Guest Post- Karen Frisch – To E-publish or Not to E-publish

Please welcome our guest – Karen Frisch author of Murder Most Civil.

A couple of my writer friends are facing a major decision. After querying editors and agents for the past few years, they’ve come up empty-handed. Yet they aren’t letting that discourage them.
Rather than continuing on the same path, they have options that didn’t exist a decade ago. For writers, this can be the best of times or the worst. E-publishing is a career-changing decision, and success sometimes depends less on perspective than on action. Some e-pubbed authors are doing very well financially. The question is not only important but timely. Hindsight is worthless if you miss the boat after it’s sailed.
For established writers, it’s less of a dilemma. But for writers who are at the crossroads of their careers, to be or not to be e-published is the question.It’s a tale of two streams of thought. The question for writers is whether it’s nobler to follow the traditional route, getting enough novels under their belt until their writing isstrong enough to earn them an editor and possibly an agent, or to post their novel online, hoping to draw both attention and customers.
For those willing to take a risk, e-publishing is increasingly becoming a popular alternative for writers who have been unable to secure a traditional publisher. Amanda Hocking’s experience proves that persistence and initiative pays off. After she self-published her novel on Amazon and offered it for far less than a print publisher could have, her successful venture led to a major contract with St. Martin’s at auction.
She certainly isn’t the only author to have had a profitable experience with online publishing. But it’s no guarantee of sales, easy or otherwise. Writers must be willing to promote their e-books more vigorously than a traditional publisher would. Over time it’s the quality of the writing combined with exposure that often determines an author’s success.
A disadvantage of online publishing is that the author is responsible for all aspects of publication. Unlike a traditional publishing house that provides an editor, proofreader, and cover artist, the writer must also either play these roles or find someone else to do it. And if Smashwords isn’t sufficient, it’s then on to reformatting for Kindle and/or the Nook.
If you’re a prepublished author, you might need to do some soul-searching as to what motivates you. Ask yourself whether your ultimate goal is to make money or to find validation through acceptance by a respected publisher. Keep in mind that the two aren’t necessarily mutually exclusive. Before a writer makes any decision, it’s better to let some time go by after finishing a manuscript before taking a hard, objective look at it to see if it can be improved and resubmitted elsewhere.
All writers must follow the path of their choice and decide their own future. If you do your research, you might be pleasantly surprised at the results. To paraphrase the literary masters yet again, they might even meet your greatest expectations.

Karen Frisch is the author of Lady Delphinia’s Deception, a Regency romance published by ImaJinn, and Murder Most Civil, a Victorian mystery published by Mainly Murder Press. Her historical romance What’s in a Name will be released by Avalon in December. Visit her website at, or write her at

Thanks for being here, Karen.
April Dawn, Author of Crushing Desire and Bound by Love.


6 responses to “Guest Post- Karen Frisch – To E-publish or Not to E-publish

  1. great blog Karen; yes, we as writers have all come up with the dilemma of whether to keep submitting to a major pub house, or to e-publish. Im mulling over my choices at the current time as well.

  2. Karen, I made the leap to self-publishing this year and it was the best decision I ever made. It’s incredibly gratifying to have complete control over the process. For me, it was the right step after years of frustration.

  3. Karen, thanks so much for this insight into self-publishing or going the traditional route. It seems either way, self-pub or traditional, the author must do the lion’s share of the promotion work. So much to think about on this journey!

  4. Karen, I was turned down by a few of the major publishing houses…and I got tired of seeing my ms just sitting there on my desktop. I took the plunge and I don’t regret it. It’s a lot of work and scary, but anything worthwhile is. I’m sure it’s not for everyone. You have to have polished your work and you should know your audience. Don’t expect a million downloads if you’re writing to a niche readership. BUT, for many, it can be freeing. It’s not just one editor saying yay or nay to my book. It’s the actual readers.

    If you’re curious about what the initial experience was like you can read my blog posts from April/May of this year.

    Right now I’m happily selling about 200 books a day and so grateful someone suggested that I try self-publishing.

    Ruth Cardello
    Maid for the Billionaire
    For Love or Legacy

  5. It’s the great debate. For most who are already e-published and not making the money they desire, self-publishing seems to be the route to go. I for one am all for it! 🙂

  6. There is something inbetween self-publishing and traditional publishing and that is going with an epublisher. It’s still a lot of promo work for the author, but the epublisher gets the books formatted, uploaded, etc. Of course, one needs to be diligent in thoroughly checking out an epublisher through Absolute Write, Preditors & Editors, authors, etc.

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