My guest this week is fellow author and good friend, Marja McGraw. She has some very interesting things to say about her decision to self-publish the books in her two mystery series.
"When I started writing, my friends and family, of course, told me I had talent. What else were they supposed to say? After all, they were just that – friends and family. Someone sent me an article about a self-publishing company. I’d never heard of such a thing and jumped right on it. I knew nothing about finding a traditional publisher.
The first thing I discovered was that there was a stigma attached to being self-published. I wrote a third book and had learned a little about traditional publishing, so I started submitting the manuscript. I read somewhere that whether or not your book is accepted or rejected sometimes depends on the reader’s mood that day. Without going into a long story, I discovered the truth in that statement, and I moved on to other publishers.
Oh, joy, my book was accepted, and so were the next four. One of my Sandi Webster Mysteries led to a spinoff series, The Bogey Man Mysteries. I decided to go with a different publisher for the second series. The series was accepted and I was on my way.
Then things began to change. I learned more about the business and realized I wasn’t all that happy on my current path. The two publishers wanted to take one road, and I wanted to take another. We couldn’t seem to get past that fork in the road. At least, I couldn’t.
It was time to make a difficult decision. I was able to cancel all of the contracts with both publishers, do a slight rewrite on the books, create new book covers, and before I knew it I was back where I started, in a manner of speaking. I re released all of the books by self-publishing them. Self-publishing had changed and there were more opportunities for me.
One drawback was that now I had to do all of my own promotion and marketing. Honestly, even with traditional publishers I was doing most of it anyway, so I guess it’s actually a non-issue.
The books have been doing fairly well and by the time I left the traditional publishers I had a fan base in place. That helped a lot. I wasn’t coming out of the blue with readers wondering who I was.
One last point I’d like to make. I’ve discovered that if you had a traditional publisher in your past, the stigma seems to disappear to a great extent.
Would I recommend self-publishing to other writers? No. Each writer has to make up their own mind. I can’t offer any advice. I know that I’ve been happy since I became my own boss. I’m in control, or out of control as the case may be, and I made the right choice for me.
Take your time and don’t make a sudden decision. Research and decide what’s right for you. Follow the road that makes you happy with your choice of career."
To read more about Marja's books and/or to order them:
Marja McGraw was born and raised in Southern California. She worked in both civil and criminal law, state transportation, and most recently for a city building department. She has lived and worked in California, Nevada, Oregon, Alaska and Arizona.
She wrote a weekly column for a small town newspaper in Northern Nevada, and conducted a Writers’ Support Group in Northern Arizona. A past member of Sisters in Crime (SinC), she was also the Editor for the SinC-Internet Newsletter for a year and a half.
Marja writes two mystery series: The Sandi Webster Mysteries and The Bogey Man Mysteries, which are light reading with a touch of humor. She also occasionally writes stories that aren’t part of a series.
Marja says that each of her mysteries contains a little humor, a little romance and A Little Murder!
She now lives in Washington, where life is good.