Guest Post: Joanna K. Pitcairn on Self-publishing vs. Traditional publishing

32Secs Book Tour Banner

Johanna K. Pitcairn is featured on my blog today, and I am happy to have her here. It is Day Two of the Blog Tour for her new book, “32 Seconds” which I will tell you about after Johanna’s post. Being an author in a small publishing house makes me keen on reading her take of this ever-changing market.


First and foremost, thanks for the opportunity to be featured on your blog. Every indie author needs all the support they can get, and I’m very grateful for all the support I’ve received and am receiving.

Self-Publishing v. Traditional Publishing – where do you draw the line?

Is there even a line to be drawn? The debate is endless. With the latest editing software and a few tricks learned at a writing convention, anyone can self-publish. Does it mean your story will be worth the reader’s time? Absolutely not. Traditionally or self-published books belong to the same basket – ask and you shall receive a crappy story from a big 5 publisher or an indie author. Or, you’ll find a beautiful gem buried in the millions books available today on Amazon, B&N, or Smashwords.

Writing, like anything else, needs time and work. Poor grammar, spelling errors, lack of plot, unrealistic characters, the list goes on and on, make for a crappy story. That’s where the line should be drawn. I’ve read books published by big houses, and they weren’t great. These same books that were made into movies, and collected millions of dollars in merchandising, I’m sorry, but in my opinion, they were crappy as hell. Now, I dug through Amazon’s listings, and paid a couple of bucks for indie books, and bam! My day was made.

We’ve come to a point where reading is accessible to everyone in any format – but the time to read is becoming less and less, as we are busy with work, family and life in general. I agree it’s easier for me to sit through a two-hour motion picture than read a book, especially if the story doesn’t appeal to me. I rarely stop watching a crappy movie, I just don’t pay attention but the images still distract me. A book on the other hand…once you lost me, you don’t get me back.

So here we are – authors flourish and blossom at every street corner of Twitter and Facebook and Google + and so on, claiming they have finally found the story that will catch your attention. Marketing is key. Getting to know the author on a semi-personal level helps a bit too. I will read your book if I think you’re a cool chick or guy, with ideas and a style I identify with. Yet again, I will buy a book to be supportive, and behind closed doors, cry myself to sleep because I can’t finish reading the story. And then I can’t bring myself to review your work on Amazon or Goodreads because I don’t want to be a jerk. And when you ask me, so did you read my book? I nod energetically, yes yes absolutely, loved it! Oh gosh. At this rate, I’m going to get struck by lightning and vanish in a big poof of smoke.

Seriously, it’s not always like that though. Very often I’ve bought indie gems, and have raved about them on every platform possible. Talent and creativity cannot be manufactured, no matter how any marketing strategy works. And I’m saddened when I fall upon a great book, and notice the author doesn’t sell much because no one really knows his writing is so good, you want to stuff your face in it until you can’t take it anymore – just like a big piece of cake.

Today’s competition is extremely tough, but the secret is to hang on no matter how many hurdles we have to jump over. If you’re an author and decide to write commercial stuff because your goal is to sell, go for it. If you’re more inclined to write about what really makes your skin crawl and gives you goose bumps, go for it too. It doesn’t matter in this day and age what path you take, the journey will always be worthwhile.

I find it refreshing to see so much art and inspiration on a day-to-day basis. And next convention I’ll go to, I’ll enjoy it because I’m part of a process that makes me feel good about myself. Remember, writing is all about finding your voice. Just like painting, singing, tattooing, or designing clothes. To each his own. And the debate on traditional v. indie publishing should stop once and for all, because honestly, who gives a flying monkey banana?

Just write, read and have fun.



Well, alrighty then. I agree–whatever path you take, make it fun for yourself.

I promised a bit about her book, and this is a good place to follow through, I’m thinking.

32 Seconds Book Cover

I certainly do love that cover, don’t you? Let’s open it up and find out what it’s about:


To the average onlooker, the city of Los Angeles represents glitz, glamour, and the celebrity lifestyle. But to seventeen-year-old Julie Jones, the city is a vast host of problems she’s longing to get away from. The latest? An unfortunate disagreement with her ex-boyfriend Mark—one that could land her in some serious hot water.

So rather than face the troubles that torment her, Julie decides to run away from her old life and start fresh somewhere new. But her parents aren’t on board with the plan, and she soon finds her bank accounts frozen and her wallet empty.

With just seventy-five dollars and a full tank of gas, the troubled teen is far too stubborn to turn around and head home. So what’s a girl to do?

What Julie doesn’t know is that her travels are about to take her somewhere unexpected—a place where she’ll be forced to come face to face with the ghosts of her past in order to secure her future.

A tale of redemption, hope, and freedom lost and found, 32 Seconds is a thought-provoking exploration into the human spirit and the nature of forgiveness.


Sounds wonderful, doesn’t it?

Now I know the answer to this one already–but would you like a small sample from the book? Thought so:

A sudden shower pelted my windshield, reducing the visibility to almost nothing, but I maintained my speed. The black asphalt licked the bottom of my tires, striking every inch of the rubber, hungry to swallow me whole and transport me to my next destination. And at this point, I could go anywhere. Eager to get out, I didn’t even care whether I died in a car-crash. After what had happened between Mark and me earlier today, it truly was my way or the highway.

Planning my escape wisely hadn’t crossed my mind when I ignited the V8 turbo engine and dashed out of the school parking lot like a hoodlum in panic of being chased and caught by a platoon of law enforcement officials, after an unsuccessful bank heist. Like I said, I wanted out. And whatever I wanted, I achieved by any means necessary.

Running away brought me closer to freedom. No consequences for my actions. No guilt. No pain.

As my foot pressed harder on the gas pedal, I listened to the roar of the engine, which threatened to remind me of the overbearing loneliness I continued to ignore. My hand reached for the radio and I turned the volume to high. My head needed that noise to overwrite any internal monologues. Relentless, like waves on the shore, my thoughts wouldn’t stop crashing inside my brain, giving rise to a series of hot and cold sweats, while my inner self kept screaming the same question.

Why did I always have to run?



Since Ms. Pitcairn was so kind as to visit today, let’s get to know her a little better, shall we?

Johanna K. Pitcairn

Johanna K. Pitcairn has dreamed of becoming a writer since childhood—authoring her first novel at the age of nine, and countless poems, stories, and screenplays by the age of seventeen. Later, rather than pursuing a career as a director and screenwriter, she decided to go to law school, driven by her father’s opinion that “writing does not pay the bills.”

Ten years later, she moved to New York City, which inspired her to go back to the excitement, wonder, and constant change of being a writer. Pitcairn is a huge fan of psychological-thriller novels and movies, and delves into her hopes, fears, friends, enemies, and everything in between in her own writing.

Contact her on Twitter @themanicheans

Check her website:

She’s also on Facebook at http://facebook/jkpauthor

And J.K. Pitcairn is also a proud member of the Independent Author Network. Check her author page:


32 Seconds is available on Amazon as paperback and ebook. Here’s the link:

Thanks for being here today, Ms. Pitcairn, and all the best to you and your endeavors!

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One Response to Guest Post: Joanna K. Pitcairn on Self-publishing vs. Traditional publishing

  1. Great article, the resources of traditional publishing is what is really enticing, but you are right , I too have wondered how some books make it.

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