Published! Does it matter how?

June 1, 2011 | By | 15 Replies More
Between by Cyndi Tefft

Cyndi Tefft takes on the topic of self-publishing. She published her book Between, independently,without a publishing house.


Co-workers and acquaintances exclaim and ask when they see the print copy of my book.

“You got published?” They ask.

That question is hard for me to answer. I know they’re expecting to hear the name of a famous publishing house.

Sometimes they ask, “Who published it?”

That one is easier. I just smile and reply, “I did!”

Their reactions are either confusion or awe:  confusion because they didn’t know a person could do that, or awe because they can’t imagine being gutsy enough to do that.

Strangely enough, I always expect them to react with pity, as in “too bad you’re not good enough to have gotten traditionally published.”

That’s the line authors hear in the writing community.

The farther down the self-published track I go, the more I think that awe is the correct response.

Publishing is an uphill battle

Self-publishing is hard.

I’m not saying that getting traditionally published is easy; we all know it’s really hard to get noticed, to get an agent or a publisher. But, once you’ve landed that agent, editor and contract with a big house, there are people working FOR you. They have the same goal you do: to sell a gazillion copies of your book and have the world SQUEE! over how fabulous it is.

It’s in their best interest (and yours) to put their formatting, editing, sales and marketing expertise to work. They polish, present and distribute the book for you all over the world.

The self-published author has to do everything alone, or contract out various parts to experts, whom you have to find and pay for prior to any sales.

The self-published author also doesn’t have the bookstore distribution channels available to those who’ve been traditionally published.

The large bookstore chains are not interested in carrying crate loads of your book and depending on the service you use to publish, they couldn’t stock the book even if they wanted to!

And, even with reviewers there are closed doors. Many bloggers note in their review policy that they don’t accept self-published works. If you have gone the solo route, whatever your reasons were, you will find it to be a tough road.

Does that mean it’s not worth it?

Hell, no! If the choice is to leave your beloved story in the proverbial nightstand drawer where no one will ever see it or to go it alone, then by all means, self-publish!

It’s possible that your story doesn’t fit a particular genre or would be hard for an editor to sell for a dozen other reasons. Those reasons may have nothing at all to do with the quality of the story or your writing. You have a choice now where you didn’t before, and that is worth celebrating!

Author Cyndi Tefft

Author Cyndi Tefft

Using resources like Createspace, Pubit!, Lightning Source, Smashwords, Kindle Direct Publishing and more, you can now share your story with the world YOUR WAY. Take the time to polish it. Get outside assistance on that if at all possible because you want it to be the best it can be. But do it! Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t or that your book is somehow less because you did all the work yourself.

Then, one day, when you’re showing it off to your co-workers and acquaintances and they say, “Wow! You got published?” You can answer, as I do, “Yes! And I’m proud to say I published it myself.”

What have you experienced around actually or possibly publishing independently?


Between is a young adult paranormal romance between a girl who dies in a car accident and the 18th century Scottish Highlander who comes to take her to heaven.

Follow @CyndiTefft on Twitter. Read and subscribe to Cyndi Tefft’s blog. Check out Between, Cyndi Teffts YA paranormal romance novel.

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Category: How to Get Published, Independent Publishing

Comments (15)

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  1. Cyndi, I’m so impressed! Because this sounds exactly as if I WROTE IT!! hehe! YES, self-publishing is hard, but “traditional” publishing is so much harder on the psyche, patience and tolerance levels, and on the purse!!

    I sit around, daily, in my pajamas, getting an email occasionally that says “You’ve made a sale!” from any of the 5+ outlets where my books (and ebooks) are for sale. Then once a month, I get an email that says “We deposited $XXX in your account for this month’s sales.” I NEVER got that kind of service or response from brick-and-mortar publishers!!

    And BTW, if you ever do any publishing in the educational arena (3/4 of mine are educational books), there’s a site called that is EXCELLENT for placing your books! I LOVE that site, and make about 1/3 of my money off ebook sales on that site.

    Keep up the good work!! I’m proud OF you (’cause you’re “one of us!”) and proud FOR you!!

    Johnnie W. Lewis
    25 books and counting…

  2. I do wish I had discovered this as well as several other forums before signing on the dotted line. That said, aside from prestige issues etc., it all boils down to resources. Had I the resources I would probably have self published – you either believe in your work or you don’t. Unfortunately I didn’t have the resources so I was grateful that a publisher (albeit a new house) was willing to take the project on. The result remains to be seen of course.

    I think we all need to stick to our guns.

  3. In truth there have been good authors and bad ones for centuries and self-publishing (formerly called vanity press) has existed for almost as long as the written word. So, in a word, no, it doesn’t matter. For centuries ‘The Church’ embraced the same filter model as publishing holds onto. In the end readers will seek quality and find it.

    Teresa Fritschi
    Author – All That I Need, or Live Like a Dog With Its Head Stuck Out the Car Window
    Twitter: @TeresaFritschi
    Kindle, print and companion journal available on Amazon, Nook and iPad on Lulu

  4. Er, yes it matters. Or it might matter, depending on what you want. Sorry. Traditional publishing has the mark of authority – someone other than you thinks your work is good enough to be saleable and is willing to put money behind it. There are many reasons why books are NOT published, but only one reason they are published – the publisher believes they can make money from the book. And readers depend on that judgment – whether wisely or not.

    I am NOT saying there are not lots of perfectly good self-published books, quite probably including yours. But there are also very, very many extremely poor self-published books (and that’s why bookshops won’t take them – they don’t have the time to waste reading through the rubbish ones to find the good ones). So self-published books keep poor company, which makes it harder for the good ones to shine.

    If you just want your book in print, self-publishing is fine. I notice you mention co-workers, so you have a paid job. Perhaps you don’t need the income from your books. I hope not, because it is incredibly difficult to market your books sufficiently well to earn a living from writing. That’s true even for authors with big publishing houses behind them. Although you get more of the cover price is you self-publish, you have to be lucky to sell enough copies for that to make a difference.

    I wish you the very best of luck with your self-publishing. Hope you can make it work!

    • Cyndi Tefft says:

      Thanks for your comment. I think the key piece of this is “depending on what you want.” Knowing what your goals are and managing expectations is critical going in. You’re right. I do have a day job and have no intention of leaving it. I don’t depend on sales of my book to pay the bills, which is just as well because they wouldn’t. As you stated, many traditionally published authors don’t make enough on their books to write full-time, either.

      That was never my goal, nor my expectation. My hope was only to share my story, to have it “out there” for people to read and enjoy. And I’ve been so blessed to connect with readers on Twitter, Facebook and Goodreads who’ve expressed their love for the story.

      Without the availability of self-publishing, that would never have happened.

      Thanks for the well wishes!

  5. Janece Herrington says:

    In this day and age, getting published in ANY capacity is a major accomplishment! When my first article in our regional industry magazine was published, I thought ‘That’s it! I’ve finally broken through the paper ceiling!” LOL Yeah, so what if it was on Green building and the upcoming Baby Boomer retirees – and not my first book?? We all gotta start somewhere 🙂

    Great post!

  6. Nettie says:

    While I will try to get published traditionally, I will certainly consider self-publishing if I get positive feedback on what I’ve written. Congratulations on your success and thank you for sharing it here.

  7. Cyndi Tefft says:

    Katherine- I released the book June 1, so haven’t tried shopping it to traditional publishers since making the decision to go indie. I’m glad I did. I might try traditional again for a future book, but not this series.

    Amelia and Elizabeth- Yes, it is hard work but I can’t imagine having such little control over cover, title, etc like other authors have to deal with. There are definitely pros and cons!

    KC- Thanks so much! *high fives back*

  8. Good luck, Cyndi! YA paranormal romance seems to be in fashion at the moment, so it should sell well… have you tried a traditional publisher with it lately?

  9. Amelia James says:

    This has been my experience with self-publishing. Readers don’t care how the book gets printed (or downloaded). They’re just glad they can read it. Self-publishing is more work than I ever imagined, but it’s worth the effort.

  10. I so agree, it’s a lot of work, but so worth it in the end. I am in total control. Besides I would still have to do most of it even if I was published by someone else unless you are a big name not much is done to help you then I would be working hard and splitting it with them. Not!

  11. K.C. Hilton says:

    Cyndi, you’re an inspiration to all of us! Writing is the easy part to those of us that self-publish. After that we turn into a marketing guru and a social networking blogger. It’s hard work, but fun and exciting at the same time.

    You’ve done a job that takes several people to do in traditional publishing houses. That alone deserves a high-five! Keep up the wonderful work. I can’t wait to read your book!

    K.C. Hilton
    The Magic of Finkleton

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