Self-publishing is an opportunity: Catherine Ryan Howard

Catherine Ryan Howard is one of Ireland’s most successful self-published authors. This article is based on her presentation at Freelance Forum 2012 on 24 September 2012. Follow her blog for frequent insights into th world of e-publishing.

For me, the term self-publishing was once synonymous with terms like vanity publishing, last resort and, um, deluded loser.

That’s why when a friend sent me a link to a Print-On-Demand site called Lulu back in November 2009, I refused to even consider going down that route. Wasn’t it a sign that I knew nothing about publishing, that I thought this was how it was done?

But I did know about publishing – a lot about it, and far more than I should considering I wasn’t working in the industry but daydreaming of it making my deepest wish come true. I’d read every How To Get a Six-Figure Deal by Monday book on the market and because I loved books, I knew how they should look and set myself high standards to adhere to.

Two years later I’ve sold something in the region of 20,000 books – which isn’t a lot at all; there’s self-publishers selling that every week – but it’s enough to make a modest living, and to keep me in coffee while I try to get published.

Before the digital publishing revolution, I had no route to market except for someone else’s “yes”.

These days, self-publishing is synonymous with opportunity.