What If I Self-Published on My Way to Getting Focused?

The “Your Questions Answered” Series

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I self-published two ebooks on Amazon and Smashwords. They aren’t/weren’t meant for a wide audience, instead geared towards Christian parents/grandparents who love a heroin addict. 

Additionally, my online writing audience is growing.  Should mention of those sites be included?  Different materials from my ebooks.  One is a work-in-progress Christian Fantasy, the other, intended for those who need to heal from heartache written in the form of a children’s story.

Would any of these be submittable for traditional publishing, even though they are currently on the web? 

Thanks for asking! Many authors self-publish as part of their writing journey, so you are not alone in wondering how that decision affects your career today and where to go next.

A Niche Audience

I believe you were wise to self-publish your book for people who love a heroin addict. Although sadly, this drug seems to increase in popularity with each passing decade, as you pointed out, your target market is relatively small. May the Lord lead addicts to heal, and may He keep their loved ones in His tender loving care.

Publishing History

Always mention any publishing history in your proposal and offer the most current sales figures possible. Always show agents and editors everything right away rather than for one and all to be surprised later after stumbling upon a title online.

Publishing Books on the Web

When seeking a traditional publisher, I recommend pitching a new project. The book publishers we work with seek never-before-published works. However, since you are also planning to mention your books published online in your proposal, an editor can say, “Wow! I want to publish the book that’s online!” You never know.

Focusing on Genre

Right now, you sound as though you enjoy writing in a broad spectrum for different audiences. However, because author branding is so important, now is an excellent time to choose a focus. If you want to concentrate on Christian Fantasy, I recommend building your brand and credibility there while writing the novel. Plug into places where fantasy readers and authors congregate and make connections. Go to a conference or two that emphasize this genre. Make friends and have fun!

Your turn:

How did you find your focus?

What is your favorite conference for your genre?

For the entire series, click here: “Your Questions Answered.”

11 Responses to What If I Self-Published on My Way to Getting Focused?

  1. Avatar
    Audra Sanlyn October 22, 2020 at 5:02 am #

    Thank you for answering this question, Tamela! I often find myself peering across the fence at that seemingly greener grass and thinking, oh, that would be fun to write! After my second child, I felt led to find out more about the pro-life/pro-choice battle going on in our country and eventually found myself covering this topic often on my blog. I prefer to write fiction, however, which is how my most current writing project was born. A fictional story with a pro-life theme. I’ve had young kids throughout my writing career, so conferences have been hard to come by, but online webinars have been a huge help and I’m looking forward to ACFW VA’s Royal Writer’s Conference in November.

  2. Avatar
    Jeannie Delahunt October 22, 2020 at 6:00 am #

    Thank you so much for the feedback, Tamela! Greatly appreciated!

    I do write in a spectrum of genres part of that has to do with my background. My writing kind of depends upon the needs I see people struggling with around me, or issues I struggle with. I write to encourage others as best I can.

    You’ve given me insights to think upon. Again, thank you so much! 🙂 🙂

  3. Avatar
    Roberta Sarver October 22, 2020 at 7:40 am #

    I found my niche gradually as my blog evolved. I started writing humor posts but then began writing letters from an Ozark mountaineer to his big-city cousin, about the puzzling state of affairs outside “the holler.” They leaned toward cultural satire. And then I saw the need for people to learn little-known facts from history, so part of it evolved further. I get more feedback now than when I started, so I guess it’s working.

  4. Avatar
    Abby Martin October 22, 2020 at 7:43 am #

    Tamela,

    I don’t think there is a conference for my genre. Thomas Umstattd told me my genre does not exist yet. They said I could be a catalyst for a whole new market of books and readers. From what they said, my genre is “YA Parable fiction and non-fiction”.

    I found my focus by having my theme of life / genre evaluated by Thomas Umstattd Jr and Jim (James L.) Rubart. I knew how I wrote a book and my goal/mission with each, I just didn’t know what genre I was supposed to fit into. It was quite an experience and SO eye opening finding out about my writing style and genre!

    • Avatar
      Kristen Joy Wilks October 22, 2020 at 9:12 am #

      Oooh! Wouldn’t those be YA Morality Tales? Look up “morality tales” there is a bunch about the genre online Sounds awesome! Teens love fairytale retellings and fairytales always had a moral.

  5. Avatar
    Kristen Joy Wilks October 22, 2020 at 9:09 am #

    Ha ha! I found my focus by writing 18 manuscripts … which takes quite a bit of time. But it has all been good for my craft. I adore YA and started writing RomComs on a dare and really do enjoy those as well. But after dipping my toe into picture book writing and then charging through six middle grade stories, I think that my voice, experiences, and passions lend themselves toward middle grade. I do live and work at a Bible camp and tend to notice the funny things in life, after all. Plus, I have all these real life experiences with our giant princess dog and pet chickens that are just waiting to spark a story. Princess Leia Freyja is hilarious, I can’t help but write a character for our 117lb furbaby and all the kids who love her princessy ways.

  6. Avatar
    Loretta Eidson October 22, 2020 at 11:04 am #

    My focus began back in middle school when I checked out of the library a Phyllis Whitney novel. I fell in love with her work and eventually read all of her books the school library had. It hasn’t surprised me that I found my niche writing romantic suspense, my genre of choice.

  7. Avatar
    Andrew Budek-Schmeisser October 22, 2020 at 6:06 pm #

    Yeah, I tried the self-pub gig,
    and that might be really bad,
    and have made a righteous pig
    of any TradPub chance I had.
    I had no clue of how to sell,
    or even if the bloody book
    had even been written well,
    or was worth the time it took.
    I’ve sold a couple, here and there,
    and so folks say that it’s OK,
    but I’d set fire to my hair,
    impatient to be on the way
    the walls of ‘authorship’ to breach;
    now it’s a place I’ll never reach.

  8. Avatar
    Brennan S. McPherson October 23, 2020 at 9:06 am #

    One thing to keep in mind is that just because you have to pick a single focus to establish an effective brand for your writing career, that doesn’t mean you can’t write other genres for your own enjoyment. It may feel like you’re signing away your life to slavery to a single niche, but that’s not true. You can still write additional books/short stories for fun on the side. If you write enough, you could even establish a pen name to self-publish them, or write in other mediums.

    Since settling on Biblical Fiction for my niche, I’ve been freed to write more diverse content in other mediums (devotionals, curriculum, video content, scripts). Rather than restricting creativity, focusing on one genre has made marketing a breeze, which saves an enormous amount of time, which I can then invest into writing more content. It’s also made me way more productive. So: focusing on one genre has made it possible to write more, to write more diverse content in other mediums, and to garner strong sales with way less work/investment.

    I used to look at publishing as though it’s where all the satisfaction and fun is. Publishing is fun for about 15 minutes, then it’s a stressful for-profit business that you have to manage carefully. WRITING is where it’s at. Focusing on one genre deletes so much unnecessary stress. AND it helps you be more successful.

  9. Avatar
    Sheri Dean Parmelee, Ph.D. October 23, 2020 at 3:03 pm #

    I love going to ACFW.

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