Catching Fireflies

finding magic along the way

Don’t Panic! You are in good company.

In my newest quest for knowledge in the self-publishing world, I picked up The Complete Guide to Self-Publishing by Marilyn Ross and Sue Collier. Within the first chapter, I found inspiration.

Did you know that Mark Twain self-published The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn?

Zane Grey, Anais Nin, Walt Whitman, Virginia Woolf, Gertrude Stein, Edgar Allan Poe, James Joyce, Carl Sandburg and D.H. Lawrence… Self-publishers, all!

The best-selling self-help books What Color is Your Parachute? and Who Moved My Cheese? were also self-published before being picked up by on of the mainstay publishers.

Peter McWilliams, motivational speaker and author of Life 101, Do It!, You Can’t Afford the Luxury of Negative Thought, and many others, started his own publishing company, Prelude Press, and self-published over 40 books!

I am inspired! Every day everyday people are figuring this whole thing out – successfully! There is hope for me, after all. 🙂

There has long since been a stigma attached to the very idea of self-publishing. I mean, obviously a writer that couldn’t land a real publisher just isn’t good enough, right? But as more and more people become schooled in the technology required to produce quality e-books and print-on-demand ones, the need for those real publishers is diminishing. The gatekeepers are losing control and independent authors are crashing the gate!

An article in the online Huff Post on 5/16/2012, discussed how many bookstores were starting to find shelf space for self-published authors, something that was not happening in decades past. Used to be that in order to see your book on the shelves of the big name bookstores, you had to go the traditional route. But times they are a-changing.

The article’s author, Terri Giuliano Long stated, “Fact is, most people buy a book for one reason: they want a good read. Assuming the book delivers, they don’t care who published it; many don’t even notice. With publishing cachet exerting less influence on purchasing decisions, price has become more of a factor. In a depressed economy, it’s only natural to look for a deal—and indie authors offer one. With greater flexibility and lower overhead, self-publishers can afford to sell their e-books for a fraction of the price charged by large publishers.”

The key phrase in this was highlighted by me! A most excellent point, and one that gives writers permission to go forth and produce their best work possible, and PUBLISH it themselves! Really – do non-writers even look at the publishers on the books they read?

Now, I will grant that there are probably some substandard self-published works out there for sale, but I can also assure you that there are some books that have been picked up by publishers that are not great examples of top-notch writing and editing either. The stigma of self-published books being sub par is lifting and this is opening the marketplace and the world to new voices that have had the doors slammed in their face by the big publishing houses.

Remember, too, that a rejection from a big name publisher does not tell you much about the worth of a book. J.K. Rowling’s first Harry Potter book had received at least 12 rejections from publishers before being picked up, and look at her now! 🙂 How many authors started out along the self-publishing path only to later be picked up by major players in the publishing world? The ones I mentioned at the beginning of this post, certainly. Christopher Paolini’s Eragon was self-published first, as was Lisa Genova’s Still Alice. Both went on to great success with the backing of a major publishing houses.

In this day and age, the self-published author can hire independent editors, book designers, cover designers, and so on to aid them in turning out a professional quality book. They would most likely be handling all the publicity and promotion themselves regardless of the avenue they chose anyway, so why not reap the creative control allotted to the independently published author.

Ah, yes… so much to think about… 🙂


  1. Cheryl, great post. I’ll have to check out The Complete Guide to Self-Publishing!

    • I am getting a lot out of it and definitely recommend you check it out. So many books on publishing and the business of writing were published over five years ago and are already a bit out of date. The world is changing so quickly! 🙂

  2. You can do it and will be successful! Believe in ourself, you know what to do.
    I will share something that I received this morning via email from

    “Congratulations! Fantastic! You go, baby! I’m so happy for you. No one deserves it more. I love you so much.” That’s what people say after a really big dream comes true for a dear friend of theirs. Know what they often say beforehand?
    “You should be happy with what you have. Don’t forget to smell the roses. It’s all about you. No one ever died wishing they spent more time working.”
    When you love something enough, Cheryl, work becomes play, perspiration becomes inspiration, and it doesn’t matter what others may say.
    No one deserves it more,
    The Universe

    • Thanks, Chrissy!! I signed up to get these bursts of inspiration in my mailbox! LOVE them and it would seem the universe always seems to know exactly what I need to hear. 🙂

  3. Even though I still haven’t made up my mind regarding self-pubbing vs trad. pubbing, it’s good to be well-armed in either case. Thanks for the recommendation, and I will be reading that soon!

    • I think we should all just go for it! 🙂 I have freaked myself out by diving in to the learning pool — so many things to think about! – but the more I learn, the more I realize that I can do this. Scary but exciting!!

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