Author Raven West

Answering the “Are You Self-Published?” Question

It happened again.

Just after posting my last blog on the topic of  being labeled a “self-published” author, I was once again asked that very same question last night when I showed a co-worker a copy of the just released 2013 Small Publishers, Artists and Writers Network (SPAWN) catalog of books which featured my latest novel Undercover Reunion.  I very excited to have my novel included in this very prestigious publication, but when I showed it to my co-worker, he  glanced at the page where my book was listed and without even bothering to read the blurb, asked, “Are you self-published?”

Now, those of us in the industry who have been reading about all the wonderful advantages of  self-publishing wouldn’t necessary take this as anything more than a casual inquiry. An innocent question which would have normally solicited an innocent, and honest response.

If that were the case, I would have told him that publishing with Createspace,  wasn’t really “self-publishing” because there was no cost to me and I maintained full rights and complete control over the publication. I would have told him the royalties were much higher than having to pay an agent a percent of my income at the very low percentage that traditional publisher were offering. I would have listed all the many reasons why I chose to use Amazon’s publishing division for this novel and cite each and every point made on other writer’s blogs to validate my decision.

But this guy was not in the industry. What he was asking, in a somewhat condescending tone, was whether or not my book was good enough to have passed the “test” of agents, editors and finally some “magic authority” who deemed it worthy enough to pay me some pittance of an advance to publish my book. What his question really meant in regards to my book being listed in the catalog was, as my father (may he rest in peace ) would have said, A glick hot dich getrofen. Which roughly translated, means “a piece of luck happened to you” or in the vernacular, sarcastic and highly insulting; big deal.

What I should have replied to his question was,  “Does it matter?” What I actually said was “No, I didn’t self-publish. You can buy it on Amazon in print or Kindle.”In reality it wasn’t a total lie. Unlike many self-published authors who pay a subsidiary, such as iUniverse, LuLu, Fastpencil and the like, to “publish” their manuscript, Createspace charges absolutely nothing. I never have, nor will I even pay anyone to publish my work. So in effect, I didn’t exactly lie, I just didn’t tell him the entire truth. Either way, that little bit of truth seemed to satisfy his need to find my book worthy of his interest. He read the blub, paid no attention to the name of the publisher listed as Createspace, said it sounded like a good story and promised he’d go on-line later and download the ebook. We’’ll see.

Which leads me to my next thought.

Next weekend I’ll be participating in the Ojai, California WordFest “A Celebration of Words” bookfair. I’ll have a table where I’ll be selling and signing all four of my published books; Red Wine for Breakfast, First Class Male, Undercover Reunion and Journey to Dimension Nine –  Collection of Erotica Short Stories.

I’m also going to display a poster which will state the following:


Q. Are you self-published?
A. Why does it matter? Buy my books

Q. Who is your publisher?
A. Why does it matter? Buy my books

Q. What is your book about?
A. Read the back cover. Buy my books

Agent/Publishing Advice – $1.00 per minute. (will have a “tip” jar for this)

For more on my philosophy on bookfairs (and also the back story as to how Raven West came to be) read my article “On the Road to Riches – You Are What you Drive”

Will let you know how it goes!

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