Ask Alex: Is Self Publishing Selling Out?

Dear Alex:
So the time-honored question on the lips of a roundtable of writers extraordinaire has again raised its head – does self-publication still carry the vanity cloud? Can a “real” writer self-publish with head held high or should one hold out for traditional publication?

I see the lists of books put out by many columnists and wonder – do they have an agent and a publisher or did they “give up” that dream and just self-publish? I do not feel I am alone in wondering this – over and over and over again…

And while I’m here: If self-publishing is the new road taken, how in the world do you sell your boxes of bought and paid-for books?

To Agent or Have Agency

Dear To Agent or Have Agency:

Self-publication does not carry any stigma – just ask Michael Sullivan, Mark Dawson, Andy Weir, Bella Forest, Amanda Lee, or yours truly. I assure you I am a real writer with real sales, real readers, real book signings, and a real pain in my lower back from hunching over the keyboard to meet real deadlines. The term we use these days is independent author, or indie, just to get you up to speed on today’s lingo.

Data shows that independent authors who’ve embarked on their indie careers in the last decade are making more money than traditionally published mid-list authors. In addition, indie authors have higher royalty rates, control over how their books are packaged and marketed, and make the decision on how to price their work.

As to your concern about giving up: Becoming an indie author is the opposite of “giving up.” It is taking the bull by the horns! It is becoming the captain of your own destiny! It is MAKING your dream come true instead of hoping someone else will. Giving up? Never!

There are so many incredible resources available today for independent authors – from craft to production to book marketing – so you don’t have to go it alone. Plus, with print on demand you never have to have to worry that you’ll be stuck with a garage full of boxes of your real book – the days of paying a vanity press to print your book are long gone.

Write that book now and get it out into the world. There’s never been a more exciting time to be an indie. Don’t let anyone or anything stop you, including outdated ideas about the business of publishing.

Your Friend,
The Indie Author

Join Rebecca Regnier at the NSNC 2019 conference in Buffalo, NY, where she’ll be talking about this very topic.

Profitable Full-Time Authorship – Quit Your Day Job

Within three years, Rebecca Regnier put her son through college and quit her TV journalist’s job by becoming a successful fiction author, all without an agent, a major publisher, a small press, or even a self-publishing service. Plan a series, not a single book. A humor columnist and former Emmy Award-winning journalist, Regnier now makes serious money as a “cozy mystery writer” and will share resources, the how-to of finding a profitable genre, the Amazon algorithm, building an audience through newsletters, creating an inventory, managing cover designers, editors, and more. If you love to write, you might also have what it takes.

Registration is open now.

Do you have a question for Alex? Check out the questions Alex has already addressed. If you don’t see what you’re looking for then submit a question to

Recent Questions Answered:

Man of Many Words: Word Count Matters

Free Trail and Error: Getting Paid for Your Column

Stuck in a Writing Rut

Who Owns My Columns?

Print Friendly, PDF & Email