Yes You CAN!

Alright, as a fair warning, this blog is a bit personal to me. So I apologize in advance for any and all who may be offended.

Earlier today, I read a very disturbing post(string of posts actually) in a writing group online. I admit, I don’t really care for these groups in general, so it may be my fault in the end. But I am a member of several. I’m like that guy who buys a house in a gated community and then moves goats in to chew the grass. I don’t belong and the neighbors really don’t want me there.



Today, a struggling self-published author asked for advice. A very popular and well-established author gave her the worst advice I’ve ever heard. We’ll call the established author Jane Doe as I’ve been down this road before and have the retaliation 1* reviews on books to prove it. The reply? – You simply cannot self-publish a good book by yourself without spending money.

Wait, are you kidding me? Am I dreaming? What’s going on here?

It was then furthered by suggesting $1,000+ for editing and $1,000+ for a cover! I’m not standing on my soapbox here people, I’m dancing the jig on this mother f*cker! ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

Of course, the struggling/new author ate it up, taking the established author at their word. And, sadly, the end result will most likely be an author walking away from the business a couple of grand lighter and full of frustration. So I thought I would respond here, rather than reply in said writing group. Seems each time I knock an established author down a few notches, they get a bit pissed off about it.

First, let me address the(or any) new/struggling authors who are choosing to self-publish. If you are burning up the boards of every writing group in town, seeking advice and, above all, confidence; why are you writing in the first place? Let me be clear about this. The publishing world is filled with troll-sharks(trolls who swim with anticipation) who are waiting to destroy your dreams. Publishing agents(who are comprised of authors who couldn’t cut the mustard themselves), authors filled with envy, and established authors who have a swollen head. People do not care if you fail or succeed in this industry(for the most part). If you don’t have the testicular-fortitude and confidence in your own writing, readers never will. So either grow a set or bow out with some dignity. Don’t become one of the many who wander around seeking validity from others.

Next, I’d like to address the established author who is giving this kind of advice out. You’re an idiot! You may not feel you have the ability to get your work to the finish line without paying for someone’s help…hell, you may just feel it is beneath you. But, just because you can’t(or won’t) do it, doesn’t mean others can’t. I do it every single day. You’ve fired off a couple of Top-100 books in your genre, congrats, but Macy’s hasn’t exactly started planning a second parade in your honor. Any good writer knows they get into the Top-100 because of their readers. Been there, done that. But at no time have I ever discouraged another writer. I do anything and everything to help them, and part of that is explaining to them that yes, you CAN do it by yourself. It is a hell of a lot of work, and it does require you to stop talking about your own accolades for five minutes, but it is possible to self-publish, make a living at it…and do it for free.

Finally, I just wanted to thank all of the others who help. Jason Halstead and Michael Hicks, I’m looking at you. There are others, of course, but the most important thing here is that you are taking away from the stigma “self-published work is garbage” rather than adding to it. I used to think that pompous traditionally-published authors were the worst kind, but I stand corrected. It’s the self-published authors who have forgotten their roots. Forgotten their readers. Those who write for the egotistical pat on the back, rather than the love of writing. Shame on you.


7 thoughts on “Yes You CAN!

  1. While Jane Doe obviously has her head up her rear, it is true that you can’t make a decent product without investing either money or your own time. For those who don’t have talent or skill in a particular area of publishing, it might make sense for them to seek outside help, but it certainly doesn’t mean you CAN’T do it if you have enough drive and dedication.

  2. In addition to the three established authors named here – John Davis, Jason Halstead, and Michael Hicks – Steven Montano is successful as a writer through self-publishing, though he hasn’t quit his day job. I know Michael writes full- time. I’m not sure about John and Jason. Regardless of employment status, all four are insipirations for my own writing.

  3. Okay, so the soapbox looks a bit small for company, but can I join in? This was great and as someone who is looking to self-publish my novella, I am encouraged by your words here. And hope you’ll happily dance a jig on that box to celebrate when (note: it’s when p, not if!) my novella is a hit 😀

  4. I heard exactly that same “advice” and I have to admit that I loosened my corset-stays and giggled at it. What nonsense. The world’s technology has moved on, it is perfectly possible to self-publish for amost £zero. What the Jane Doh! “professional” is doing is misinterpreting the situation – absolutely, great writers can now publish great writing for almost nothing (except time and lots of very hard work); the change has been that a million terrible writers can also do the same without the time and hard work (or talent).

    I love the ending of the vast publishing house cartel and their iron grip on the throat of the “printed” word – I’m dancing on that particular facet of the industry’s grave!

    Once upon a time (mayhap on a dark and stormy night..) you had to be in the clergy to read at all. Then you had to be in bed with the big publishing houses to have a chance at being allowed to write. Now you just need to be on the internet. Fantastic.

  5. Thanks for the comments! The gatekeepers of the publishing world have went from being “publishing agents” to readers, and that’s how it should be. In the end, the readers are the most important ingredient, not the bottom line.

  6. I agree in part. No one should be discouraged from their dreams. But if you’re making a product for public consumption, it has to be worth their money. That means having it edited, if only by a spouse or a group of friends (they’re free). You’re only hurting yourself with a poorly edited book. No one will want to read it or any future books, and that’s the goal of a writer.

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