The Yo-Yo Effect and Why I Love Self-Publishing More Today Than When I Started

I admit, I’m one of those people who changes their mind.  Right now the debate is whether or not I will keep my pen name.  I wasn’t going to before because I thought Smashwords would not let me have a pen name and keep my real account and name information so I can get paid.  I know.  Someone reading this is rolling their eyes because the answer is “Of course you can, Ruth!”

So to see if Smashwords would say, “Sorry.  You can’t get paid if you have a pen name and your real name with Smashwords.  The system isn’t designed for that type of complexity”, I went ahead and put my real information under my payee info.  It looks like everything went through okay and there won’t be a problem.

So that brings me to the question, “Do I really want to give up my pen name?” And this is the struggle.  Now, I should step in and say my publisher hasn’t emailed me back yet, so going through her might still be on the table.  I just don’t know.  But I like to make a back up plan in case she decides she has enough going on without having to add the headache of the business. 

I have no desire to submit to another publisher.  I’ve thought long and hard over this one.  I could submit to publishers and have someone take over the books, but that does not appeal to me.  At my core, I am a real enthusiast when it comes to self-publishing.  I don’t self-publish because I ‘settled’ for it.  I self-publish because I chose it.  I’ve weighed the pros and cons to self-publishing vs traditional publishing, and to be honest, I see many more pros to self-publishing.  The only solid con that seems to exist is the stigma.  But you know, the stigma no longer bothers me.  I produce the best work I can, and I don’t believe what some people say (that I write crap and edit poorly).  i just don’t believe them.  That may sound arrogant, but it’s really not.  It’s confidence.  Confidence in my work and my ability as a writer to express myself clearly to my readers.  Deep down, in my gut, I believe in what I’m doing.  I have emotional periods where I start to doubt it all, but when the dust settles the tears dry up, I’m back to being confident.  The foundation is there.

So the only appeal a publisher would have is the whole ‘Well, I was good enough to be published via such and such a publisher’, and to be honest, the more I read these books produced via publisher, the less impressed I am.  I see better in quality in a lot of the self-published books I’ve read than in some of the stuff passed through the vetted gates of the publishing houses.

Now, I’m not anti-traditional publishing.  If you don’t want to format your book and cover (or pay someone to do it for you) and if you don’t want to upload this stuff yourself, then by all means, go via traditional publisher.  Find one that best suits you as the author.

But as for me, the traditional route doesn’t appeal to me.  I love handling everything in regards to publishing.  I relish every step of it.  For me, it’s play time.  And when all is said and done, every book I publish ends up costing me $10 (for the picture to put on my cover).  All the other expenses are free because I either barter or do it myself.  If I do book trailers, then I pay Animoto $35 for one month (making sure to cancel their auto service so I don’t get charged again) and buy about 10 or so pictures off of which are typically $3 to $7 a piece.  Book trailers are my biggest expense and most least profitable, but I do them because I enjoy them.  I make book trailers for me.  I have recently picked up on xtranormal to do minimovies and paid $25 and still have a lot more movies I can make.  I do pay for my website through yahoo (I know it’s about $150 a year but I really love yahoo services so for me, it’s worth it).  Other than that, I don’t fork over money for anything.  I publish on the cheap and consider the extras (book trailers and minimovies) to be fun stuff.  The website is the only thing I can think of that qualifies for a necessary expense.

Then I get full control over my books.  No one can come in and change anything, and I can ignore anyone who emails me with a ‘change this or that’ mandate.  I’m not writing to appease anyone but me.  If I sell, I sell.  If I don’t, I don’t.  But I’m the only one who has something to gain or lose, so I don’t have to stress over selling a certain amount to keep my publisher happy enough to give me another contract.  I really don’t want that kind of pressure. Joleene Naylor has expressed the same sentiment as a huge bonus for self-publishing, and I whole-heartedly agree with her.

So my big dilemma is do I keep my pen name or not, and I’m leaning toward keeping it.  Now that I’m sure I can still get paid via Smashwords, this has a lot of appeal.  Sometimes I want to read erotic romances, but my problem is finding an erotic romance that fits exactly what kind of book I want to read.  I’m really big into the marital relationship (saving sex for marriage and the beauty of the husband-wife relationship).  This is why I write the romances I do.  I couldn’t find the exact type of romances I wanted to read.  It’s why I started with this pen name for erotic romances.  Sometimes I want something a little spicier than what is in my romances, but I don’t want to sacrifice my desire to read about a husband and wife either.  I’ve skimmed through the forums and have read enough requests from women who want to read more erotic romances about a husband and wife who only have sex with each other to know I’m not alone, and I see a real need for this market.  Heck, I am that market.  So why not keep the pen name?  I think I just answered my question.  😀

So either way, I will keep my pen name.  There’s a place for it.  Not just in my life but probably in someone else’s.

About Ruth Ann Nordin

Ruth Ann Nordin mainly writes historical western romances and Regencies. From time to time, she branches out to contemporaries romances and other genres (such as science fiction thrillers). For more information, please go to or check out
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4 Responses to The Yo-Yo Effect and Why I Love Self-Publishing More Today Than When I Started

  1. I need to pick your brain on this – how do you set up a pan name on smashwords? do you just make a brand new account? I want to do that with the kid books – I mailed mark and he said I can transfer the existing one i have up to a new author, though I have to email for further directions on how to do it after I get it ready to go.

    • What I did was get a new account under my pen name. I also had to get an email address for my pen name. Then in the payee information, I put in my real name and info. It actually worked. lol I don’t know why, but for some reason I thought that was way too easy to be the answer. I don’t have the desire to get a publishing name registered so I can have multiple authors under a Smashwords account, though maybe Mark was going to tell you a way to do that without being a publisher.

      Let me know when your kids’ books are out. 😀

      • Yeah, I’m hoping so. i explained to him in the initial mail that i had uploaded the one as a “test” and was surprised that it had downloads and now wanted to put it under a pen name instead of my name because of the genre confusion, and could I transfer it to another author name. So, hopefully it’s without needing a publishing co….. I need to email Bill for further instructions, but it looks like I need to set up a new email and Smashwords account first! Thanks! 😀

      • Good luck getting it all squared away. I posted one of my books under ‘Amber Blase’ by mistake one time because I was logged into the wrong account. Thankfully, it was one of the fantasy ones. I unpublished it and then republished it under my real name. I swear, you have to watch which name you’re using. lol It’s still hard, but at least people know I’m Kate so it’s not the big shocker Amber was. I still shiver when I think about it.

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