Monday, 20 July 2015

Guest post with Misha Gerrick: Why I Went the Self-Publishing Route

Today, I'm handing my blog over to the awesome Misha Gerrick, which is convenient as I still don't quite trust myself with technology after my ear operation on Thursday. So while I try not to stumble over at work, and get to used to actually being able to HEAR what children are saying to me (is this a good thing? I'm not entirely sure yet), I'll leave you in Misha's more than capable hands.

Take it away, Misha!

Why I Went the Self-Publishing Route

When I started out writing, I never thought that I would ever self-publish. It wasn’t really about
the traditional reasons for me. (You know, all the usual myths about self-publishing, like how
people buy into the publisher’s brand, or how self-published books have lower quality etc.)

To me, it was always about the money. See, I live in a place where one US Dollar equals thirteen
units of my country’s currency. Which means that the usual rates for a good freelance editor to
edit one of my books equal three months’ salaries to me.

So when I started out, the cost of self-publishing something up to standard was prohibitive. In
my mind, I had to find a publisher who’d help to defray the costs.

But then I got a publisher, and things went spectacularly wrong. The whole experience made me
take a long and hard look at royalties and what they really are, and today, I’m sharing how I
think about it.

When signing with a publishing house, we agree to trade in a portion of the value (or net price)
of our books in return for services for which we would otherwise have had to pay upfront.
The thing is that these days, those services just aren’t what they used to be. Don’t get me wrong,
I loved working with my former editor and I’d possibly jump at a chance to do so again. But.
I’m someone whose critiques have been credited by multiple writers to be the thing that landed
them publishing deals. And I have a good eye for people who make me good critique partners.
So why, if I have every confidence in my skills as editor for other people, would I not be
confident enough to edit my own work? Especially when I’ve been able to put together an
awesome team of people to help me find my own errors, all in return for me helping them in the
same way.

What else does a publishing house offer?

The cover?

I take pictures and edit them myself. I knew what I would be going for in the cover. After
investing in Photoshop, it wasn’t all that hard to get what I wanted. You’d laugh if I told you the
total cost. Most of it was actually measured in time and effort.


This was actually the one I was scared of, but I got an awesome how-to self-publish guide that
was gold when it came to tips pointing me in the right direction. (Like where to get cover
templates and how to format a paperback so it looks nice.)
E-book formatting turned out to be laughably easy, after another self-publishing friend told me
where to get the right how-to guide.

This leaves…


Which anyone who isn’t Lee Child or JK Rowling or someone along the same lines of
famousness knows to be laughable in any publishing deal anyway.

We’re expected to do all our own marketing. (Never mind that it doesn’t really seem to work all
that well all the time, but that’s a subject for another story.) So what’s the difference between
doing my marketing for my book with a publisher and doing the same marketing for the book I

You’ve got it.

There is no difference.

Of course, money isn’t the only thing that made me strike out on the self-publishing path. Far
from it, but it’d probably take a small book for me to explain them all. But out of the many
reasons I have, the (tiny) value of services rendered to me in return for a substantial portion of
income derived from my book (and MY hard work), is the big one.

Anyone thinking about self-publishing? What’s the big deciding factor for you when it 
comes to self-publishing or not?

The Vanished Knight

The entity living inside Callan’s soul orphaned her at age eleven. By the time she’s sixteen, it’s
ensured her being shunted from one foster family to another.
Her thirteenth foster assignment should be routine. Except... it's not. A psycho in medieval armor
kidnaps her and she ends up in a magical world. There, she accidentally discovers a secret her
parents had kept until the day they died.
Both actually came from this magical world, but left before Callan was born. To cover their
tracks, they’d lied about everything. Even who they really were.
Driven to find out where she comes from, Callan’s trapped in a race for life and death. Walking
away isn’t an option, but if she stays too long, the entity will find its next victim.
In this world where secrets are sacrosanct and grudges are remembered, finding the truth will be
near impossible. Especially when Callan has her own homicidal little secret to deal with.
One with a taste for destroying her life.

Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon Universal Link | Apple | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

The Heir’s Choice

After discovering her parents had kept a whole world secret, Callan races to discover her past.
Not easy to do with an increasingly agitated entity living in her soul.
Going to her long-lost elvish roots should answer all her questions. Instead, she ends up in the
middle of a nightmare.
The elves are on the verge of an apocalyptic war. Their enemy, King Aurek of Icaimerith, will
only be appeased if Callan marries his heir. It’s either her life getting messed up, or an entire
country’s lives lost. Simple enough, right?
Because when the entity wants the elves blotted out of existence, saving them gets taken to a
whole new level of complicated.

Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon Universal Link | Apple | Barnes & Noble | Kobo


Misha Gerrick has been creating stories long before she could write and is currently going after
her dream of making a living as a writer.
If you’d like to see how that’s going, you can visit her on her blog, where she also discusses all things related to writing and publishing.
Or, if you’d just like to know what she’s reading and get updates on what she’ll be publishing
next (Sorry, no newsletter just yet):
You can follow her Tumblr
You can follow her on Twitter: @MGerrick1
And you can circle her on Google Plus: +MGerrick


  1. I love learning more about your self-publishing journey, Misha. I agree, you did for yourself what any publisher could have done and you get to keep most of the profits too. I wish you plenty of success with your two releases.

  2. Thanks for hosting me, Rachel. :-)

    1. No problem! I've enjoyed having you, and reading all the responses to your post :)

  3. Excellent post, Misha. I had a bad publisher experience years ago too. I love the control self-publishing gives me, and while I don't like some of the work we must do for it, it is greatly satisfying when you do get it done.

    1. I know what you mean. I have to say that self publishing has thus far given me a bigger sense of accomplishment than selling my book to my former publisher.

  4. Well said. This is exactly why we self-publish as well. If we're expected to do our own marketing, then why give a publisher half (or more) of our money just to print it, when we can do that for free? Look, we'll gladly take a large book deal that involves promo from a traditional house. That's what our agent is for. But small publishers almost always have nothing to offer us.

    1. The thing about those deals with Promos is that usually, we have to come with a huge existing readership for publishers to see our books as "marketable".

      Which is now an acknowledged problem in the industry. Because if I create my huge existing market, royalties with a big publisher is so low, that I might make MORE with my existing market self published, than I would WITH the publisher doing promo.

      So even if I do well enough to actually attract the sort of deal that you and I are talking about here, I'd STILL only consider this if:

      1) The publisher offered me MUCH better terms. (Larger royalties, limited contract terms, a timeline to which my books will be published, with fair clauses in case of emergencies)
      2) If they're literally willing to pull out all the stops to gain me a wider audience that I can't gain on my own. (Translation to four or more languages, getting me on "Oprah" or whatever else the new equivalent might be, paying my way to conferences, making sure my book can be bought everywhere I can't put the book on my own. (Which involves considerable cost and effort to them, which is why only guys and gals like Lee Child and JK Rowling get it.)

      I know some people do take deals on less than I want, but the way I see it, if I already have a readership that makes it possible for me to make a solid living, I'm in a position of bargaining power, ESPECIALLY because I'm then way past the point where publisher validation (which sways less economically minded people than me) would actually mean anything to me or my reader.

    2. Don't forget...

      3) They offer a $50,000 upfront signing fee. I could get behind that, too. :)

      What you say is true. Also, publisher validation is a very funny thing, because when we hold book signings and people grab a copy of one of our books, they never ask, "So where are you published through?" Because your average reader really doesn't care. They don't pick up a book, see Penguin on the spine, and think, "Oh! This must be good! It's published through Penguin."

      Also, the great thing is that if a book is self-published first, that doesn't mean it can't ever be picked up by a huge publishing house. Often, publishing houses will scoop up self-published books that are doing really well, and turn it into something huge. Take Andy Weir's The Martian, which was not only reprinted by Random House and marketed like mad, but is soon to be released as a major motion picture starring Matt Damon. So really, there is no downside to putting it out yourself.

    3. Meh that upfront signing fee looks less attractive when you realize that writers' careers used to get tanked when they didn't earn out.

      I agree with you on the fact that something being self-published not actually meaning that a big publisher won't want it. It all depends on money, I think. A self published book that does well seems to signal a smaller risk to publishers. But given that they're taking a smaller risk, they should be getting a smaller return. And yet...

  5. Misha - self-publishing is a very personal thing. I did it for one of my books, and will consider it again if the project is right. Most of the hard work - as you say - comes in the form of marketing, and we have to do that ourselves no matter what. It's good to hear your reasons - they might be really helpful to someone who's unsure.

    Hi Rachel *waves* :-)

    1. Absolutely, Annalisa. I wouldn't judge someone for not self-publishing, but these days, it's becoming increasingly sensible to put serious thought into it.

  6. You've listed a lot of reasons to self-publish, Misha. Great job.

  7. Without the advances and signing bonuses, it is difficult see what an agent and publishing house can do for an author. Still, marketing is tough. I have only tried to entice people to buy short stories in anthologies, and that is as difficult as getting your novel noticed.

    1. Yeah, sometimes the marketing sucks, but then, it would with most deals with big publishing too.

  8. Misha, you make self-publishing sound a lot less 'scary' and something I may be able to accomplish one day. Thank you.

    1. You're welcome. I'm glad to demystify things for people. :-)

  9. Wonderful reasoning. Numerous authors self-publish successfully and professionally.


I love chatting and meeting new people :). Thanks for stopping by!