{Guest Post + Giveaway!} Why Self-Publishing Works for Me by Marie Flanigan

You may have noticed that I enjoy featuring authors who don't necessarily have big names. I think that a good story is a good story ... it doesn't matter who wrote it. With more authors turning to self-publishing, I've always wondered why they do so especially since the competition is stiff! Today I have self-published author Marie Flanigan sharing why she decided to go this route.  

Marie is also offering up a Kindle e-book (open INT!) of her book One Big Beautiful thing to one of my readers, so don't forget to enter! Thanks so much Marie and welcome to Guiltless Reading.

Why Self-Publishing Works for Me
by Marie Flanigan

I struggled with the decision to self-publish. Like many people I believed traditional publishing was the only legitimate path, but things change.

With the advent of the Internet, many entertainment industries went through massive changes. Those changes came later to publishing than they did to music, television, and movies, but they still came. I think if you’re a writer in today’s world, you have a lot of choices and that’s a good thing. I’m going to talk about what I like about self-publishing. It’s not for everyone, but it works for me and here’s why.

I like that I have primary control over my work. I can choose where it goes, what it costs, and what formats it’s available in. Of course, this control comes at a cost. I’m also responsible for publicizing my book. Personally, I like PR work. I’m an extrovert. I’m comfortable with social media and I like connecting with readers in person and online. Not every writer feels that way. Although, even in traditional publishing, the writer is expected to do the lion’s share of the marketing for their books unless she is a publishing rock star like J.K. Rowling. Publishing puts the vast majority of its PR budget into their bestsellers, so if you’re a midlist or lower list author, you’re not getting a very big piece, or in some cases any, of that pie. Since, as a new author, I knew I’d be doing my own PR work, I decided to do so for a larger piece of the royalties than I would have in traditional publishing.

I know a rather famous author whose books suffered when his editor left his publishing company for another one. This happens fairly often. You’ve probably experienced it yourself. You’re in the middle of a favorite series, you start the next book, and it suddenly seems like a different author wrote it. It doesn’t have the same feeling and you’re disappointed and confused. Often, the case is that a new editor has stepped in who has a different sensibility about how the work should go.

Jennifer Goode Stevens edited One Big Beautiful Thing for me. She did a wonderful job and I will continue to work with her in the future. Because she’s an independent editor, I don’t have to worry about her leaving me and signing a non-competition clause with some other publishing house. I appreciate that. I also don’t think traditional publishers give editors the credit they deserve. If you go to Amazon and look up One Big Beautiful Thing, you’ll notice that Jennifer is listed as the editor – something that’s generally only done for collections. Her contribution was significant and I wanted her editorial efforts noted. I’m in control, so I can do that.

There are writers who make a lot of money writing, but most don’t. Most authors write on the side of another more lucrative job or are lucky enough to be supported by someone else while they write. I fall into the latter category. (Thank you, baby.) Self publishing affords me a greater percentage of the profits for what I do sell, so I don’t need to make as many sales to earn the same amount in royalties. Of course, no one gave me an advance to write One Big Beautiful Thing, but I also don’t have to pay back that advance before I start earning royalties. Unless you’re a celebrity or an established bestselling author, you’re unlikely to get a large advance, certainly not one significant enough to live on until your book becomes available. This brings me to my next point.

I don’t have much. It takes roughly two years for the average work of fiction to go through the traditional publishing process. That’s after you find an agent and the agent finds you a publisher. A response I received more than once about One Big Beautiful Thing was that, although the agents said they liked it, they felt it straddled the genres of romance and women’s fiction, so they would have a hard time selling it to a publisher. Traditionally, a firm genre has always been important because that determines where a book is placed on a bookstore shelf. Unfortunately, bookstores are disappearing all over the country, so thinking in terms of what shelf a book belongs on is increasingly less important. As a former librarian, I think more in terms how to search for a book in a search engine. If a book is good and there are reasonable search terms to be applied to it, then people will be able to find it. I decided to market One Big Beautiful Thing myself and not worry about shelving it.

So there you go, the primary reasons why self-publishing works for me. I’d be happy to hear your opinions on the subject. I’m sure you have some.

About Marie Flanigan

Marie Flanigan is a long time book and video game reviewer for gameindustry.com, as well as a blogger for The Motley Fool. She resides in Northern Virginia with her husband and three dogs. She's been writing for as long as she can remember. One Big Beautiful Thing is her first novel.

Connect with Marie Flanigan:
Website  | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

Giveaway Time!

Marie Flanigan is giving away 1 Kindle Edition of One Big Beautiful Thing. 
Open worldwide!
Please use Rafflecopter below.
One Big Beautiful Thing by Marie Flanigan
Synopsis: Artist Kate Abernethy is trying to put her life back together after the death of her boyfriend. At first, moving back in with her mother seems like a good way to sort out her finances and re-evaluate her life—instead it proves to be a minefield of doubt and recrimination. Floundering, she pushes herself to take new opportunities so she can rebuild her life and have a second chance at happiness.


  1. Looks like a very good read! I wish the author best of luck with her books and I follow this blog now! Love the elephant :D (I collect elephant things :p hihi)

    1. Thanks for the visit! And good luck with the draw!

      (PS My girly elephant seems to be quite a favourite here :) )

  2. Hey! I entered the First Reads giveaway for this book! It sounds really interesting! :)

    Aloi, I still can't get over how cute your elephant header is! ;)

    1. I saw that -- it got quite a lot of entries, so I was glad to get one for review!
      (Thanks for the kind words Leah, I'm a little smitten with the little (er, big) guy myself. I don't care that there's no book there anywhere ... I like it, so there :))

  3. This is an interesting insight on why self-published. Thank you for sharing to us this beautiful piece .. very insightful!

  4. Thank you for sharing to us this wonderful post. It is very interesting why some authors choose to do self publishing. I can say is not only they are creative but also have the guts to do it as well .. am proud of them!

    1. Thank you. It was a difficult choice, but ultimately I felt like the best one for me for this book.


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