger publisher. Smaller or independent publishers don’t require this, just keep your eyes peeled for when submissions open up on their websites or social media.
  • Indie or self remember: You’re going to always have to be promoting your work. Some small publishers will help and some will not. Shouldn’t matter if they are or aren’t you should be out there nevertheless. If you aren’t doing it how can you ever expect anyone else to do it for you?
  • Believe in your work: You’ve put all the work into it so far, belief in yourself and what you’ve created will reflect in how you talk about your work, your projects, and people will want to check out what’s to be believed in.

Did any of this help you? What has? Share your story in the comments!

The Official description is: Women in Horror Month (WiHM) is an international, grassroots initiative, which encourages supporters to learn about and showcase the underrepresented work of women in the horror industries. Whether they are on the screen, behind the scenes, or contributing in their other various artistic ways, it is clear that women love, appreciate, and contribute to the horror genre. (This is taken from the official website.)

My understanding of it is:  Women in Horror Month is a month-long celebration that occurs every February. It celebrates women in all areas of horror. Why? Well, many have different thoughts but from my understanding, from the writer’s aspect of it, it’s to celebrate women that love horror and create it. Many believe that again from my understanding, that women ‘just can’t write horror very well’, but I believe that to be such an outdated and misogynist outlook on writing and other creative avenues in this day and age.
There are many that love horror and want to celebrate. Whether talking about their loves of the genre or sharing someone they love that creates in it whether officially jumping on the bandwagon or unofficially. Official? Unofficial? What does that mean? Well, there is an actual website that talks way more about all of this, more than I could post here.

A bit more personal: I personally have grown to love this genre. I began my writing career not realizing I was writing horror. My mindset was, it wasn’t scaring me so this isn’t horror but turns out through talking with other authors/writers, it was horror/thriller in many ways. Now, I don’t just write horror, but I’ve come to accept that my art and my writing can fall into this area more often times than not.
My mindset was, it wasn’t scaring me so this isn’t horror, but turns out through talking with other authors/writers, it was horror/thriller in many ways. Now, I don’t just write horror, but I’ve come to accept that my art and my writing can fall into this area more often times than not.

The Women in Horror Month Website

It is great. It even links to events, meetups, and all the ways to find a horror creator that is a woman or men celebrating the women! Ain’t that great? I was invited many years ago to take part in this and in some shape or form, I have done just that.
This year marks the tenth year of celebrating! Go to the link above and find out how much is going on and perhaps find something to get involved in…I highly recommend it.