Self-Publishing to Traditional Publishing: A Guest Post by David Jester, Author of An Idiot in Marriage

An idiot in marriage

I’m so pleased to welcome David Jester, author of An Idiot in Marriage, to Linda’s Book Bag today. I do intend to finish writing my own novel one of these days so I’m always really interested in hearing how other writers have come to be published. David has a smashing post telling us how he went about getting his novels published.

An Idiot in Marriage is the follow up to David’s An Idiot in Love and was published by Skyhorse and is available for purchase in e-book and paperback here.

An Idiot in Marriage

An idiot in marriage

Kieran McCall’s youth was a series of misguided attempts at love—a succession of sexual failures that always ended in disaster but somehow led to something worthwhile. As an adult, his failures looked like they were behind him. He married the love of his life and they had a child together, but chaos was never far away.

An Idiot in Marriage follows Kieran McCall as he learns to live with the strains of married life and parenthood, from dealing with incompetent babysitters and dirty diapers to neighbors from hell, stray ducks, and a best friend who still thinks with his dick.

Kieran McCall grew up, but he never matured and he never changed. He’s still a little immature, he’s still a little naïve, and he’s still massively incompetent. Kieran may be older, but he’s definitely not wiser. And if he doesn’t shape up, he may risk losing it all.

From Self-Publishing to Traditional Publishing: My Journey

 A Guest Post by David Jester

I tried to make it as an author for nearly 10 years before it finally happened. And it didn’t happen in the traditional sense, I just got so tired of rejections, of dealing with agents and publishers, that I decided to do it myself. In 2012 I realized I had finally written a book that I deemed to be perfect. I had seen so many flaws in my books before then, but I was 100% happy with this new novel. That’s a rarity for any novelist, so I knew I was onto something good.

Three weeks later I had been told by several different agents that the book, An Idiot in Love, was too niche and wouldn’t sell more than a few hundred copies. I couldn’t believe that and I certainly couldn’t accept it. So, I decided to self-publish. I knew nothing about the process, but I figured it out quickly and I sold over 10,000 copies in the first month.

I resisted the overwhelming urge to email those agents with an “I told you so” and an obligatory “nuh huh nah nah nah” and I went on to write and publish more books. Within two years my books had been downloaded nearly half a million times and then I made the decision to get into traditional publishing.

 Why I Did It

The first thing people ask when I tell them this story is, “Why?”. The truth is, I panicked. I was working around the clock to write, publish and market my books and I was alone. I had the support of a loving partner (who also helped to create my covers) but for the most part, it was just me.

The life of an author is a lonely one as it is, but when you’re a successful self-published author it’s even worse. You have to do everything. You have to deal with all of the stress and the worry yourself. I knew that at any minute my books could stop selling and I would have nothing again. It was because of this that I started to freelance, which also worked very well for me. In a few months I was freelancing full-time and earning a very good wage, but I was juggling so many different things that I would go days without sleeping just to stay on track.

I chose to go to a traditional publisher because I knew they would take a large chunk of that burden off my shoulders. I wouldn’t have as much control, I would be risking those sales and that success, but in the long run, it felt like a good decision. And thankfully, it was.

 Why I Prefer Traditional Publishing

It takes a lot to unnerve me and to stress me out. But it still happens. Writers are generally a very temperamental bunch. We don’t like being critiqued. We don’t like bad reviews. After all, we work alone, we submit alone and we publish alone. We put our hearts, souls and time into a project that is 100% us, and when that gets picked apart, it’s understandably very hard to deal with.

One of the benefits of traditional publishing is that you have the support of editors, publicists, designers and a sales team behind you. They will arrange for critical reviews and they will support you whether they are good and bad. They will help with the editing and the construction of your novel; they will get your book into newspapers, onto shelves and on all major retailers.

As an author I earn less now than I did then, there’s no doubt about that. But I work less, I feel better about it, and all of that extra time allows me to get involved with other projects, to freelance more and to put my skills to good use elsewhere.

If I had to make the decision again, I would do exactly the same thing. And I’d recommend that any successful self-published author out there does the same thing.

(How interesting David. I wonder what self-published and conventionally published authors think?)

About David Jester


David Jester is the pen name of a horror and comedy author living in the North-East of England. David has been working as a full-time writer since the age of 18, when he published his first short story. In his late 20s, towards the end of 2012, David self-published An Idiot in Love to great acclaim. Within 6 months this comedy novel had achieved Amazon bestseller status in the UK, US, Canada and Italy.

Throughout the next two years he published several other novels, novellas and short stories as David Jester. He also rewrote some of his older books and published these under a different pseudonym. In his spare time, David worked as a freelance writer, assisting with film scripts, comic books, novels, content writing, copywriting, and more.

In 2015, David began working with San-Francisco based agent Peter Beren, and together they sold all of his previously self-published books, as well as two un-released titles, to Skyhorse Publishing. In 2016, David began to spend less time on his freelance work and devoted more time to his role as an author.

You can follow David on Twitter @DavidJester, find him on Facebook or visit his blog.

20 thoughts on “Self-Publishing to Traditional Publishing: A Guest Post by David Jester, Author of An Idiot in Marriage

  1. An very interesting guest post, Linda. I think David is right in a lot of ways. Self publishing is very hard work and it is difficult to keep up with all the marketing. It detracts you from what you like doing which is reading and writing. I am glad that I have a publisher to help me. Anne is a small publisher but it really does help a lot to have her and her advice.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Great post. I self-published, and then took a publishing deal, for much the same reasons. I loved being in control of everything, but it was also very stressful. It’s tough to relinquish control, but it also means I’m free to deal with other things going on in life rather than having to work 24/7.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. It’s one of the reasons I host so many self-published authors – just a small attempt to help them get noticed as it’s such a crowded market. Thanks Anne, for calling by and commenting.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. bodenangelenagmailcom says:

    Hi I’m published by Urbane Publications and am very happy with that. I still do a lot of social media, blogging, marketing etc but to know someone is collaborating with me on that takes a load of my shoulders. I think self publishing is a great concept if you can make it work for you. I

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I think Matthew tries really hard at Urbane to work with authors and wonder if smaller publishers have a more personal approach. Thanks so much for calling by and commenting.


  6. An interesting blog post and I think it proves that each individual has to make the publishing route choice that is right for them. Even if someone chooses trad rather than indie or the other way round, it doesn’t mean to say that it will always be right for them as we have different needs and pressures at different stages of our lives. Which route you choose really is personal choice and some people aren’t interested in running their own businesses as indie authors do. Personally I enjoy it but ultimately hybrid – a mix of both – would seem the perfect option.

    Liked by 1 person

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