A few months ago I read a book that would be classified as middle grade. I had heard a lot of good things about the book from a friend. Before I even read the first page, I was a put off by the number of pages, over 700. Too long for a book meant for 9-13 year old boys. I knew my boys would never read it. I wanted to put it away after the first 200 pages, but I continued reading, hoping it would get better. It never did.
The story line was intriguing, but the writing needed work. When I finally finished, my first thought was, "Who would publish this book?" I looked up the the publisher and found it was a self publishing company. The author had chosen to forgo the traditional publishing route and self publish his novel. I don't know the reasons why he did this, but I do know his novel would have been better had he worked on edits. It was apparent the novel needed a good editor.
Not all self-published books have substandard writing. Eragon by Christopher Paolini and The Christmas Box House by Richard Paul Evans are two self-published books which have hit the New York Times best seller list. A self published book making the best seller list is the exception. Very few do.
Simon Haynes wrote a great blog article. Click to read. He talks about his experience with self publishing. He points out that if an author's book is good, a traditional publisher will eventually pick it up. Does that mean all self published books are bad? I believe if an author is diligent about working on edits and is willing to hire an editor, then their self published book might work. However, at a traditional publishing house, a book must go through many levels and editors before it is published, resulting in a refined finished product.
I understand how frustrating it can be finding agent and publisher willing to take on a new writer. I too have a middle grade novel I am trying to get published. I want my novel to be good more than I want to see it in print. If that means I have to rewrite it a hundred times over ten years, I will do it. When it is good, it will get published. If not, it doesn't deserve to be in print. I believe success with childrens fiction through self publishing would be almost impossible. Others my feel different and some may have had success self publishing childrens literature.
I would love to hear from authors who have self published. Please post comments in answers to these questions.
Why did you self publish?
Has self publishing been effective for you?
If you had to do it over again, would you do it different?
What types of books do best with self publishing?