Hey, Guys! Today I’m doing something special. I’m posting an open and frank discussion I had with an author friend of mine on why she chose to self-publish. Yes I had her permission ;).

Before I post said discussion, let me tell you a bit about Ms. Angelique Conger to you. Ms. Conger discovered the wonders of writing books later in her life. For years, the stories of ancient women enticed her, challenging her to tell their stories. No one knows or tells the stories of these women, unknown in history, not even most of their names. Many of the stories of their husbands are unknown. Angelique tells their stories as though they sat beside her, whispering their stories into her ear in her series Ancient Matriarchs.
Angelique lives in southern Nevada with her husband, a bird, and two turtles. She looks forward to visits from her grandchildren, and their parents.
She can be found at
http://www.AngeliqueCongerAuthor.com
https://www.amazon.com/Angelique-Conger/e/B01NBPZ1LW

Let me also say before we begin that Ms. Conger’s opinions are her own. We are here to listen to her opinions and thoughts and learn from them.

Soooo, Hi Ms. Conger!

Angelique:
Hi, Debby 🙂

Me:
So tell me, why did you choose to self-pubish?

Angelique:
I had thought I’d try for a traditional publishing contract until I learned how long it took to go through the process. I’m 64 already, and don’t feel like I have time to play their games.

Me:
LOL. The traditional route can take a long time.

Angelique:
Once I started, I realized I like the freedom to make my own choices. I have friends with publishers. They don’t have any control over when their books will be published, or how they look. I like to be in control.

Me:
I can understand that. What reason(s) do you think others have for self publication? Is it mainly a desire for control over their work?

Angelique:
I choose to self publish for control and to get my stories out for others to read when I want them to go out.

Me:
Is writing more of a career or hobby for you?

Angelique
This is a career for me. My husband has poor health. My goal is to reach the point I can support myself if needed. My husband can support us well now, but I will lose most of it if he dies. I’d like to earn enough to take him on a nice vacation.

Me:
A lot of writers are curious as to how plausible it is to make a career in self-publishing. We’ve all heard the instant winner stories like 50 Shades, but the truth is more fail than succeed in making an actual career out of it. What do you think you are doing that will make you one of the successful ones?

Angelique:
I have goals and plans. I have written a series of 4 books, with another 2 planned, and have 2 written for a second series. I published 4 books last year, and plan 4 – 6 more this year. I bought 3 courses that help me with marketing, though it is slow with limited funds.

Me:
I thought about taking marketing courses myself. Do you feel they have helped you?

Angelique
I like the courses by Mark Dawson. They are full of helpful information. I haven’t gone through everything, but the parts I’ve completed have definitely helped. Also, I have a course by Nick Stephenson that helps me understand email marketing.

Me:
Ooo, excellent. Do you mind sharing links to them?

(shared links)
https://learn.selfpublishingformula.com/courses
Self Publishing Formula
Revenue generating online marketing skills and tools for indie authors.
learn.selfpublishingformula.com
(These courses are only offered a couple times a year.)

Angelique:
I have spent more time writing and need to focus more on the marketing side of things. That is the tough part of being self-published, learning how to market, though I hear that even traditional authors end up having to be more involved in marketing now.

Me:
That’s true, but from my research, it’s nothing compared to what selffers do. What they call marketing, I call going out and having a good time! Lol. Do you have any marketing advice you’d like to share with us?

Angelique:
I think marketing is something we have to focus on each day, not just when we think about it. Promotion sites are great for a day or two, maybe a few more days. I haven’t ever tried yet for a BookBub promotion. I don’t really have the funds to pay for it.

Me:
Understandable. They are expensive, and it even appears as though their trends are aiming towards traditional authors.

Angelique:
Marketing includes sharing what’s going on in a newsletter, or social media. It’s promotion sites, and paying for ads on FaceBook and Amazon. I have tried sharing with other authors, and BookFunnel and InstaFreebie. I find the real problem is becoming that people want free books and I want to have them decide to pay me for my work.

Me:
Yes! The freebook war!
I have a friend in real life that makes puh-lenty of money and still refuses to pay for any of her books. She doesn’t think she should have to. This is what we’re fighting.

Angelique:
I have a short story only available when one signs up for my newsletter. It’s not on Amazon or anywhere else. Yet, those readers fill up their eReaders with free books and never purchase anything else.

Me:
Yes. Exactly. It’s sad. And a lot will instantly unsubscribe. And if you put up another book to draw in readers, they will grab it and leave again. There needs to be a way in the newsletter system to prevent anyone who has already unsubscribed from subscribing again to get another book.

Angelique:
Some newsletter services will prevent that. When I was with MailChimp, they prevented those who had unsubscribed from subscribing again. But, all they need to do is use another email address.

Me:
True. I also get a lot of “email@XXX.com” subscribers. I can’t blame them, but still.

Angelique:
It’s a challenge. I understand when people don’t have lots of money, but please, $0.99 isn’t much, nor is $3.99 or $4.99. They pay more for a cup of coffee every day.

Me:
The coffee scenario is used a lot. One person said it was hogwash, that the barista put extra personal time into it and such. Personally I don’t drink coffee and would never pay that much money for something so frivolous, so I never use the comparison.

Angelique:
I never drink coffee. But, don’t tell me a barista spends more time making a special cup of coffee than I take to write a book. My books take months to years to write, plus I pay for covers and editing. I have yet to get back a fraction of what I’ve spent on my books. My books cost less than the fast food meal most people buy at least once a week. I can’t understand the insistence on free books. I think authors shot themselves in the foot when they started giving away free books.

Me:
I agree. Unfortunately, you can’t fight the ones who still do it, and it is them who bring the rest of us down. I refuse to put up a permafree. My work’s better than that.

Angelique:
I only give away the one book. I have given away my first book on a free promo site, and gave away 1800 books, but got few if any reviews, and little read through to the next books. I don’t like free. I do sometimes give free on the first few days a book is out.

Me:
Wouldn’t giving it free on the first few days be giving away your best sales?

Angelique:
I shouldn’t give any away. You are right. I’m probably giving away my best sales. I hate free. I work too hard to give away my work.
I’ve seen the book 1 free to entice book 2. Sometimes it works. Often it doesn’t. There are too many who will only download free.

Me:
I have seen, and have done myself, giving book 1 free when book 2 is released, that sort of thing. I think there’s also a formula for amount charged with popularity. The whole supply and demand thing. What do you think of those who have already self-published and want to join the traditional scene? Do you think they should hide their previous works until they have to confess or be open up front? Or do you know?

Angelique:
I believe in being honest. I have seen some who are offered traditional contracts because they have good response to their self publishing. I don’t ever plan on going that way. I do not want my books, especially the first few, to be turned into movies or tv shows. I want to retain the rights to make those decisions.

Me:
lol
Yes, a good response always helps, but what about the author who hasn’t sold very many?

Angelique:
For the author who hasn’t sold many, I don’t know. I still think honesty is important. Maybe they aren’t selling more because of the blurb/description or the cover. Those could be helped by a professional.

Me:
I personally know a successful traditional author who went hybrid. Why do you think some of the traditional authors are doing that?
I believe she did it because the piece she wanted to publish wasn’t traditional material. She continues to write for a big 5.

Angelique:
I think they like the opportunity to have more control over when and how their books are published. More power to them, either way. I think publication is a personal choice. I don’t think the traditional way is good for me. I think some authors write things they want to publish, and if the trad publisher won’t, they try self-publishing.

Me:
So, if you had to make a check list as to whether a writer should self-publish or query, what would you write on it?
#1-Would a traditional publisher even be interested?

Angelique:
Desire to control content

Me:
#2-How much are you willing to change your work to suit them? Exactly, content control.

Angelique:
$ available to pay for editing and covers
Willingness to learn marketing
support from family/husband
time to spend on both writing and marketing
Age: time to wait 3 + years for a publisher to decide if they want your work.

Me:
Now, you made some great points, but are they all necessary? What if you don’t want/aren’t willing to market and are willing to accept lower sales as a result? Aka, you’re not in it for the money?

Angelique:
Then, perhaps your writing is a hobby, and you don’t have a burning desire to make sales or don’t need the $ to live.
I think it is a personal choice.

Me:
Well, I think we’ve covered a lot. Do you have anything else you want to add?

Angelique:
I love the opportunity we have today to choose self or traditional publishing. It is wonderful to be able to publish without the gatekeepers.

Me:
I love the choice too. There are a great deal of books that wouldn’t be here that are good if traditional was the only option.

Angelique:
Exactly. Sometimes the things we write are not things traditional publishers would accept, they don’t seem to be ones that would sell. Now, we can write what we want, and can sell books we wrote ages ago, that would have been taken off the shelves by traditional publishers and book sellers. It is a wonderful opportunity to have the right to choose.

Me:
That too! I forgot about books taken down. Excellent point!

Angelique:
It’s all part of the personal control and ability to do what we want with our own work.

Me:
Yes. Anything else?

Angelique:
No, I think I’ve said it all. I’m grateful for the opportunity to self publish and hope I can get the marketing down soon.

Me:
lol-don’t we all! Thanks!

Angelique:
Thanks for the opportunity.

That’s it, folks! Do you self-publish? What were your deciding factors? Do you have questions for those who have self-published? Comment and let us know-see ya next time! 🙂

And FYI, my latest book, What Does Spider Poop Look Like? is now available and currently my best seller. Visit my website for details.

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