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Harsh Truth Thursdays - the Predicaments of Self Publishing

I thought it would be fun to upskittle the apple cart, and provide a few harsh truths about the writing and publishing industry every Thursday. My goal? Well, to educate people about the difficulties that self-publishers face, and to provide some emotional support to the folk who are driven mad by it!

Yes, this is a cross owl! Photo by Elliot Connor from Pexels

Want a bit more positivity? Then come back on Saturday for "Positively Weekend" blogposts.

Before I start, we need a bit of background on Crowvus. Crowvus Publishing began as a co-operative of different authors, each publishing the other's work. We don't publish our own but, up until 2020, we weren't open to submissions. Then a wonderful thing happened! We became successful!

Because of our success, we were then able to open up submissions to other authors, only one at a time. So, we are an independent publisher, and not really classed as self-publishers anymore. But we are so aware of the difficulties facing self-publishers from a few years of battling through indiscrimination.

I've never submitted any book to a traditional publisher or an agent. It was a conscious decision. I love the creative process - not just the writing of the book, but also the design and the marketing side. I wanted more control over my book's journey. I knew there would be difficulties when I chose this route, but the injustices still annoy me.

The first time I came across this was during my debut year. On the advise of other writers, I tried to join a debut group but was told "no, thank you. Only traditionally published authors allowed." Wow! But, I thought, never mind! The internet is full of self-published authors banding together to form a strong community. And I moved on.

The more I researched and read, the more I realised that so much of the publishing business stank of indiscrimination. What began to annoy me was when companies said "welcomes all publishers" or "calling all authors" and then you read the rules and it turns out that self-publishers don't count. Here's a great example of this I found recently:

Yes, you guessed it! When it says "Supporting ALL publishers" it doesn't actually mean that. It means "Supporting ALL publishers who are deemed worthy by the great traditional publishing gods".

I also once came across a couple of people who organised authors to write to schools. Lovely idea, but they didn't want self-published authors. Fair enough - their business, their rules - but they were still tweeting about "Calling all authors". I mean, hello? Seriously?

And then there's independent bookshops. Well, I've worked with some stunning indie bookshops which I will support until my last breath, most notably The Rabbit Hole in Brigg who were absolutely tremendous during my book launch for Taking Wing. But there are also some out there who like to cash in on the indie name and make the most of times like #IndieApril but who don't want to know self-published or even indie-published authors. In my opinion, the indie world should stick together. We'll look out for each other.

I know people dislike Amazon, and I can absolutely see why. But Amazon welcomes indie and self-publishers with open arms. They make us feel valued and appreciated and not like we're second class creators. More Indie bookshops need to start showing a little more respect to the indie world. Yeah, these Harsh Truth Thursdays are just that. Harsh and truthful!

But this is not just any old rant. This is designed to make self-published authors feel like they're not alone. The world of publishing is not always a nice place to be. It's cut-throat. It's upsetting. But we're in it together and, together, we're going to change the world one edited sentence at a time!


  1. Despite what you say at the start, I feel this is such a positive post!! It's so heartening to hear someone stick up for self-published authors, and liberating too.
    I've known indie-published authors who refuse to sell on Amazon because they don't approve, morally, of how powerful Amazon is. And that's all very well, if you have friends and contacts in the indie world, and are confident your book will find a voice in the mind-bogglingly large marketplace out there. If you are a newbie though, with no contacts, no-one to ask for advice or support, then Amazon is often your best/only hope. We shouldn't be ashamed of using Amazon's popularity to make our voices heard!

    1. Hello!
      I was delighted to get your comment - thank you very much! It's great to know that others agree with my points. I would love to have my books stocked only in the independent marketplace but that just isn't happening at the moment, and I have to think logically, as you said.
      Lovely to hear from you! :)


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