Monday, March 28, 2016

GUEST POST: “Self-Published to Small-Press Published” by Stacy Barnett Mozer

When my middle grade novel, The Sweet Spot, launched last June I was sure that I had made the final and best decision on how I was going to put it out into the world. The book had previously found an agent, gone through rounds of revision and rejection and revision - and not sold. It had been tabled it for a couple of years and not quite forgotten as I moved on to other projects, but I kept going back to it. 

I made changes based on an editor’s feedback and turned the whole thing from past tense to present tense. I got more beta readers, made additional changes, and could have tried to send it out into the traditional route again, but some workshops at the NESCBWI conference last year changed my mind. 

A number of self-published authors talked about the freedom they felt in doing it themselves. How they loved being the one in the driver’s seat and having the book’s success and failure on their own shoulders. It sounded great. I hired my school art teacher to draw me a cover and went right onto Createspace and Kindle Direct and used their author templates to produce a book.

And it was great. Having my book as a real book that I could hold in my hand, seeing it on Amazon and in the local libraries, reading reviews, having kids come running over to tell me how much they loved my book, was an absolutely amazing experience. I could try out some marketing idea and watch my account for the next few days to see what happened. The timeline was mine to control. The marketing ideas were mine alone. Everything was up to me.

So what went wrong? In a word: Bookstores. According to Createspace, selling books to bookstores isn’t a problem as long as you sign up for their expanded distribution service. But what they don’t make clear is that only some books will be sold in certain places. My book was available online from Barnes & Noble and it was sold in other random places, but nobody could buy it at a discount. Because of this, my local Indies could only take the book on consignment and most of the deals were so poor that I would have been paying them to sell my book. Plus some Indies didn’t like supporting a book that was published by an Amazon company and wouldn’t consider my book at all.

Fortunately, an author friend gave me another option. He told me about a brand new small press that was forming and looking for middle grade authors with books that were already doing well independently. I submitted my book, had it approved (well, everything except for the cover), and here we are: a brand new home for The Sweet Spot and a new way of doing things.

With the small press I have gained a support network, some oversight, minds more experienced then mine at doing this, a brand new cover, and a path into seeing my book in stores. I have lost the complete control and freedom, and some of the money that goes along with doing it myself. Which will I end up liking more…  The jury is still out. But so far I have been enjoying having a team.

Stacy Barnett Mozer is a third grade teacher and a mom. She started writing books when a class of students told her that there was no way that a real author who wrote real books could possibly revise their work as much as she asked them to revise. She’s been revising her own work ever since. The Sweet Spot launched from Spellbound River Press on March 25. You can buy it at Visit Stacy online at You can follow her on twitter at @SMozer and on Facebook at

To win a copy of The Sweet Spot go to


  1. Thanks for sharing your experience, and best of luck with THE SWEET SPOT!

  2. Thanks for this post, I've been thinking about this topic for a long time and trying to decide what avenue would be best for me. Best of luck to you!

  3. Small presses are filling a need for authors and for readers. They're getting some very good books out there and doing a great job. Good luck with your book. I'm marking it as TBR on Goodreads.

  4. Thanks so much for your support! Finnthefearless, good luck with your choice as well.


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