Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Should I Self Publish My New Novel?


Should I self publish my new novel? New platforms? Stick with industry as before? Opinions?

Let me know what you think. I've published in the past with large NY-based companies. Everything in the industry is changing. I have nothing to prove re "getting published" but feel that with the new online ways to reach readers I may want to join the growing numbers of authors jumping out of the trade and go it alone. 


I've been working on a novel (funny) I started 17 years ago. I think I have a potential hit. But I also think I may know how to reach my readers in a better way than publishers will. 

On the other hand....

What do you think? 

44 comments:

John said...

I say find a mentor who has done it before successfully. I could give you some advice on best guesses, but I'm sure there's a lot to it.

Kathryn Lance said...

Frank, you have an actual platform, which means you have more options than most novelists. Since your platform is of the nonfiction sort, I would recommend self-pub, because a publishing house would probably not take much of a chance on you. If you're willing to do the work--get a good cover made, hire or cajole a professional editor, and then do whatever you can to promote it, I say go for it. You can "publish" for free a lot of places. If you'd like more info from a retired book pro who is having fun but not getting rich off self e-pub, drop me an email at k-l-a-n-c-e AT k-l-a-n-c-e- DOT COM.

SAURUS said...

Frank, being one of your biggest followers I would think self publishing would enable a sense of writing freedoms that a house wouldn't allow . Do it yourself, and you are right, you have nothing to prove anymore, the rest should be your way or no way! Look forward to your Novel either way!! THanks again to you ,my spiritual guru, Greg, Oxnard Ca.

Mishiginebig said...

Frank, I think every choice you've made to "go your own way" has been a hit and a liberating experience for all of us that look forward to your thoughts and contributions.

Take the chance! Buck convention!

Lib Jerk said...

After researching your bio, reading your blog posts and watching your interviews on MSNBC I suggest you go-it-alone. That fits best with your narcissistic belief that everyone wants or cares to hear what you have to say.

Max Kmeck said...

Unless you are concerned that a publisher would violate the integrity of your novel, I think you should go with the big publisher. Get published - get publicity - and allow others to discover your other self-published work through it.

I want to see you reach a wider audience, Mr. Schaeffer.

Marash Girl said...

I agree with Max Kmeck. Go with the big publisher. You already have a following! They'd be lucky to have you.

Marash Girl said...

I agree with Max Kmeck. Go with the big publisher. You already have a following! They'd be lucky to have you.

Contributors said...

I've had moderate success self-publishing 5 books; some historical, one fiction, and even some poetry. There is fluid and rapid capacity, without
warehoused cost, to address readers whom already know you well.
They will "allow" going off genre (which publishers frown on), and still buy a good read. It could be a win-win.
Suggestion: Createspace.com

Marcus Wasnea said...

Do you really care what people think? Let me guess, it will be an allusion about your awful upbringing (funny).

Kathy said...

Go for it, Frank! I've published with small presses and am now self-publishing and I love the control - more lucrative, too. And, for you, with such a well-known name, it should work quite well for you.

BobCMU76 said...

I was at a L'Bri (sp?) conference in 1971 at Covenant College, TN. I bought one of your tapes... I remember the knickers and garters your father wore, and think of him whenever reading Benny Hill-type humor. I was 16.

I've only read "Crazy" and "Portofino," but keep an eye out for opportunities to read others of your work, even from the Crossway days. You and Jayson Whitehead (a local journalist of your acquaintance) are my heroes.

You ask about self-publishing fiction (was your USMC stuff fiction, memoir, or both?) that's not Calvin Becker. The problem I see is that "Patience" -- the work I'm most eager to read, speaks to and for lots of folks like me, but speaks unamplified... at cross purposes to any who would give you a forum. I don't think the Sojourner crowd or the "God Delusion" crowd don't think of you as one of their own. I don't know who does. You're better off, I think, getting publicity through a publisher's organization than promote self-published work through an advocacy organization. You do have the ability to get on talking head shows to promote what you do. I saw you recently on Al Sharpton's show. Is that more of an advantage to a publisher, or a way to not need one? I've seen your by-line on Huffington Post. Same question. You speak for yourself. A publisher would not stand in the way of that, and might augment that. Self-promotion might lead you to associations you would regret.

David said...

Frank,

Christ is in our midst!

You should engage Amazon... They are now directly publishing books from authors and cutting out the middle-man.

I also have a good friend who has self-published several books through Lulu.com. You should check them out as well.

http://www.lulu.com/

your friend,
David, St. Joseph, MO

Lee Smith said...

Seth Godin has been writing about the changed publishing industry for a long while. Consider reading about his Domino Project, wherein his team published through Amazon and successfully marketed directly to his "Tribe." I think you should respond to the inner intuition and decide if you want to use someone like Amazon as the written publisher and the eBook or if you want to use Apple iBooks as the eBook platform. Apple is the highest commission to author (after Amazon deducts delivery fees) and there are nice added benefits if you want to engage the audience by video or bonus content.

Hannah Shaner said...

I'd suggest looking into e-publishing as an option. I work with a free DIY e-publisher called Booktango, and they really offer a lot of resources, free services and ease for authors (and they give you 100% of your royalties!).

There are a ton of e-publishing options out there, so I'd encourage you to do some shopping around!

chuck Cammarata said...

Dear Frank, I think I remember hearing you talk at Wild Goose last week about the last 50 pages of your novel and how your publisher and you had a difference of opinion about how to end the story. Seems to me That you clearly are a guy who is at a stage in your life and writing career where you want to have total creative control and present the story you want to present. I loved your complete honesty at Wild Goose - you don't pretend or play games. So self publish - do your own thing - tell the story you want to tell the way you want to tell it.

Charis said...

I sent you a email, Frank.
I'm going to write on your blog if you'd
rather. However, my email is not the same
subject as this blog.

Jennifer Ellen said...

Most publishers don't do much publicity-wise, at least not nearly as much as you probably do for yourself.

If you do decide to self-publish, I'd strongly suggest starting your own publishing company (which involves hiring your own graffic and layout designer and getting a good editor/s) and using Lightening Source. You will get a better product than the self-publishing companies will provide(including, maybe especially, Amazon) and you'll save money.

Walter Metrick said...

I think you should go solo. You have a large fan base. It is time to call your own shots. You deserve it. God /bless.

Walter Metrick said...

I think it is time to go solo. Go with e-publishing. You have a large enough fan base. It is time to call all the shots. You deserve it. God Bless.

Walter Metrick said...

I think you should go it alone. You have a large fan base and following. It is about time you call your own shots. You deserve too. God Bless.

Laura Grimes said...

I have no real answer to the question, but I know I would like to have your book as an e-book, so I can read it in my iPad. And as an audiobook in mp3 format.

DLW said...


Perhaps, you'd like to practice campaigning for your self-publication by helping me out?


I'm self-publishing for 3 reasons.
1)the publishing industry is a mess. 2) I want 60% of the proceeds to go to charities: a)anti-sex-trafficking, b) basic research to help blind people to see and to the Aspergers foundation (since my character Clopas is both a former blind person and on the Aspergers spectrum like me), and c) to subvert the cut-throat competition in US politics by supporting FairVote's campaign to push for American forms of Proportional Representation. 3, I trust the story and thus I don't think I need a publisher. It's a Christian Midrashim.

dlw

BrownSugar said...

Frank,

I just want to say that I think you're an awesom author!!!

naturalspirituality said...

Frank,

I agree with some of the commenters who encourage the self-publishing route... either Kindle or similar service or true self-publishing which gives even more control but probably more time-consuming to reach the same number of people than using Amazon, or others (based on my minimal knowledge, but I'm about to self-publish a spiritual growth e-book -- non-fiction).
Howard Pepper

Henry von Blumenthal said...

As one of the few independent British publishers left (Longcross Press), I say the whole publishing world is a manipulative fraud which has coined the phrase "vanity publishing" as a way to play on people's self-doubts. Hundreds if not thousands of brilliant writers are convinced that they are not Real authors if they are not published by a "real publisher." So if you can show that real authors do indeed self-publish, like Swift and his circle did, you will be doing everyone a favour. I hope it makes you rich at the same time.

Henry von Blumenthal

machinephilosophy said...

Hey Frank

I second Henry's comment. I'm publishing a reference work on the God debate, and will rely on quality to eventually brings the sales around. I'm very satisfied with the results of my first published work, a book of quotations, and did it through Createspace. If the quality really is there (and I just got through reading your book on mediocrity), the quantity will eventually take care of itself. Cheers

leeleereese said...

We listened to Portofino and Saving Grandma on a typical American family driving vacation. We still refer to "Tour de Spaz" and many other references. I would read or listen to any/all of your books. Much incite into Conservative Christianity. My husband and I were involved in Youth With A Mission for a year and can relate to much of your writing.

Rebecca Maurier said...

I must confess, I'm not a blog fan. but the standard of presentation and especially the quality of your content makes this blog most enjoyable.

Thanks
All female string quartet for hire

dlingner said...

If you have a strong following and you can get exposure yourself (interviews) on media outlets, then you probably don't need a publisher, to sell online to individuals. I guess the question I have is how you would plan to get your book into brick and mortar retail outlets. But as Christian retailers are closing their doors for business daily, it probably is almost a moot point.

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Carol Wigent said...

6All of your books are on my Kindle. I'd really like to keep them together. But whatever is most beneficial for you in a non-Republican sort of way, :)

Cryptoreformer said...

Why not do the self publish ebook an on-demand book? You are a well published an noticed author. Your fans would still buy your books.

Thanks,
Gary Cummings

Cryptoreformer said...

Frank,
I read your CRAZY FOR GOD in the past 2 days. It was interesting and answered a lot of questions for me about the Religious Right and their misuse of the pro-life issue for political ends. I take it you wrote that book to get money to leave the evangelical world.
Good move I think.
I read the early F.S. books and used a couple of them to teach an apologetics class in 1976. I had the feeling the later books would be used by the Religious Right. You verified what I felt. SOme of what you wrote was used as the justification of the murder of abortion doctors. Some of the Pro-life pastors even say that women who have had abortions should be executed.
I am really glad you left that. I am a pacifist pro-lifer. All I can say is I appreciate you telling your story, even if I think you are a bullshit artist.
Thanks,
Gary Cummings

Carol Wigent said...

Sorry, I've commented about self-publishing, but now I want to know if Calvin Becker has been up to anything since saving Grandma. I have a craving for the beach at Portofino or some other elegant but economical vacation, even Zermatt. Seriously :)

nanciemcdermott said...

Self publish it! I want to buy it already, and would rather buy it right from you. You make most of the money via self-publishing, given that you take the risk and do the sales/marketing/delivery/handling units work. And most of all: you've done it the old way, and wonderfully well. You'll always wonder....so go check this new thing out.

Peter said...

Self publish in e-book formats. With your skills you could even do some fancy stuff with ibook author (if you own a mac)...

T. Brook Smith said...

I am interested in your perspective on the influence of your father on a variety of current environmental issues. I would very much like to have that discussion if you are up for it. I think an exposition on "Escape from Reason" may be the key for understanding (and perhaps growing out of?) the kind of perspectives that make a hard divide between spiritual and physical things.

Carol Wigent said...

Is this blog dead? I have been looking for something interesting from you, but have had no luck. Mr. Schaeffer, where are you :)

John Converse said...

Frank, I've starting reading Dancing Alone after I watched a Youtube video of your interview about the book! Wow! The first chapter is awesome and I can't wait to continue it during spring break. I'm an ORU theology student so studies come first but I can't wait for spring break to get here to read your book! If you feel that you know better than your publishers then go ahead and try it! I'll definitely read your books! And I'm telling everybody about your books!
John Converse

Robert E. Mims said...

If anyone can make the digital/self publishing option work, you could.
I would think the trick would be making your offering stand out above the flood of others trying to self-publish lesser works. You're established, a name, so that should be a big leg up, yes?

Ann Lee Miller said...

As a brand new fan (finished Portofino yesterday) and self-pubbed author, I vote for self-publishing.

Your well-established platform will easily translate into sales. You no longer need the publishing machine. If you don't already have a publicist, hiring one would cost a pittance compared to surrendering the lion's share of your sales to a traditional publisher.

Anyone can figure out how to self-publish e and print versions, or to save time, hire out the tasks. Professional book cover designers, freelance editors (a must), and formatters have set up shop since e-books tossed the publishing industry down the same rabbit hole the music industry fell into.

Best of luck whatever you decide. Write on!
Ann
AnnLeeMiller.com

thedailyhatch.org said...

Make sure every word of it is true. That may shorten the length of the book considerably.

nomade said...

I am reading your "Patience with God", and I was struck by your description of the four senses of the Bible according to "St Augustine" - which is usually understood as referring to the bishop of Hippo. The famous couplet is generally attributed to Augustine of Dacia (no saint, as far as I know): «Lictera gesta docet, quid credas allegoria, moralis quid agas, quid speras anagogia».
Of course, "anagogia" is not the same as "analogia".
Giuliana Carugati