Last week, I was selling my self-published Alex Bellamy mysteries (and handing out bookmarks for the traditionally published Casey Holland series) at Creative Chaos Craft Fair, which apparently is one of the largest craft fairs in western Canada. Creative Chaos welcomes authors, but has strict guidelines about what we can sell. In other words, they must be made by the authors and not commercially made by traditional publishers.
This was Creative Chaos’ 38th year of operation and I had the good luck to have a table beside a lovely woman who’d been on the craft fair’s Board of Directors for seven years. In fact, the terrific people on the other side of me were also veterans of this fair, so I had lots of tips and advice about what to expect. Interestingly, not much of it turned out the way they expected, but that’s craft fairs for you. Every year’s different and unpredictable.
One of the things they noted was the increase in self-published authors over the years. As somebody who tries her best to keep tabs on the publishing world, this wasn’t a surprise to me, but what I found interesting was the variety of titles on the tables. Authors were selling everything from young adult fantasy, to children’s books, to memoirs.
All this ties in with an interesting blog I came across by author David Farland. Farland earns a living with his books, both traditionally and through self-publishing. Writers often ask him which type of publishing they should pursue. His answer is that it’s complicated and not always an either-or decision.
There are a number of factors to consider, Farland says, such as the type of book you’ve written, your age, your expectations, and the type of person you are, for starters. He does say that certain books seem to do better in the self-publishing world such as self-help books and romance. He has mixed feelings about westerns, fantasy, horror, science fiction, and comedy.
Personally, I’d also emphasize (which could come under Farland’s type of person category) how strong your commitment is to taking full responsibility for promoting your book on a long-term basis. As all of us in the business know, it could be years before your work starts to take off. Anyhow, Farland has some interesting insights, which I recommend you read (especially if you’re still undecided about your publication choice) at http://www.davidfarland.net/writing_tips/?a=228