Friday, September 14, 2012

Self-pubbing: Not a fad diet

About five years ago now, after years of the college lifestyle hit my waist line, I decided that yo-yo dieting was enough and I had to do something to change.  I joined Weight Watchers, lost almost 50 lbs and felt better than ever, but of course the weight eventually came back on after having a kid and my love of french fries.

I tried to go back and do Weight Watchers again, tried every diet in the book and none of them worked. Why? Because it's not about doing a fad diet it's about a lifestyle change.

The same thing can be said for self-pubbing. People look at the careers of authors like Amanda Hocking or Hugh Howey and think that is their fast track for getting their book out there and become a billionare. I'm here to say that like a fad diet, self-pubbing success doesn't always happen over night and it's more about changing your attitude then just putting something up on Amazon.

Not all diets/books are created equal.

So your friend self-pubbed her book and now makes 10K a month from writing? Why can't you? Well, there is a possiblity that you can, but more than likely it's not going to happen overnight. Your friend might be Amanda Hocking that hit it big when self-pubbing started and for some reason your little book about aliens just isn't getting an audience. Does it mean you give up on your self-pubbing diet? Now on to exhibit two...

You have to be in it for the long haul

Sure, there are people that you see their success and you think "Man they did that in no time!" But then did you look at the big picture? Did that person spend three years building their platform before they published? Sure, some people will get success right away and then you see amazing authors like M. Leighton that have fourtneen books published and it was their fourteenth book that got them on the NY Times best seller list. Patience is the key.

Shortcuts don't help you

Think you can just go a few days with eating salads and the weight wont come back when you eat normal? Wrong. It's the same with self-pubbing. You want to get the book out quickly and start making money so you scimp on editing, having your critique partners look at it, but still think it's fine. Then the reviews role in complaining about typos, you get returns galore and wonder why all your "weight" came back.

Jealousy doesn't help you

I whine all the time when someone bounces back from having a baby and looks like a model, but does it help me feel any better? No. Don't compare yourself to anyone because all that is going to get you is dissapointment. Sure she may have sold more books than you, but maybe look at what she's done to market her books. If you do the same thing and it doesn't work, remember that not all fad diets are created equal. I did some paid advertising that other Indelibles did. They had a multitude of sales, I think I got one or two.

Sweat is just weakness leaving the body.

I saw this in a Nike ad. Throughout my weight loss time I spent a lot of time crying and a lot of time sweating. There were weeks that I lost two pounds and weeks that I'd gained two pounds. The key is to not give up. The same goes for self-pubbing. There will be days you sell absolutely nothing, heck, with the first six months of How to Date an Alien being on sale, I barely sold a book a day. I cried a lot, put a lot of effort in to marketing, and still nothing. I cried a lot, A LOT, but then I realized that I had to pick myself up and keep pushing. I put out the second alien book and then put out My Paper Heart. I'm not making 10K in sales a month, but I'm doing well enough that I think I can get that new MacBook Pro I've been eyeing and possibly get the bigger car I really want in a few months.

In conclusion

Some people will get published and do well and some wont. But if you want to do well in self-publishing you have to remember, it's not a fad diet, you have to be in it for the long haul to see results.


Magan Vernon started her writing career by writing fan fiction about olympic athletes. Now she writes young adult and New Adult including the international best selling MY ALIEN ROMANCE series and MY PAPER HEART. When not writing she tackles insurance claims, a curious toddler, and a husband who is not an olympic athlete but sometimes she pretends he is.

You can find her online at

or support here and pick up a book on Amazon (she promises that none of them are about fad diets, but do include prailines)


  1. Awesome! And writers never know what books will be popular and which ones won't be! Same with traditional too. All you can do is keep writing!

    1. Definitely the same for any form of writing! Persistance pays off!

  2. Replies
    1. The best part of this post is using a picture of my daughter when I first tried to give her solid foods. Another thing I thought would NEVER happen: her eating solid food.

  3. Magan,
    Great advice! I am self-pubbing book two in my romantic suspense trilogy and this blog came just at the right time. Thank you and good luck with My Paper Heart!
    -R.T. Wolfe
    Black Creek Burning (Crimson Romance, September 2012)

  4. That's a great analogy between self-pub and diets. I appreciate the good advice!

  5. You stated it very well, as always!

  6. Nice article, Megan. I've read several of late that are saying the same kinds of things, but I like your analogy with dieting, (something I, unfortunately, know a lot about!). You're obviously in good company with these thoughts. Thanks for sharing.

  7. First of all, I LOVE the picture. You have quite possibly the cutest little daughter in the entire world. Second, I can relate to the whole diet roller coaster and how it's really not FAIR that I eat less than someone else and still weigh 30 pounds more than them, but GUESS WHAT: Life ain't fair! :) Same with (not just self-) publishing. All kinds of publishing. Small press authors with the professional editors and cover artists, have the same struggles with getting the word out there that THEIR book, amidst the millions on Amazon or wherever, is really worth reading. And we all know NYC-pubbed "big name" authors who struggle with sales numbers and lose contracts because of it. You have to be in this business because you love to write a good book, NOT because you want to make a lot of money. I'm sure if you add up all the hours that go into the brainstorming, plotting, writing, editing, publishing, promoting, we'd be better off at McDonald's. So, thanks for the great analogy, something most of us can relate to!

  8. A great informative post Magan. It's full of inspiration! Thanks for sharing!