Why I Decided to Self-Publish
by Samantha Durante
There’s a lot that goes into publishing a book. There’s the writing,
of course, but what no one tells you is that the writing is only a tiny
portion of what needs to happen to get a book in front of readers.
There’s editing, proofreading, cover art, print formatting, ebook
formatting, printing, distribution, marketing, social media… the list
In traditional publishing, the writer does the writing, and that’s
it. Well, at least, that’s what I thought. My understanding was that
the point of this whole industry that built up around books was so that
writers could write, and everyone else – agents, editors, designers,
proofreaders, publicists, distributors, retailers, etc. – could do
everything else. And to compensate these other contributors for their
work, the writer shared a significant portion of the revenue from the
That sounded like a fine tradeoff to me, so I initially set out on
that path. I compiled a list of agents, started drafting my query
letter to pitch my book, and was days away from sending those queries,
when Amazon posted this
on their front page. It’s a blog post by independent author Jessica
Park who, after getting disillusioned with the traditional publishing
industry, decided to publish her own book using Amazon’s tools, and has
been very successful doing so.
When I read that article, I had already done a lot of research about
self-publishing and had carefully weighed my options to figure out what
was right for me. I suspected that in the end I would probably end up
going independent, but some small part of me held on to the dream of
being “really” published, so I had decided to give that a shot and use
the Amazon option as a backup. But after reading that post, a few
things hit me:
1. I really, really wanted to get my book in front of
readers as soon as possible. The idea of waiting for weeks/months for
agents and publishers to read (and, more often than not, reject) my book
was killing me. I’m the type of person who likes to get things done, so this waiting around for other people to act basically sounded to me like torture.
2. I knew from my research that successful books make it because the author
puts a tremendous amount of effort into marketing the book and building
a following. Not the publishers and publicists and media people (who I
initially had thought were responsible for doing this), but the author
herself. I figured if I needed to do all that work either way, why pay
someone else to do it? Plus, by doing it myself, I could price my book
much lower (the ebook version anyway – unfortunately print-on-demand
doesn’t have the economies of scale that you find in traditional
publishing, so the print version won’t be as reasonable as I’d like it
to be) and still make the same amount of money per book as I would if I
had published it traditionally.
3. I am a control freak. I like to make everything perfect
right down to the tiniest little detail (I literally have almost 100
pages of notes planning my wedding…), and usually the easiest way to do
that is to just do it myself. Some authors are daunted by the idea of
formatting and designing and proofreading their own book, but I’m
excited by it. I know my book is going to be me and I love that.
4. At this point in my life, writing novels is a hobby for me.
Would I love to get paid for writing books? Absolutely – I would do it
full-time if I could make a living that way. But right now, I am
running a successful business and plan to continue doing so to earn a
living, so my career doesn’t depend on my acceptance into the publishing
world. My goal at this point is just to do it and see how many readers
I can reach. If all goes well, then perhaps full-time fiction will be
in the cards for me. If not, at least I know I can continue doing this
for fun on the side.
So, I decided to self-publish.
Of course there are drawbacks – I’m still nervous about not having a
professional editor and proofreader review my book, but I am hoping that
getting the opinions of 20 avid readers on multiple versions of the
manuscript will have sufficed. And I won’t get the “approval” from the
industry that a part of me still desperately wants – though as Jessica
Park said her in post, it’s really readers’ approval that I need, not publishers and editors (readers, I hope you love it!).
But I think it will be worth the effort. I got the first drafts of
my cover art today, and I can’t tell you how good it feels to see my
name on the cover of a book. (Can’t wait to share the final version
with everyone soon!) Looking at that cover, what I realized is that it
doesn’t matter who publishes a book – what matter is that it exists, and it’s ready for people to read.
Now the challenge is finding those people!
Samantha Durante lives in Westchester County, New York with her
husband, Sudeep, and her cat, Gio. Formerly an engineer at Microsoft,
Samantha left the world of software in 2010 to pursue her
entrepreneurial dreams and a lifelong love of writing. A graduate of the
University of Pennsylvania’s Jerome Fisher Program in Management &
Technology, Samantha is currently working full time for her company
Medley Media Associates as a freelance business writer and
communications consultant. Stitch is her first novel.
Release Date: August 1st 2012
Her heart races, her muscles coil, and every impulse in Alessa’s body screams at her to run… but yet she’s powerless to move.
Still struggling to find her footing after the sudden death of
her parents, the last thing college freshman Alessa has the strength to
deal with is the inexplicable visceral pull drawing her to a handsome
In between grappling with exams and sorority soirees –
and disturbing recurring dreams of being captive in a futuristic prison
hell – Alessa is determined to unravel the mystery of the apparition
who leaves her breathless. But the terrifying secret she uncovers will
find her groping desperately through her nightmares for answers.
Because what Alessa hasn’t figured out yet is that she’s not
really a student, the object of her obsession is no ghost, and her
sneaking suspicions that something sinister is lurking behind the walls
of her university’s idyllic campus are only just scratching the surface…
The opening installment in a twist-laden trilogy, Stitch spans
the genres of paranormal romance and dystopian sci-fi to explore the
challenges of a society in transition, where morality, vision, and
pragmatism collide leaving the average citizen to suffer the results.
wanted to be apart of this tour because I love dystopians. Honestly,
one of my favorite preferred genres. I haven’t read ghost love stories
before because they don’t appeal to me – not my cup of tea. However, I
figured since the blurb guarantees that it’s not what it seems, the best
way to find out about ghost loves stories is if it’s actually wrapped
up in my favorite genre.
far as Stitch is concerned, I was wrong. The first majority deals with
the whole straightforward ghost love story, which I wasn’t really moved
by. I got to know Alessa, her best friend, Janie, and the perfectly
bubbly movie star beautiful sorority head sister, Lizzie. And the ghost
of course, but again, can’t say much there otherwise I would ruin
everything. I did like the characters, I just found it all very standard
fare and bland. The whole first half is under this fog with minor
irritations that bloomed to full on frustration as it took soooo long to
get to the twist I was waiting on.
twist certainly was mind boggling and completely out of left field that
finally moved the book into the science fiction dystopian genre. I did
continue reading to figure out how this was all going to work. After 40
or 50 pages of flashbacks, I still can’t give a good picture of how
this world works. It is rather typical dystopian set up and doesn’t
include details needed to flesh it out at all. I kept asking basic
questions about how it was all set up and wasn’t satisfied with the
there’s this whole action sequence with pauses for dramatic effect (How
were you no caught taking so long to get away?) and questionable logic
(like what tool can put a hole in a pipe?). There’s mini-reveals that
didn’t land for me because it all felt really formulaic at this point.
The whole ending devastation for Alessa? I’m snorting and saying,
other issues like just how stupid some people came off because they
kept saying “We don’t know” or “We know [this] but talk about several
incidents that contradict [this] and be oblivious about it all”. The
worst of it being they didn’t follow through on somethings that just
seemed so common sense and basic. It felt like giant gaps I couldn’t
move around or make sense of. The whole world is painted in broad,
general strokes as is so I can’t even begin to try to parse this all
out myself. It’s not even all big-important-keep-it-as-a-surprise in the
next book, it’s stuff like how big is said place? One building or lots
of buildings? What’s the division like? How many people are we talking
far as what I was looking for the second half-ish is definitely a step
in the right direction nonetheless. The back story was really the best
parts of the book and after the fog of first half lifted I really
starting liking the characters more because they made more sense and
were far more interesting and compelling to me. I love how it’s not
including the typical love triangle as well but considering the holes in
place I’m worried it’s not going to stay this way. (dun, dun dunnnnn
love triangle! predication. No, seriously I’ll be surprised if it
the end, I’m wondering if the very reason I picked up the book may have
been the downfall for me. The clash between the first part in an
unloved genre vs. the high standards of one of my favorite genre second
part was just too much. Does this mean I hated Stitch and don’t
recommend it? No, I just recommend it more specifically and say it
wasn’t personally up to par.
I had my issues, I’m actually open and interested on how the next book
turns out. The end is what I wanted in the first place and with where
the storyline is going I think it’s quite possible to like the next book
more. I mean without the problems of the beginning just not being my
preference and I think I’ll get the facts I want just by the nature of
where the character are going, so Stitch #2 isn’t necessarily ruled out.
books in trilogy are usually susceptible to issues like not having it’s
own storyline (not an issue here), having to open the door to a new
world (started the foundation, but not really framed well), and leaving
readers wanting to continue (true here).
far as a rating = 2 out of 5 bats.
|Conflicted, Lots of pros and cons, Meh|
I’m in the minority of reviews here, but I can’t pump up or hide the
almost fatal flaws I found in Stitch. For those who like ghost love
stories, science fiction dystopias and won’t pick at the little things,
I’d say definitely give it a shot. You’re more likely to love it, then
hate it. There’s certainly promise and hope but I didn’t find it
executed to my liking.
lastly, this is actually a short review for me. I have pages of notes,
with quotes and details about what bugged me/holes/etc. but that would
all be too spoiler-ish. Once I get spoiler tags working here to hide
those details from people who won’t want to read it, I may post it in
the future. Or if you really want to know, contact me.
All my reviews are honest opinions. Obviously, subjective and I was not
compensated for this review. I simply received a free e-copy of Stitch
in order to review it as part of this tour.)
Follow the rest of the tour!