Monday, March 5, 2012

Why I chose to self-publish

Like any beginning author, I wish I could have been published through a traditional publisher; and if I were twenty years younger with my manuscript and illustrations in hand, I would not have been so quick to self-publish my Bible storybook, The Creation. To understand why I self-publish my own book, one needs to understand my vision for Bible quilts.

The Creation is illustrated with hand appliquéd quilt picture blocks. My vision for my books is also a vision for Bible quilts as I believe that in using them children will be inspired to point to their favorite pictures on the quilt and ask to hear the story at bedtime. So while I am working to market my book, I am also studying a variety of ways to make Bible quilts doable as well.

Before I published my book I personally saw one editor's eyes light up when she saw my quilt blocks. I also received a glowing rejection letter from another editor who bragged on my book but then explained that they already had a children's book about the creation and they couldn't justify publishing a second book on the same subject.

At my age (over 60) with eyes that have always been weak, I know that I must be working on new book illustrations instead of waiting for the slow wheels to turn in the traditional publishing industry. And I didn't need to waste my time creating a book and illustrations that would be rejected because they already had something similar.

Because I am computer savvy as well, I took on the additional task of doing my own layout, and submitted my book directly to a book printer. I did seek the assistance of a qualified professional who found a great price for a book printer and pointed me in the right direction in other ways. I also received critiques and editorial assistance from several people on both the text and the illustrations before sending my files to the printer.

If I had it to do over, I would still self-publish. I would order fewer books for the first printing, because as a new and unknown author, store managers have not put my books on the shelves, even though the title is available to them in their book catalogs. I am still weighing out in my mind whether I should try POD instead of off-set printing on my next book.


  1. Thanks for sharing your experience Janice. We are still storing boxes full of out-of-date books belonging to a friend who also went the self-publishing route and ordered far too many copies.

  2. Janice, it's so understandable that us 'older' writers don't have the same patience 'younger' writers do for the long process of submissions. I self-published my first children's book also - I used BookSurge (taken over by CreateSpace). I personally think the PODs are a better option - you don't have to worry about minimum purchases.

    Your book sounds wonderful! Thanks for sharing your experience.

    Karen Cioffi Writing and Marketing

  3. Thanks Annie and Karen. The problem with PODs, at least with my first attempt at using, is that the book ends up being over-priced for the market if you try to sell it in stores that must double the price they have to pay to get it. I guess there is no denying that it helps to be independently wealthy - which I am NOT.

  4. Thanks so much for the insightful article. It gives much food for thought.

  5. Thanks for sharing your information. I love that you have the determination to see your creation in print. Great inspiration.

  6. Janice, thanks for sharing your experience. As an older writer, I am looking forward to the release of my first published book by Revell/Baker in the States. Strength Renewed is now available for pre-order on Amazon and I admit now that it's got this far it's exciting, and good to know that I won't have hundreds of books in the garage! Still, self-publication is the most common way to go here in South Africa where I live.

    Your book sounds fascinating. Well done!

  7. Thanks all for your encouraging words. Congratulations Shirley. You have crossed two hurdles to get published in America while living in South Africa. Way to go!

  8. There are so many advantages to self publishing. Glad to see you found the right publishing route for your book and your personality. BTW, there are ways to publish where you don't have to order so many books upfront. I use for my how-to books. And poetry chapbooks. But I might not use it for fiction and I don't advise my clients who always dreamed of publishing traditionally to go the self-publish route until they have at least reached for their dream.
    It's always lovely to hear from someone who has self-published and proud of it!
    Carolyn Howard-Johnson
    Excited about the new edition (expanded! updated! even more helpful for writers!) of The Frugal Book Promoter, now a USA Book News award-winner in its own right (

  9. Thanks for the great post, Janice. I love your concept for 'quilt' books. Best of luck with your work!

  10. Interesting post Janice. Of course creating a book is a kind of craft in itself and as a craftperson with a clear niche target audience, self-publishing is the perfect vehicle. Thanks for sharing your insights.

  11. Very interesting post. Of course, you did good!

    All the best!

  12. Thanks for sharing with us Janice. I love the idea of a quilt book too. Good luck.

  13. Janice, thanks for sharing. I also self published my childrens books and to place that minimum order.

  14. Thanks for the post. Keep writing and illustrating


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