Why I Decided to Self-Publish My History Book

After sending my manuscript to both academic and small presses, I have decided to self-publish my book on America and the Holocaust. (Specifically, it’s about the War Refugee Board—a government agency created by President Franklin Roosevelt whose members tried to save Jews who were still alive in Europe in 1944). While all of these publishers said “no,” they did not say, “this book is badly written” or “the topic is boring.” Instead, I got objections that I believe I can overcome with self-publishing. I listed a handful of them below.

Objection One: This is not a good fit for our list.

As a self-publisher, the only list I have is for books written by me. Some editors were nice enough to recommend other places where I might send my manuscript, though those presses had other objections.

Objection Two: Investing in a new author is risky.

As my uncle would say, a bus could hit any one of us tomorrow. His point? Life is inherently risky. I’ve read that self-publishing is risky, too, but I decided to defer to my uncle.

Objection Three: The book is too short.

My book and I prefer to be called vertically challenged…I’m kidding. Still, if I self-publish, length doesn’t matter. Having a shorter book will probably make the process a bit more affordable. As someone who also reads books, I appreciate writers who use as much space as they need to tell their stories–no more, no less.

Objection Four: People who do not have PhDs in History could understand this book.

I know some really wonderful people with PhDs, but I don’t want to limit my book’s audience to people who a. have PhDs in History and b. are interested in the Holocaust and/or President Roosevelt’s administration. Since most people don’t know much about what the members of the War Refugee Board accomplished, I want as many people as possible to understand it.

So, that tells you why I’m self-publishing my book. How I’m going to self-publish is still a work in progress. I’ll have more on that topic later on, as well as more general history posts.

If you’ve self-published or are working on a self-published project, what made you decide to do it?

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