A Few Thoughts on Self-Publishing

Joshua Fields Millburn
Posted on January 20, 2013

The following transcript is an attenuated Q&A from a recent nine-page interview between Thom Chambers and Joshua Fields Millburn in the premier issue of The Micropublisher magazine.

Thom Chambers: I believe I’m right in saying that you were working on your fiction titles before the launch of The Minimalists. Have you ever tried to go down the traditional route with your work of finding a publisher, or literary agent?

JFM: Actually, when I left my job, that was the original plan. I’ve been writing fiction for nine years. I wanted to go the traditional fiction-writer route: find an agent, sign with a publisher, recollect my thoughts in a dark room each morning, and allow the guys in suits to flesh out the details. But to my surprise, The Minimalists took off, and the original plan went by the wayside. Perhaps last year was simply a beautiful accident, but it allowed me to self-publish several books and make a some money on my own.

With the audience that you now have, are you a self-publishing evangelist? Are you happy to continue self-publishing for the foreseeable future, or does the draw of being signed to a publishing house remain?

I am a writing evangelist. I self-publish because it’s currently the best option for me and for my readers. I wouldn’t sign with a publisher just for the sake of being “a published author,” which by itself is an empty endeavor that reeks of pretense.

That said, I’m not allergic to money either. There is nothing wrong with signing with a publisher, and I’d be happy to ink a book deal if it made good financial sense. A publisher can be a great partner for an author, they can help authors in several ways. I’m not, however, going to lose any sleep if the publishers don’t come knocking my door down with bags of cash. As long as I continue to add value, my audience will support my work with or without a publisher.