Why I’m Self-Publishing My Next Book

I’ve decided to self-publish my upcoming novel, M School.

This will be my sixth self-published book. You might think the decision to go indie yet again was an easy one.

It wasn’t.

I seriously considered seeking an agent and publisher for this novel.

Having gone the self-published route in the past, I’m going in with eyes wide open. I know exactly how much work is involved and what the results of that work will be. The idea of getting some help with the (sometimes overwhelming) workload is certainly appealing.

The possibility of getting an advance against royalties upfront (money coming in) instead of investing in editing and design myself (money going out) was also a nice thought.

And, of course, there’s some serious prestige that comes from securing a book contract.

As a writing coach, the most appealing aspect of all for going traditional was that having gone through the process of traditional publishing myself I would have (arguably) been in a better position to coach clients through that process.

Like I said, it wasn’t an easy decision, but in the end, I decided to go indie.

Here’s why.

I know What I’m Doing

This ain’t my first rodeo. I know how to choose a cover designer. I know how to work with an editor. I know how to publish and market a book. While help with the various tasks involved in publishing would be nice, it’s not in any way necessary in my case. I know how to produce a professional quality book on my own. It takes a lot of work, but I’m not afraid of working hard.

m schoolI’m a Control Freak

I want the control. I want final say on what my cover looks like and how my book is marketed. Author Tim Ferriss has been increasingly vocal about how important control over his creative work has become, particularly after a difficult experience producing his TV show, The Tim Ferriss Experiment. When Tim Ferriss talks, I listen.

The Book is Part of a Larger Business Strategy

Book sales are just one part of my overall business revenue. I also make income ghostwriting books for other people, coaching authors one-on-one and in my group coaching program, as well as through sales of my online course, The Novel Writer’s Blueprint. But that doesn’t mean consistently publishing extremely high-quality books isn’t an essential part of my business model. It’s absolutely essential because it builds my authority as a writing and publishing expert. I’m “walking the talk”, so to speak. I would have perhaps gained some authority by announcing a book contract, but the respect and authority I’m more interested in getting from my clients and potential clients will come via a demonstration of work ethic by way of consistently writing and publishing great books, not signing deals.

(Interested in learning more about the business side of independent publishing and building an author career? Check out the Book, Brand and Business Summit kicking off next Monday.)


I’m not the most patient person in the world. It takes time to find an agent. It takes more time for that agent to sell your manuscript to a publisher. It takes even more time to slot that book into the publisher’s existing publishing schedule. I want to get M School into reader’s hands in the next six months, not spend the next two years watching it move slowly through the machinery of some big corporation.

Self-Publishing is Punk Rock

Speaking of big corporations, I grew up playing in punk rock bands. At no point did we ever want to sign a contract with a major label. We just wanted to play awesome songs to a passionate fan base. I approach my writing with that same spirit. I don’t write novels as some sort of desperate stab at approval and acceptance from corporate America. Art is supposed to be about telling The Man to F-off, not begging for his approval. The only people I care about impressing are my readers and my clients. Those are the real gatekeepers.

Will I regret the decision to self-publish in the months to come, as the workload piles up and the stress becomes overwhelming?


But I’ll survive.

Then I’ll go write another book.

And maybe I’ll seek a contract for that one.

grey backKevin T. Johns is an author, writing coach, and ghostwriter. He has helped hundreds of writers from around the world get ideas out of their heads, onto the page, and into readers' hands. Get your free copy of his short guide for authors below.


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