2 Alarming Reasons You Should Self-Publish

Self Publishing

Though I’m early in my writing career, I’ve run across many authors who are not. And, in seeing their experiences, I’ve come to the conclusion that more people may benefit from self-publishing than I once might have thought. These two issues are puzzling (and somewhat alarming) reasons why self-publishing may be a better way to go than waiting on a traditional large publisher or even a small press (with or without the help of an agent) to decide to publish your work for you.

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1. The Lack of Editing

I know this may sound strange, but I’ve found that about 90% of the people I know of who have gone through a traditional publisher–mostly small presses–were not provided with proofreading or editing services of any  kind. They either had to edit the book themselves or come out of their own pocket to hire someone to read their work. I would have thought that fast and accurate proofreading services would have been one perk of involving a third party to publish your work. But if the publisher isn’t ensuring that your copy is clean, why work with them? If you are thinking of going the traditional route to publish, do your homework and be certain that this service is part of the deal.

As a self-publisher, you will have several options related to how you can get your work proofread for cheap or even free ( I discuss this in my online self-publishing courses) because you will have complete control. While there is nothing wrong with reviewing your own work for mistakes, I believe it is critical to get other people involved in reading your drafts. I don’t see any other way to fill in your own mental blind spots. We tend to get comfortable with believing our work is acceptable because we insert what we MEANT to write into what we ACTUALLY put down on the page. Getting various outside perspectives on your work is the only way that I know of to circumvent this.

2. The Lack of Promotion

Just as dumbfounding as seeing people have works published that so obviously have not been proofread or critiqued by anyone, is the fact that many authors working with a publisher still have to do the bulk of their own marketing, especially promotion. You would think that, with multiple outlets at their disposal (pod casts, social media accounts, blogs, etc.) a publisher would be able to help you take your marketing to the next level. If an author still has to do all of the event coordination, social media announcements, etc. what exactly was the benefit of hooking up with a publisher?

Again, should you decide that you want to work with a publisher, talk to them about how much work you’ll be responsible for, versus how much they’ll be responsible for. Take a look at how well some of their other artists are being represented. If possible, have a conversation with some of the authors that they represent in order to get a more fair representation of what working with that particular press is going to entail.

 

On a consistent basis, I get the impression that a self-published writers (like an independent singer or a free agent in athletics) is a more empowered writer. If you’re on the fence about self-publishing, I hope you’ll attend Self-Publishing 101 to learn a little more about the process to help you make your decision about it.

Query Perfection: Reviewing Christopher Kokoski’s ‘Query Letter Swipe File’

Query Letter Swipe File Kokoski

This is a kick-ass tool for your traditional publishing arsenal. This is “query letter how-to” meets “plug-and-play”. In Query Letter Swipe File, Christopher Kokoski once again delivers clear, no-nonsense guidance on an integral part of traditional publishing: the query letter.

What Will You Learn?

Query Letter Swipe File breaks down the components of a solid query letter and then compartmentalizes them so that you can fill in the blanks based on your particular story. By presenting the information in a way that is flexible and easy to customize, Kokoski shows his deep understanding of how varied the literary world can be. Many authors still attempt to teach people with a one-size-fits-all approach.

How Is Information Presented?

The format is easy and quick to read / swipe through (hence the title). This is a fantastic book to have in your physical and digital library as a go-to reference for every query letter you’ll ever write. The paragraphs are short and casual. The language is easy to understand and doesn’t get bogged down in a bunch of technical jargon that slows down or confuses readers of some non-fiction. I truly believe that just about anyone could pick up this book and write a decent query letter–even if they’ve never done it before (like me!).

 

What Should You Look Out For?

It looks like there were a few typos present that may catch you off guard upon first reading, but it’s easy to get past them because of how the templates are set up. For example, in template #4 (the one I used for the query letter I’ve included), the copy read:

In [BESTSELLING AUTHOR IN YOUR GENRE] meets
[BESTSELLING BOOK OR MOVIE IN YOUR GENRE], this
story blends [GENRE COMPONENT], [GENRE
COMPONENT] and [GENRE COMPONENT] with [GENRE
COMPONENT].

So, as written, if completed, this section of my query letter might read:

“In Stephen King meets IT, this story blends childhood trauma, horror, and mystery with fantasy.”

which doesn’t make a lot of sense. But I believe he meant that you might say something like:

“In Stephen King’s novel IT, childhood trauma, horror, and mystery are blended with fantasy.”

What Will You LOVE About This Book?

The standout feature of Query Letter Swipe File is definitely the list of words and phrases that you can insert into the templates as you please. This means that Kokoski has done all the heavy lifting for you concerning how to word the openings, endings, and transitions that you’ll need to strengthen your query letter. I love it when instructions and tasks are made as simple as possible, and Kokoski has definitely done that in this book!

 

Final Verdict: 5 / 5 stars ⭐ ⭐ 

Query Letter Swipe File by Christopher Kokoski is fully loaded with everything you need to quickly and easily get a query letter constructed that will help you present your work in the best way possible.

Full Disclosure

I am a self-published author ONLY! I have never had to write a query letter and don’t know that I will ever have the desire or need to. However, in order to review this book, I did actually write a short query letter for Show Her using a template that was included in the book. You can read it at the end of the review.

 

About the Author

Learn more about Christopher Kokoski on his website: www.ChristopherKokoski.com.

 

Sample Query Letter for Show Her

Dear Supre Agente,

 

Based on your interest in dystopian and romantic literature, Show Her would be a perfect piece for you to represent.

 

Erika Wogo knows how to live a life that is the envy of everyone around her. She meticulously maintains her outward appearance, adheres to her husband’s every demand without question, and even passes her knowledge of being a proper wife on to others who are willing and eager to learn how to become (and stay) married.

 

But when a co-worker confesses to having an affair with Erika’s husband, Erika’s world view is shaken and the countdown to Erika’s divorce–and permanent social ruin–begins. Erika knows that it is only a matter of time before her husband will formally end their “purchase agreement” and leave her divorced and tainted for the rest of her life.

 

With a mix of cunning, determination, and sophisticated bio-weaponry, Erika does all she can to defend her marriage and her reputation against her husband’s infidelity. But, as adept as she is at managing her rivals in love, her loyal followers, her public persona, and the ex-boyfriend who still loves her without question, she will inevitably have to face the consequences of her nefarious actions.

 

Show Her is a dystopian psychological thriller blended with science fiction and romance. Show Her is a complete novella at 23,320 words. Please note that this is a simultaneous submission.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

Sincerely,

T. L. Curtis

TLCurtis@Volo-Press.com

404-666-1126