Monday, 27 September 2021

[Self] Publish or Perish? Pros and Cons – by Ruth Bonetti

Authors trudge rutted paths to print goalsRejections tempt them to secure incomes selling used cars or real estate. Or they learn to forge their own independent ways.

We polish manuscript until it gleams, then submit. And wait. Wait. We remind ourselves of big name authors rejected many times by publisherswho now regret that 



Do we give up too easily on mainstream publishers and media? 


Decades ago, I flinched when a writer’s workshop presenter blitzed scorn on self-publishing. This mentor’s advice and insights had propelled me along the crafting stages forward. But after enduring the slow process of submit–wait– rejection–regroup­ I tired of hiatus.


Have perceptions changed since? 

Platforms such as IngramSpark, CreateSpace, Amazon’s Kindle Direct, Smashwords  and iBooks make self-publication feasible options. I use the former. What experiences have you had with such sites? 




Indie Authors can manoeuvre through write–polish–beta reads–edits–design–cover–upload and print in a fraction of the time it takes a Big House to print and release. 

Tip: Outlay for professional editing and design. 


If authors outsource to beta readers, professional editors, cover designers and interior designers, yes. Savvy readers notice “self-pub” red flags: 

  • Sentences littered with adverbs and multiple florid adjectives.
  • Errant punctuation. Unnecessary commas. 
  •  Glacial pace, head hopping and self-indulgent parentheses. 


Literary Awards: Indie authors need not apply. Tell me it isn't so?

Writers Festivals: Ditto.

Marketing: We’re on our own. Apply ingenuity. 

Reviews: Mainstream media pages rarely give space to small press submissions. 

But wait...



I felt prompted to post a copy of my latest book to the Books Editor of the Weekend Australian, with my flyer and copies of features in The Courier Mail QMag and Toowoomba Chronicle. (These derived from personal relationships with the respective editors.) And–perhaps the clincher–a mouse pad showing the iconic elevator that made the Art Deco Mansion in St Lucia the talk of 1950s Brisbane. My cash splash on merch was put to good use. 

Tip: Create eye-catching PR. 

Last weekend, I was ecstatic to see my book cover in the national daily. 

As I wrote to the editor:

 "That par in the Weekend Australian has taught me to resist self-destructive sabotage that  whines 'Why send a review copy to the national Weekend Australian? They only give space to trad publishers, the kind who favour ghost-written footy jocks, ex-politicians, and Very Deep Novels.' What an injection of hope that this mainstream paper gave me space!

Thank you. I am very grateful!"

We all appreciate appreciation. It builds relationship. Which may prompt that review. 

(Watch the space: Will my response be published next issue?)

Memo to self: Don't let the tag “self-published” inhibit your words.

Have your words fallen victim to this self-defeat? 

Let's continue to put them out into the world!


Never mind a dozen or so publications, Ruth sees the formation of Omega Writers 30-odd years ago as the most significant seed she was called to plant. She feels awed by the publications that fellow authors have released. She thanks God for this rich harvest.




Read PR articles

Watch book launch


  1. Thanks Ruth. Your experience, and success, is ever so heartening to those of us stepping out on the Indie pathway. I reckon I'll take a good dose of your drive and persistence with a cup of I-can-do-it-too tea and keep on going.

    1. Where do you buy that tea? I need some :D.

    2. Ah, Susan ... it is a gift, according to Paul's letter to the Philippians (4:13) ... which is received from Christ within the context of the generous support and encouragement freely offered by others.

    3. Mazzy, my first reaction was "tea?" – then second, aha "sisu" the Finnish word which approximates to “fortitude,” or “grit,” or “perseverance,” or “resolve to overcome obstacles.” It's a famously untranslatable word that Finns claim to be at some centre of the Finnish national identity.

  2. Thanks Ruth. We all need encouragement like this. Well done in getting into the Weekend Australian. Hope it boosts sales.

  3. Thanks for sharing my fillip, Susan. Such mileage is every author's dream.

  4. But my third reaction seconds Mazzy's verse; it is indeed a gift from Christ, and I vouch for the context of "generous support and encouragement freely offered by others."