Why I Went from Represented Author to Self-Published Author

Why I Went From Represented Author to

And no, it’s not because I’m crazy.

This is how it is: I had an amazing agent. I had an amazing publisher for Unkept. But I realized I wanted something more than amazing. I wanted control.

I’ve always had a business side to me. I’ve worked as a social media consultant for a long time now and have tried to find ways to blend these skills with my online world, not for financial reasons but because I love the challenge of engaging people, of creating, of turning my skills into something that’s both profitable and necessary to my customers.

Yup. I’m that girl.

So you can imagine having that girl inside my brain while journeying the two year process of getting a book published. First you have to send the manuscript to publishers and then that bad boy is thoroughly edited and printed in a pretty package (if you have a good publisher and fortunately I did!).

But the waiting game was hard for me. The “relying on someone else to put the finishing touches on my baby” was hard for me, too. Not in an egotistical “I’m the best person for the job” type way, but in a “I’m an only child and my parents got me a ‘World’s Best Child’ t-shirt when I was ten” type way.

So we can all blame them.

Seriously though, here are some reasons I decided to go the self-publishing route.

Why I Decided to Self-Publish

  • In spite of myself, I’ve somehow managed to create a large community that cares about the work I produce. This means that even if I cut out a publisher, I still have a wide audience that I can market my work to. And in reality, even if a publisher picks up your work, you’re going to have to do a lot of the leg work anyways as far as marketing goes. They have other authors to publish and support and you can’t expect to hog all of their time. But you can hog your own!
  • I started a blog awhile back, Tipsy Lit, that I’ve tried to find a purpose for for a long time now. It’s gone through many transformations but as of late, I’ve realized it would be the perfect imprint for my self-publishing career. An imprint is basically the name you publish under. I’ve decided to choose Tipsy as my imprint instead of using my own name because it looks more professional and speaks to my business side.
  • I love learning new things and formatting has become one of them. Since it doesn’t make me go running for the hills then I figure it’s a worthwhile use of my time and a great way to save some money during the publishing process.
  • I know some great editors like Roxanne and the Bannerwing Betas, so when I need a second pair of eyes to catch everything I’ve missed, these talented folks are only an email away.
  • Designing book covers is fun for me. Seriously, I kind of love it! And since I’ve been mainly focusing on Kindle covers as of late, the Kindle cover creator in Canva (alliteration for the win!) has been crazy helpful.

I love being at the helm from the moment I put a word down on the page to letting the world know my words are ready to be read. This process may not be for everyone, but I feel pretty darn fortunate that it’s found me!

Have you published yet? Did you chose to go the traditional route or have you self-published? What was your experience like and would you recommend it to others?

dear hearts bookReady to pre-order my very first venture into self-publishing? Then check out Dear Hearts!



34 thoughts on “Why I Went from Represented Author to Self-Published Author”

  1. I self-published two novels and got to know a few people who published through very small publishers at the same time I was self-publishing. Based on their experiences, unless I got a major deal with a major publisher, I would likely stick with self-publishing. The small publishers exercise complete control in ways that can hurt your ability to market your own book and while I’m sure there are some very good small publishers out there who work hard for their authors, the ones these authors had did not do that. So, you lose control, you give up some of your potential earnings, and then you don’t get the help you need to produce the best product and promote it. Nah, not for me. Hopefully, at some point you’ll post about the different results between your publisher published book and your self-published book.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. And there’s another point right there: I have to wait to hear back about my results from my publisher while I can already check the pre-order stats of my self-published book. There’s something incredibly satisfying about being able to keep dibs on your progress without feeling like you’re bothering someone. Thanks for reading commenting – all great points!


  2. Interesting…I see a lot of posts from people with the question of “should I self or traditionally publish” but usually they’re just folks who have yet to publish at all so I just figure they should be happy to do either! It is great to see a new perspective, one from a person who had published traditionally and then went into self publishing. It’s great that the tech has reached the point where this is possible.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, and it really is. And you’re absolutely right, the digital world is right at our fingertips now. Might as well use it!


  3. Hey, thanks for the beta reader and editor tips, Ericka! 🙂 I’m in the writing phase but have been wondering about how to pursue publication, so your post has given me a lot to think about. Thank you and all the best for your babies (books)! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re very welcome, Radhika, and thank you for reading. Good luck with your journey. I know it can seem overwhelming but as long as you listen to your gut, you can’t go wrong.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Nice article, thanks for sharing. Given your following I agree this especially makes sense. You certainly do a good job getting people’s attention. 😉

    I self-published my poetry book a year and a half ago now. My reason for doing so was also to cut the waiting time and take control. It seems finding a publisher is difficult for writers period, but finding one for poetry is even worse. So I decided to just cut all of that away and do it myself.

    It’s definitely not an easy task, I will admit I’ve failed myself a bit in the marketing and promoting department, and self-publishing means obviously that if I’m not marketing no one is. But I’m still proud as I created my cover and designed the book, the learning experience has been excellent. This also means that I can revive my book without having to convince anyone else, something I plan to do, and I can be as simple or creative as I want.

    Obviously you have to believe in your work even more so going this route and you have to have discipline. I’m grateful to have found you through Tipsy Lit and made this connection, it has helped me get back on board. Congrats and good luck with your decision. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Marketing can always be the hardest part. There are A LOT of self-published books being pushed out there so you definitely have to know your voice and do your best to catch people’s attention (glad to know I’m doing okay there! ;)). And that’s certainly true. If you don’t believe in your work, no one else will! Thanks for reading!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. This is an important breakdown for those who are looking at self-publishing. It’s definitely not for everyone, as many who just write a book and put it out there have come to find out. You point out the need to be business-minded and independent thinking, to major things that writers who choose self-publishing need.

    I chose the self publishing avenue and never looked back (not much, anyway). I’m still learning the ropes on the marketing side of things, but I have no regrets. I get to do what I love and have full control of what the final product looks like and how it’s delivered to the public. It would be very hard at this point to relinquish that control.j

    And most of all, I’m happy doing it. Great article!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much, and you’re so right about the business aspect of self-publishing. If a writer doesn’t have that side to him/herself then it’s going to be a long and bumpy journey!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Totally agree! Great post! In our writings – in City-State – we can do anything we want without others hovering over us.

    I am a teacher; I cannot control my work environment. But, I CAN control the nation of City-State. March on, indie authors! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I like your way of thinking! I worked for years as a “gatekeeper” and always struggled with the way we limited creators’ choices. Both the creative process and the promotion of the final work suffered. I’m now self-publishing and will never stop. Good luck with your book launch! Let me know if I can help spread the word.

    FYI, I found this post on Google News using an alert titled “self-publishing”.


  8. Honestly. Traditional publishing is great because of curation and distribution. If you can match the same level with your self-pub work, then go for it.
    You said it yourself: you have a platform. You have a trustful audience. You have editors. Which means, what you can do is probably on par with what a small pub-house can do. So by all means Self-Pub is the best route for you!
    Many writers are just that: writers. They have no clue about marketing, they don’t want to fiddle with book covers, and unluckily they probably don’t have a couple thousands bucks to shell out on editors. So traditional publishing is probably the best for them, so they will have someone helping them where they lack, and they can focus on writing and writing only!


  9. I’d make love to Canva if I could. Okay, just kidding. I have a hottie husband, but I do have to say that I love the control of indie publishing. Your book covers look great, and Tipsy Lit as your imprint? Perfection. Seriously. You’ve got a fantastic set up that most indies never achieve, so I’m really excited to watch you go the distance.


  10. I’m choosing to self-publish, because I don’t want to risk having a bad cover like some UK trade publishing copies have had. I’ve always pictured my work as drawn like an anime/manga anyway. And I don’t want some designer who may or may not have read the book to decide on a cover based on “target audience.”

    I write about “losers” without romance, the bottom one percenters, the outcasts even beyond the Emo, Gothic, and Punk people. Thus I don’t want a cover with a muscular hunky guy on it holding a someone in the popular crowd.

    I also know my own target audience anyway. This is the web comic community even though I write poetry, short stories, and novellas. In fact long term I’m going the indie comic route.

    Plus with the terms of “previously publication” used as they are, I’m not real real sure if publishing as a novella first counts as being considered previously published for manga zines.


  11. You bring up an excellent point about marketing. Going the traditional route doesn’t mean that you just sit back and relax. No matter which direction you take, the marketing falls on your shoulders!


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