Sharon C. Cooper

Just thinking…

A Daunting Thought

This weekend I attended the 1st. Annual Atlanta Black Book Expo (ABBE) which featured many up-and-coming literary professionals from poets to playwrights.  I roamed around the space talking and listening to authors describe their labor of love and what inspired them to write.  Some just always wanted to become an author, while others wrote to heal something going on within – like the guy I met who wrote his book serving time in prison.  He said writing his story over those years is what helped him make it through and in the process, he turned his life around. At any rate, even with the heart felt stories and conversations, after stopping at about five tables, a daunting thought occurred to me – everyone selling their books at this event, was self-published.  I realize that people self-publish for various reasons, but the main reason some authors self-publish is because they can’t get a mainstream publisher to purchase their work.  Hence, my daunting thought.  Will I resort to self-publishing if my manuscripts aren’t picked up by one of the big publishers? 

Don’t misunderstand, there’s nothing wrong with self-publishing, actually the thought of keep all the profits for myself really appeals to me, but the thought of doing every aspect of getting the book ready for the public doesn’t.  I’m talking about everything from writing the story, rewriting, editing, designing a great cover for the book, and don’t even get me started on marketing and selling the book!  Mind you, I do understand that even if you’re picked up by a mainstream publisher, you still have massive work ahead of you…but knowing that still doesn’t seem as intimidating as having to do every aspect of the book publishing myself. 

Okay, so getting back to the expo.  Something that one of my critique partners pointed out as we made our way through the aisles at the expo, is that this type of venue is usually where new authors display their work and unfortunately, not many sells are made at these types of events.  After she said that I glanced around and realize that during the time we were there, it wasn’t well attended (which wasn’t a surprise since it was the first one), but if everyone was like me, they went in with a set amount of money that they would spend.  That meant that though their might’ve been a hundred great books for sale, chances are, some authors went back home with the same number of books they carried to the event.

Right now I’m thinking that I would love to have more of my writing work published, but I’m not feeling the self-publishing thing…unless…maybe…if it’s publishing an e-book.  But what I really need to think about is my real reason for writing novels.  I think at this point, it can’t be solely to make money or to become a best selling author, but more about sharing an entertaining and maybe even inspirational story with others.

August 9, 2010 - Posted by | Just Thinking, Writing


  1. Electronic publishing is definitely the way to go in my opinion.

    Comment by Diolinda | August 9, 2010

    • Hmmm…I’m not totally sold on electronically publishing one of my manuscripts…yet (too lazy), BUT considering how cool the books look on the iPad…I might just have to try it -just to see my work on the screen. 🙂

      Comment by sharonccooper | August 10, 2010

    • BTW, Dio…are you thinking of publishing electronically anytime soon???? I know you’re really getting into this writing thing 🙂

      Comment by sharonccooper | August 10, 2010

  2. Self publishing is something to think about, but I’m going to exhaust my agent and publisher lists first before I go that route. At the workshop I attended in Kentucky in July, an editor gave a presentation outlining all the things editors do for the books and authors they are responsible for. With the Internet at our fingertips, authors have a much greater role in promotion, but the editor does a lot to make the book the best it can be as well as get the book sold.

    Comment by Trish Wilkinson | August 10, 2010

    • I’m w/ you Trish, I think I’m going to try everything else, before I consider self-publishing. I bet the presentation was cool re: all that the editors do for the books. I’m sure there’s alot more that goes into it than we think!

      Comment by sharonccooper | August 10, 2010

  3. One thing I need to point out is that even when you sell to a maujor publisher, 90% of the promo and marketing is on you, the author. The big publishers just don’t invest in new authors anymore. That’s why most of the women at the Faith & Fiction Retreat use Dee Stewart, the promo maven.

    I also was never interested in the Print on Demand or any kind of self-publishing where I would have to deal with ordering books and end up selling them out of the trunk of my car.

    E-publishing, on the other hand, particularly with a major distributor is something that really appeals to me. Since you’re going to end up doing all of the work anyway, why not do it and make 70-80% royalty instead of the 6-10% the traditional publishers are paying?

    I’m staying with my agent, and if she sells one of my manuscripts, great. In the meantime, I have work that I can tweak and e-publish. At least it’s making me more money than it was sitting on my hard drive …

    BTW, I wrote about the ABBExpo on my blog today too.

    Comment by Chicki Brown | August 10, 2010

    • Hey Chicki, you bring up a VERY good point about e-publishing and being able to hold on to most of the royalties! That’s definitely something to think about.

      I think that’s wonderful that you’ve stepped into the world of e-publishing. I can’t wait until you give your first seminar on the process (hint, hint).

      I’ll have to check out your blog today!

      Comment by sharonccooper | August 10, 2010

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