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In eBook Self-Publishing, Think Like a Dandelion

Updated on July 5, 2012

Even Though I Expect No Success, I Am eBook Self-Publishing

In this day and age, where anyone with a keyboard and an internet connection can churn out "books", self-publishing has become something of a cottage industry. I have openly suggested in a prior hub that it is a bad idea to self-publish on the Kindle and the Nook, because it is a waste of time, in general, I also suggested that forming a collective is not a bad idea. In this prior article, I also suggested that the way to succeed at writing is to think like a dandelion. This is a quote picked up from Cory Doctorow, talking about media content in the age of perfect copying available to us on-line. In this era, pouring all our resources into just one format is a losing prospect when formats change rapidly. I am currently self-publishing, not because I believe it is a chance at success, but because I believe it is another place to propagate the seeds of my ideas, at a very low cost of time and no investment of money, at all.

Along these lines, I, too, am self-publishing under two pseudonyms, with the help of a friend. I am digging up old, musty drafts and tossing them up into the world. I am even going to start putting together collections of articles I've written here, there, and everywhere, and placing them up in the world. I don't believe in self-publishing, in general. However, I do think like a dandelion. I want to make sure my content is available to people wherever they happen to be. If the content is good, people will eventually welcome it.

Cory Doctorow is a Smart Source For the Future of Media

Why Do Something When You' don't Think It Will Be Successful?

Though I don't have any plans to do any sort of promotion or tweeting or media campaign for my own self-published eBooks beyond just this meager hub, I think it is important to talk about why I would do it.

  • Because it's easy.
  • Because books and magazines are changing very rapidly, and the work I have been doing for years is not even recognizable to me some days, when I compare it to what this job was like when I started.
  • Because it's allowing my product (my "content") to slip out into the world in a new way, increasing the likelihood that someone may find it, and offer payment for my work.

I have absolutely no expectation of success. This is not an ideal location for the material, and it will not flower into the highest form of itself possible. If I sold five copies, total, over the course of twenty years, I'd be surprised. Still, this is a dandelion seed. I throw my seeds into the world, into every corner I can place them. It is easy to do so, and as long as I do not perceive this as a "career" as a "self-published/Indie author", rather view it as a "copy" of my "previously published" work, then I'm doing just fine. I will not promote the eBooks, either. I'll just leave them there, in this crack of the pavement, waiting to see if anyone finds them, dusts them off, and decides to have a go. But me? I'm with my chaps in the cafe, working on books for publishers that pay something. Eventually, when the rights revert, I'll probably eBook those, too. But, I'll definitely prefer to have a re-release of the book through a major publisher long instead of just letting my back catalogue squat in a corner of someone's Kindle for a few decades, like a seed fallen into a huge pile of seeds, all waiting for some lunatic out to find that needle in the haystack that just happens to be my needle.

Anyway, link to one of them is below. We've got a placeholder cover until I finish finagling the rights to the art I like, and laying it all out. It may take a while, though, as I'm going to do the work for my mates before my own. Seems only fair.


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    • zebulum profile image

      zebulum 5 years ago from USA

      As long as the publishers also make me some money - more than I could make on my own - I say let them. Why not?

    • frugalfamily profile image

      Brenda Trott, M.Ed 6 years ago from Houston, TX

      I have met more than one published author who claims they wish they had self published. They swear to go "that route" in the future because the publishers are "in it to make themselves money."

    • zebulum profile image

      zebulum 6 years ago from USA

      Distribution *is* marketing. It may not be publicity, but a quality distribution chain is worth a few dollars off the top in my not-very-humble experience. Bookstore placement still matters. The imprimatur of an influential editor still matters.

      Good luck on your lonely path. I'm quite happy on mine.

    • Merlin Fraser profile image

      Merlin Fraser 6 years ago from Cotswold Hills

      Sorry but I'm not convinced that you are right about the old ways, In the past few years I have come across some pretty arrogant literary agents who wouldn't recognise the next Dan Brown or JK Rowling if they came up behind them and kissed them on the butt !

      I think the traditional publishing houses will stagger on but I notice they too are clabbering onto the Self Publishing and E Book band wagon, they have little choice, the way of the world is Instant and to be that you have to be Digital.

      I know people enjoy my stories they come back and tell me so but I need more of them, a lot more to keep body and soul together. Over the past few months I have had a lot of help and encouragement from strangers I met here on HubPages, Strangers who went on to become friends they helped me and encouraged me and didn’t ask for a percentage of my work in return.

      I know how hard it is as an Independent author, and it is a DIY world and that includes marketing, I also know many authors who thought they were fortunate to sign contracts with a publisher who received no help whatsoever with PR and marketing other than a few useless press releases. Now they are stuck where they are.

      I on the other hand and experimenting, what I learn along the way I am happy to share here on Hubs, it’s the least I can do to repay the kindness and support I have received here. Where it not for some of the people I met here I would have quit as a writer months ago.

      Am I wasting my time marketing the way I do... Perhaps but most of it is Free and it is a big world out there and I only need a small percentage to pick me up and read.

      Am I wasting all my time chasing the mighty Buck ! Nope, a set few hours a week, rest of the time I write, research history and work on Novel number four.

      Hard work, you bet but no one said the path I chose was an easy one.

      I wish you well in your endeavours and hope we can compare notes sometime in the future.

    • zebulum profile image

      zebulum 6 years ago from USA

      The thing about Self-Publishing, Merlon, is that all that extra work you did promoting and whatnot will likely not lead to any meaningful increase of sales as it would if you were published with even a small press. Collective publishing is a little better, and what we're doing with our stuff, but not really that much better. Basically, the old way is still the best way. Working towards the goal of agents, editors, etc. is the path to take where all that extra marketing work pays off. In self-publishing, all that extra energy generally amounts to little. Feel free to prove me wrong. I'll be a little busy writing another book to notice, generally, what happens with your book, or with my own self-published stuff.

    • Merlin Fraser profile image

      Merlin Fraser 6 years ago from Cotswold Hills


      Facebook making your mind bleed ! I think I'm slowly begining to understand that sentiment.

      As an experiment I have been following the john Locke method of promotion, which requires the blending of your web page and getting thousands of followers out there spreading the word. But what the Hell good Twitter is I have yet to discover.

      I have 3 E Books out there, so far I have created a YouTube teaser video for each of them, (See my Hub if you want details.)and I posted them on FaceBook and Twitter as well as spreading the word on Amazon and anywhere else that springs to mind.

      Now ! That is mind numbing but I assume if I want to increase my exposure as an author and generate sales I suppose it's worth a try.

      But if you can't then all my stories are on paper as well !

    • Kathleen Cochran profile image

      Kathleen Cochran 6 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      After hiding my work under a basket for 20 years, I've set it on a lampstand via Amazon e-books. I've sold 8 books. Not exactly a living - but 8 people have read my work as opposed to none. A thousand people have read some of my work on Hub Pages. That's what I'm in it for. Good luck to you and your mates.

    • zebulum profile image

      zebulum 6 years ago from USA

      The internet already provides pretty good crap-filtering, through linking sites like BoingBoing or Gawker, and the "viral" nature of web-publishing. People send each other links via social networking, and that serves as a form of "crap-filtering". I think "lending" books is a good move, and integration of eBooks into social networking sites should be a priority. Facebook, for instance, could update your status with what you're reading, and when you finish a book, and alert your friends about it. Of course, if you're like me the very idea of being on Facebook or any number of social networking sites causes mind-bleeding, and I'm simply out of luck. This is, of course, why I still read printed, paper books.

    • dahoglund profile image

      Don A. Hoglund 6 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      I have decided to give it a try on Smashwords and recently published a free book. It is titled Guest Ranch if you are interested.

    • Merlin Fraser profile image

      Merlin Fraser 6 years ago from Cotswold Hills

      I think it would be nice to see some sort of logical filtering system introduced into the this

      ‘E’ publishing debacle.

      As you so rightly pointed out anyone with a keyboard and an Internet connection can join in and it seems they are, much to the utter confusion of the reading public.

      There should be a way to separate genuine Books from the spam, advertising rubbish and just plain, for the want of a better word, Crap ! It’s hard enough for real and genuine authors to try and gain recognition into any market but the E publishing ‘dog pile free for all’ is fast reaching a point where people will just stop looking because the problem of sifting the ‘Wheat from the Chaff’ is just not worth the time and effort. Nor do they appreciate getting stung out of their hard earned readies buying reading material of really low quality, poorly edited and full of typos, spelling and grammatical errors.

      For the Independent author the ability to self publish was a great first step forward but we needed a marketplace, the E Book market gives that place but it is being swamped by every idiot who thinks their effort is worth selling.

      Organisations like Amazon need to take this matter in hand and quickly before the crap epidemic kills what should be a great marketplace stone dead.