Should I Self Publish my Book Baby… Yes? or No?



IΒ  face the most challenging decision in my writing career! …

THE FACTS …Welcome to the digital publishing revolution! Self publishing is upending the book industry! … Time for savvy authors to grasp this unique opportunity to self publish their quality books in eBook and digital print formats for an eager Readership.

I’m talking about REAL independent publishing here, not vanity publishing.

Authors who have their manuscripts fully developed, professionally edited, reviewed and multi formatted are at a distinct advantage in a struggling mainstream publishing economy.

My first book baby, ME AND HER: a Memoir of Madness has gathered unstoppable momentum.

My opening pages received hundreds of encouraging comments and likes.
Urgent requests to read my full manuscript are still coming in from Readers. Plus positive reviews. Letters of endorsements and support. Devoted followers requesting my ME AND HER newsletter. You the reader showing me your loyal support and encouragement, never ever giving up on me.

ME AND HER chronicles a teacher’s harassment by parents at her school, to breaking point and Beyond.

No other time in history, has mental health become such an critical issue in people’s lives and the community is begging for answers.
ME AND HER is riding a wave of euphoria after the launch of my recent pro-active campaign. You’re begging to read MORE of those gripping pages.

What should I do?

Wait for the mainstream publishing market to decide … if, when, where and how they will publish my inspiring story?
Self publish ME AND HER, taking control of getting my story out to the people who are begging to read it? And seize responsibility for my own writing career?

What I need to know …

If I did self-publish, would you read ME AND HER as an eBook and/ or in a high quality printed book?

I’m appealing for your personal support and advice at this time.

What would you do under the same circumstances?
Wait for a mainstream publisher to come along?

ORΒ  Self publish ASAP?

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40 comments to Should I Self Publish my Book Baby… Yes? or No?

  • Heather Golding

    Karen, you have worked so long and hard to get your book published, and it would seem that mainstream publishers are not interested in unknown authors, and I’ve had a taste of this too, therefore I know what its like, its frustrating! So perhaps its time for you to think about self-publishing, and you know my preference is to read an actual book rather than an e-book! As always, I wish you the best of luck with your publishing endeavours Karen, I only hope that I have the same amount of strength and tenacity as you appear to have to travel down this often difficult and lonely path to eventually publishing your memoirs. πŸ™‚

  • It’s a tough one Karen. Only you can answer that for yourself.

    But yeah, I’d probably buy your book as I know how hard you’ve been working to get it out there..


  • Michelle

    I have a similar issue. In fact my own book is about a similar topic. I just pulled it off because I have decided to self-publish in hard-copy too and am in the process of doing another round of editing before the big print. Go for it.

  • Graham Clements

    Hi Karen,

    Before you go down the self-publishing route, I think you should think about whether you have exhausted traditional publishing options. Do you feel that you have fully researched the publishing market? What about small independent publishers and overseas publishers?

    Do you know if publishers are publishing more memoirs from people who live with health issues? (From listening to the Book Show on Radio National, they seem to be on the increase). If your research shows that publishers are shying away from memoirs like yours then self publishing becomes more of an option.

    Yes, I would eagerly purchase and read Me and Her as a book or ebook. I have purchased self published ebooks/books and, more importantly, enjoyed reading some very good stories.


  • Thanks Heather for your awesome support. I plan to self publish my book in as many formats as possible …eBook and print. Love to share my journey with you πŸ™‚

  • Thanks Anthony, I will make sure that ME AND HER entices you in and its as professional as possible.

  • Thanks Michelle for your support. Good luck with your print copy … please send me a link when its up again πŸ™‚

  • Danni Jones

    I’m curious – why would you want to self publish if urgent requests for the manuscript are still coming in?

    The biggest difference between self publishing and traditional publishing (apart from the editing and marketing support) is distribution. Trad publishers have reps that deal with every bookshop in the country. Self pubbers can only reach so many of those shops, and even then many don’t stock self published books. You can of course sell online but then marketing becomes an issue – how do you stand out among the hundreds of thousands of other books also available online, some of which have significant marketing budgets behind them? How do you find and grow your audience?

    It’s not true that traditional publishers aren’t interested in unknown authors – debut novels and memoirs are published all the time, and every publisher would love to have the next big thing arrive at their door. They are however being more careful in what they buy, because everyone (readers and booksellers included) is watching their money. For a new author to be picked up the work needs to be absolutely top-notch in every way: story, characterisation, and writing. Produce that, and publishers will be falling over themselves to buy it.

  • Thanks Graham for your awesome support for my publishing journey.
    I haven’t exhausted all mainstream publishers. But I know the time is right for me to get ME AND HER out there, while I have momentum.

  • I’ve published three books the traditional way. Here’s some math. Publisher takes all the risk and I get a royalty on each book and an advance. They organise all the media, PR, exclusives, mailouts, quality/credible reviews, book signings, flights, hotels, airport transfers, etc…. I just turn up and I get a publicist who keeps my itinerary updated and chases me work. Then on top of this, I can buy my own books at 50% discount so for example: I buy books at $17 and sell at speaking events for $35. that’s not a bad profit margin.

    I’m not an expert on self publishing as I’ve not been in a position to do that but I am assuming that self publishers assume all the risk, costs and have to do all their own marketing and PR. Often their contact lists with book sellers, media and distributors are not as extensive and first timers may not be well connected or savvy.

    Food for thought.

  • Hi Danni,
    The urgent requests are coming from Readers, who want to read my book Now. I already have an audience … On my 3 facebook pages, twitter, my website, linkedin & all my various groups and through my two newsletters.
    I’m lucky to have fabulous advice and support and I’ve already written a 9 page marketing plan including Blog Tour and reviews. Please take a look my first two opening pages:)

  • Thanks Kay,
    I hope to see my four children’s books published via mainstream publishing.
    But ME AND HER’s powerful message needs to be published now. I’m lucky to have a savvy collaborator and adviser who I’ll be revealing in weeks to come. I can assure you the business percentages are extremely favourable to the author.


    Karen; there would be no harm in trying. Who knows; you might end up becoming a better publisher than an author. A lot of people will be trying to give you advice right about now; and they are doing so with your best interests at heart. Don’t listen to their hearts, listen to your own. It will prove to be invaluable.


  • To answer the first part of your question: As someone with a family member with bipolar disorder in my immediate family, I would certainly read it, Karen.

    To the other about wanting advice? Okay, you’re after honest sage advice – and mine would be that if all those people who are clammouring are really genuine, then I don’t see how you can lose.

    BUT – it’s always going to be a risk. But then again there’s a risk with all forms of publishing. If you self-publish, you bear all the financial costs which means facing the fact that there may be losses.

    On the other hand, when you publish the traditional way, you run the risk that the book won’t do well and thus can do irrepairable damage to your career. I.e. if sales are very bad, then pubs aren’t so keen to repeat the mistake and new pubs are wary. Don’t forget all publishers have access to all sales figures through Bookscan. I know of authors who have resurrected 3 careers, using new and changed names each time to try and escape the stigma of a book that has badly bombed.

    I would imagine there is less likelihood of this with a self pubbed book, as even if the worst happens – then you are the only one hurt.

    I think one of the things to remember is that you’re very good at marketing yourself. I don’t think I know of another unpublished author with such a high profile and who is so pro-active (and successful)at marketing as you. If I was richer I’d employ you! The other caution I’d advise though is to not go overboard with your sales predictions. Not every promise to buy will result in a sale. If it’s still cost effective (?I know it’s often cheaper per unit to order bigger numbers), I’d be thinking it would be better to run out and go to a second print run than to end up with a garage full of unsold books; surely that can’t be good for the psyche? Or your morale.

    And if it’s a runnaway success with several print runs, then that will probably attract the attention of traditional publishers. But then again, you won’t make as much money with trad pubs as you *could* make the self-pubbed way – if it works.

    You might also want to look at Booklocker (USA). I don’t know much about them, but I read that they were recently rated the best in the biz for self-pubbed books – and they apparently have a great marketing platform.

    Anyway – sorry to be so long-winded. Trust yourself – and follow your instincts. Hugs.

  • Thanks Garry for your advice! I’m listening to my gut feelings. I’m going to give self-publishing ME AND HER my very best shot!

  • WOW! Thanks so much Kaz for all this well considered advice and awesome encouragement!
    I have worked out the printing order thing … and it will be very cost effective and low risk. Please stay tuned in coming weeks and months as I reveal my journey and plans to self-publish πŸ™‚

  • Hi Karen,

    Although my book is about 14 months away from being ready, right now my mentality is I will have the book self published and also shop traditional publishers. However, my goal is to remain as in control as possible to my book rights and in 14 months the industry will likely be made up of mostly eBook sales by then. (I imagine more eBook outlets/recommendation websites will crop up, as well as new markets. Likely the agent/editor/publisher relationships will have evolved, too.)

    I don’t know how this might help you, but like other people have said only you can determine what is best for your baby. I’m sure you will make the right choice!

  • Thanks Mark, for dropping by. Fabulous to “meet” you twice in one day. Yes, the publishing industry is changing rapidly and fabulous opportunities exist for authors to self-publish if they’re savvy and determined to succeed.

  • Ruby

    Hi Karen, I belive that self publishing your memoir will be the way to go because to be honest, there isn’t a market no matter how compelling the work is unless the memoir is written by a celebrity, famous person etc. That’s why Kim Kardashian has her memoir out and others like you don’t!

    Self publishing will be fufilling for you – I can see you having a satisfying journey speaking to small audiences and making a difference in people’s lifes and selling the book to people who do want it. I see you being savvy enough not to get ripped off or lose thousands in the process.

    As for you kid’s childrens books etc – hang onto those for the traditional publishing. There is a HUGE market for children’s books with the potential to be popular.

    I think you have identified the problem to why your memoir isn’t going to get traditionally published and good on you for steering this new course.

  • Thanks Shirley for dropping in with your opinion and support,
    The pendulum is still swinging on my decision to self publish my memoir or not. Since I’ve made this announcement, incredibly, interest in my memoir is again mounting.
    I will definitely take the traditional route for my children’s books as I hope to get them published there πŸ™‚

  • Hi Karen,

    Interesting question. I think you have to do what’s best for your book. Sometimes it’s not always going down the traditional route. When it comes to the music industry for instance, artists and management are doing different things online and finding other avenues to get there music out there. In the end of the day, it really comes down to your gut and what you think is best for your book. I certainly for one would be very interested in reading your book further having read a little from what you have posted. I think it definitely has potential and will certainly help others in the process.

    Marketing, branding and getting yourself out there through the right channels is very important and doing it at the right place at the right time is crucial in the success of your book. I know a few self publishers and they yes work hard to make a go of it and have to do more vs mainstream. Of course with anything there are always pro’s and con’s though you know your book. Go with your gut instinct and make a go of it! What do you have to loose? If you don’t do it you will say what if!!!

    Best wishes Karen and I look forward to seeing your journey..

    P.S. If you require a testimonial for your book, I’d be more than happy to provide one.

  • Thanks Nicole, I really appreciate you following my journey with ME AND HER. I have so many things to weigh up at the moment, my head is spinning. Thanks for your offer of a testimonial / review. That would be awesome πŸ™‚

  • Mark


    Oh and Kindle it too!!!

  • Thanks Mark for your over whelming enthusiasm and vote of confidence πŸ™‚

  • Karen, I’m probably not someone who’d buy the book, but I can offer a couple of observations if you like.

    First off, my back-of-a-fag-packet rule of thumb is that if you self publish (print) you need to sell about a fifth of the total number of books to make the same money as if someone else publishes you. That’s a large difference. For every 5,000 books a publisher sells, you only need to sell 1,000 yourself. The ratio is much better for ebooks.

    A trad. publisher may well be in a position to sell five times more books than you, however, and possibly a lot more. It all depends on the publisher and what they are willing to do to make your book succeed. The only way to know that in advance is to press them hard on what their marketing strategy will be and what the distribution of your book will be. It’s worth considering that smaller publishers will certainly expect you to do a lot of the work for them. The smallest publishers may have far inferior reach to your own (ask them how big their direct marketing mailing list is, for example).

    My own experience with small publishers has been disappointing – although I only have experience there with fiction. I have published non-fiction through Macmillan and Hachette and both were terrific. Overall, I don’t think I’d consider a small publisher again because I know I could do just as well if not better by self-publishing.

    Best of luck, whatever you decide.

  • Joanna Gaudry

    Yes, self publish, Karen. Your story deserves to be told. I like hard copies of books (as opposed to e-books), but I’m sure you can arrange for Print on Demand (POD) copies. Have a wonderful festive season. Joanna xx

  • Thanks Graham, I really appreciate you dropping by to share your experience and advice. Thanks for giving me an overview of self publishing vs trad. publishers vs small publishers. I’m weighing it all up before I make my decision πŸ™‚

  • Thanks Joanna for supporting me throughout 2011 and into 2012. I’m so damn determined to see ME AND HER published. Yes, it definitely will be in print form. Have an awesome festive season too πŸ™‚

  • Karen, do both ebook and POD. If you sell lots either way, the publishers will come to you requesting they publish your book. It is already happening with other Indie authors. Even Amazon is offering print publishing to sell through Amazon once the ebooks sales take off.

    I have all my fiction up on Smashwords to send to Barnes & Noble, Nook, iBooks, Kobo and more, and this week put all up on Amazon Kindle but have not set up POD yet. I am waiting to see if any take off (selling more than 100 ebookss a month) before I set up POD.

    There is a good blog article that sets out how much money you are missing out on, while waiting for a publisher to notice you. And his figures are modest, achievable.

    The same site has step by step instructions on creating a publishing company, and getting your books into book stores in USA. No doubt, the same steps will work in Australian bookstores.

    I agree that marketing is different for non fiction and fiction, but there are lots of free books (processes) for marketing both types that are easy to do.

    If you need links, I am happy to supply them. First step is formatting and I can help with advice or links to advice. Then cover design. You can do it! πŸ™‚

    On another note, do you know if any of the local authors need to learn how to format MOBI files to upload to Amazon? I am happy to teach them how or provide links if they are computer literate and can follow simple steps.

    Good luck publishing your books. πŸ™‚

  • Gayle Black

    Hi Karen, the way I see it (especially after reading all other comments), if you self-publish then YOU SHOULD HAVE CONTROL!!! And wouldn’t that be nice, in light of the circumstances that caused you to write your memoirs? Earlier this decade things were taken out of your control, and I suspect that you feel that the time has come for YOU to dictate the terms regarding that subject. Go for it, ol’ buddy – tread carefully at first, then if the water seems safe, dive in!!! I hope you understand what I’m trying to say.

  • Jan Mills

    Hi Karen,
    Have been reading through everyone’s comments.
    As I(struggling, unpublished wanna be!)am in no position
    to tell you what I think would be best for you,
    I honestly think you should ‘go with your gut’. You
    were so excited when I saw you last Sat (about self pub).
    I would buy a hard copy as I haven’t yet caught up with
    the electronic revolution. My senior brain has to get a grip
    on technology!
    Blessing to you and yours this Christmas and here’s to the New
    year being awesome.
    Jan x

  • Thanks so much Diane for responding with so much detail and suggestions. I’ll be printing off this page plus the info on the link. I’m trying to learn everything about this publishing business. Thanks especially for all your offers πŸ™‚

  • Hi Gayle, Fabulous to see you here. I really appreciate your awesome support and encouragement. I know exactly what you mean! πŸ™‚

  • Thanks Jan for your awesome support on my writing and publishing journey. I’m sussing out every bit of information on this publishing business before I make an informed decision. Hope you have a fabulous Christmas and 2012 too! πŸ™‚

  • Robin Thomas

    Hi Karen
    You’ve raised an interesting question that I think a lot of emerging authors are asking themselves and it’s been fascinating to read the comments here. It seems you’ve done a lot of the groundwork already by creating interest, having a lot of potential readers and great networking skils. I’m sure you’ve done some research, but it might be an idea to get a book or two on setting up your own business – which is basically what self publishing is. There are many good books on the market – I’ve just given my son Great by Choice by Jim Collins, as he is thinking of setting up a music business. There are many others too. If you do decide to self publish, I’d be happy to purchase the e-book. Good luck, Karen!

  • Thanks Robyn, for contributing to the discussion here on self-publishing. Six months ago I developed a nine page marketing plan.
    But you’re right ! If I decide to self-publish, I’ll need a Business plan too. Thanks for your advice, your book suggestion and your support for ME AND HER.

  • Lexie Mitchell

    Such a lot of wonderful comments. I have heard/read that sometimes trade publishers will pick up on a self published book and make an offer. I can’t say why but I guess if they realise it is having an impact on the readers out there they will want to jump on the bandwagon so to speak. There is always that possibility.

  • Thanks Lexie for supporting me with your advice and encouragement. In this months ASA magazine are two positive articles on self-publishing success stories. Please stay tuned with my decision and next steps πŸ™‚

  • Thanks Ang and Blue Dingo… same to you πŸ™‚

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