Jamie Brazil Shares Brutal Truths About Self-Publishing

March 1, 2014

Today my guest author is Jamie Brazil. Like most of us she writes fiction as well as non-fiction.  Today she’s sharing with us some brutal truths about self-publishing. Please leave questions and comments for her. I’m sure I can coerce … I mean, persuade her to stop by and reply. Also check out her posts on See Jane Publish. 

Welcome, Jamie!

Brutal Truths About Self-Publishing


Brutal Truths About Self-Publishing

Why on earth would I dredge up the past, revise it, and republish? The truth is I never thought I would. Yet here I am, doing just that with this month’s release of Some Writers Deserve to Starve! 31 Brutal Truths About the Publishing Industry.

I wrote it in 2002, rewrote for my then-agent in 2003, sold it to Writer’s Digest in 2004, and rewrote extensively again before it was published in 2005. The original manuscript was based on all the things I wish I’d done differently on my road to publication, and insider tips I gained as a writing conference coordinator. I messed up a lot, did so many things wrong, and wanted to save others from the same mistakes.

And I did. But back then the publishing industry was changing. Rapidly. I had a friend who was selling over $10K a month in self-distributed nonfiction. And E-readers? What were those?

Though the original book sold well the first couple years, it quickly became out of date, and I was happy to let that chapter of my life go as I moved forward in other directions.

Fast forward to 2013. My first smart phone! I can’t live without it now. I swore I wouldn’t be addicted like others… but here I am. Lost without it, downloading new apps all the time, and discovering new ways to use it (off topic here, but did you know that you can now use your smart phone to help determine if you have mercury in your water? WOW).

What else did I find in the smart phone store? Another writer, in his 20’s, who had just finished his first novel and was trying to figure out publishing. Happy to answer all his questions, I kept wanting to say just read this book (Starve), it’s all there. But, of course it was out of print. And out of date.

Which is when I decided it was time to republish the book so it could continue to help others.

 Do you have books in your past? A novel stashed on a hard drive or publishing rights that might be returned to you? How do you feel about second-time-around books?



Some writers STILL deserve to starve. Updated and revised, the popular Some Writers Deserve to Starve! 31 Brutal Truths About the Publishing Industry is back for round two of humorous advice for writers just getting started, and hilarious cautionary tales for those contemplating risky (and risque) career moves. Just because publishing’s digital doors have been blown wide open doesn’t guarantee you instant mega-bestseller success, or even readers for that matter. But armed with the insider information of the 31 Brutal Truths you’ll quickly become a savvy pro when it comes to navigating the journey of getting published whether it’s traditionally or independently.





When choosing between two evils, I always like to try the one I’ve never tried before.”

Mae West

A long time ago, decades ago, writers would write their tomes, lick a stamp, cross their fingers, and mail their work off to the brand-name publishers in Manhattan. According to the myth still perpetuated in Hollywood movies today, sophisticated, ascot-wearing, martini-swilling editors await these masterpieces. They eagerly rip open the envelopes containing these unsolicited manuscripts, seize upon the brilliance within and declare it a sure-fire bestseller. Some myths need to be bulldozed like Schwab’s drugstore on the Sunset Strip.

Unless you have an agent, most of the large publishers are closed to you. Is that the end of your infant publishing career? Does no agent equal no access? No.

Fortunately, not all publishers are created equal. While many New York-based publishers are equipped with warning labels and Web pages trumpeting the fact that they do not accept unsolicited anything of any kind, many other publishers have a different take on submissions. Many do not require you to be represented by an agent.

Your options include privately owned publishers, university presses, digital publishers, self-publishing, author co-ops, and print-on-demand publishing.

Let’s take a look at Digital Publishers

Digital publishers, sometimes known as digital-first publishers, have been around for a lot longer than you think. In the beginning, digital pioneers like Ellora’s Cave brought readers to the screen. Other contenders, like Wild Rose Press and Samhain, were also quick to capitalize on the popularity of the early digital market. Back then, many authors who signed with these, and similar companies, eventually saw their books in print, usually after six months, and almost always with limited distribution. This is how the term digital-first was born.

Times have changed.

Any place where writers gather you are sure to find digital publishers. Though many no longer offer print options to their authors, a handful of these publishers still do. The catch? Digital sales must exceed 500 or 1000 copies (or whatever the digital press specifies) before the presses roll.

How popular is digital publishing? In New York, all the major publishing houses with commercial fiction imprints have joined the fray and launched their own online empires to compete with the myriad of digital publishers seeking authors.

It’s a little crazy out there with so many digital publishers angling for talent and product. Yet writers should know that few digital publishers offer advances, and distribution (at this time) remains limited to online venues only. And while some consider digital publishers the “farm team” for the pro leagues, a place where writers can cut their teeth and prove themselves worthy of being widely published by the majors, others are skipping the middlemen and defining success on their own terms.

To read all about the various types of publishers and publishing and which is right for your work, check out “Some Writers Deserve to Starve! 31 Brutal Truths About the Publishing Industry.”


Jamie Brazil is the author of five novels and two nonfiction books. A regular contributor to See Jane Publish and The Oregon Book Report, Jamie self-published her first e-book in 2011. She juggles writing, working, and family life with her husband and hound dog– who both also write books!


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2 Responses to Jamie Brazil Shares Brutal Truths About Self-Publishing

  1. Jamie
    on March 1, 2014 at 3:29 pm

    Hi Lynn, thanks for hosting me today!
    Jamie recently posted..There Are a Lot of Teachers Who Shouldn’t Be TeachingMy Profile

    • Lynn on March 1, 2014 at 5:33 pm

      It’s my pleasure, Jamie.

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