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July 12, 2016

There’s nothing that beats the good old American entrepreneurial spirit and self-publishing fits well into that category. After all, to self-publish is to take on a small business. In reality, to publish any book other than a New York Times best seller is to take on a small business, when you get down to it. The difference is that with self-publishing, you pay for everything. You have no backing whatsoever. The entire onus is on you, from writing the book to the editing, marketing, distributing, and every other little nuance. With a small publisher, a good bit of that is on you as well, but not everything.

Self-publishing came to mind the other day when my friend, a self-published and quite successful author, Deborah Dorchak posted an article about Barnes & Noble. The article headlined the fact that B&N will start selling and featuring self-published books from those authors. Woohoo! Big news! Oh, but wait a minute…

For those of you that saw that headline, maybe on another forum, or on a news site somewhere, how many of you actually read the article?


You may have noticed that my title says “rears its head” instead of “rears its ugly head” because I don’t find self-publishing ugly. I just find that this avenue is not for me. I have neither the time, money nor the principle to follow that path. However, some do and I have nothing against that. The thing I need to bring up here is that though the article headline sounds like a big deal, for those of you that didn’t read it all the way through, there are some details you might have missed.

B&N is ramping up to put a dent in Amazon with the self-publishing crowd. However, the devil seems to be in the details right now. The one that stood out to me, and seems to be an issue and might be for new authors is that to get your book in their stores, you have to meet certain sales goals first. Uh oh…I saw numbers of 1,000 and 500 before they’ll talk to you. If you’re starting out, you have to find some way to prove to them you have these numbers. In other words, you can’t just put out your book and go right to your local store and expect them to display your book! Last night at the writer’s group, one of the members who read a version of the article said the sales figures specify you have to have sales of 500 in Nook, which is the Barnes & Noble version of the e-reader. In that regard, they would have a way to track your sales figures even if you can’t (at least I’ve never been able to figure them out yet).

Another issue someone mentioned in the comments section of the version I read, and to which I can attest to as fact. B&N already represents self-published books in their stores! Our very own Deborah Dorchak & Wendi Kelly’s shape changer series is on the shelves. In fact, that’s where I bought their first book. I did not buy it from Deborah directly at one of our writer’s group meetings. I bought it in the store. Folks, they’ve been quietly selling self-published books all along, at least to some degree, especially from local authors.


I, personally, will never self-publish. Okay, I take that back. I’ve been self-publishing all along on the Let’s Talk Nevada web site. That’s where you’ll find my autobiography, or to be more sophisticated or if you want…or snooty, my memoir! Yup, I’ve been self-publishing it there since 2014. No overhead, nobody telling me what to do, of course, no money coming in and no sales figures. I’m doing it for free. I can say one thing, I have no money in my pocket, but I also don’t have a garage full of books, haven’t spent anything but a bit of time writing those articles, and had a great time doing so. In that regard, I’ve been self-publishing for several years and have a legacy on line. I’ve never spent a dime on it.

Using the example of a success story, Deborah Dorchak and her partner, Wendi Kelly succeeded because they’re relentless marketers. On the other hand, I know so many self-published authors that have ended up with a garage full of books because they have no clue how to market their book, or are unwilling to get out in the trenches and sell them.

You have to have the entrepreneurial spirit to pull this off. Even if you’re conventionally published, you have to do this.

Time will tell if this Barnes & Noble feature works out for the self-publishing crowd…or even the small publisher crowd. We’ll see.

Whichever path you choose, the best of luck!

Happy writing!


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