I had lunch with a couple of old friends last week and the topic of THE TRIP, of course, came up...
What also came up was the fact that a former classmate of ours published his own novel, through a traditional publisher. Of course, the question of how much this guy's being published factored into my decision to launch when I did.
The short answer is it had nothing at all to do with when I launched.
Let me explain a little further.
I decided to self-publish THE TRIP in 2010. Self publishing is a LOT of work. I'm the editor. The quality department. I've got to be the one to pull together everything from the marketing plan to the cover art. In short, it's all on me. It's fun, don't get me wrong, but it's not easy and it's a lot of work.
I had a couple of things get in the way of publishing, and finally set to wrapping things up in the fall of 2012. I was able to launch right about Christmas, after years of hard work. Coincidentally my former classmate announced his book being published around Thanksgiving.
The only way anyone is going to get a self-published book out quickly is by half-assing it. I hate to say it, but in project management there are trade offs between cost, time and quality. You can choose to focus on one attribute, and it will always be at the expense of the other two.
If you fix the timeframe and make it aggressive, it's going to be expensive and it's not going to be very good. Period.
I chose to go the other way - I focused on the quality of the book, and didn't worry about the time. This also helped me keep the cost down (I spent less than $1000 bringing my book to market - but that's a topic for another post).
My advice if you choose to go this route is take the same approach. Focus on the quality of the work - self-published books get a bad rap because so many people read a few books and think there's nothing to writing one. (Much like people seem to think about screenplays, which is also a topic for another post) Many self-published books are akin to swallowing glass, but I do believe the market will always make room for quality products.