Monday, September 15, 2014
Is Self-Publishing for You?
Whether to go self-publishing or traditional publishing is a question every writer contemplates. The quandary has become more difficult in recent years now that self-publishing has become so widely accepted and easy to achieve. While there are many advantages to self-publishing, I don't believe it is for everyone. And here's why:
Self-publishing may not be for you if…
You're looking for a shortcut to getting published. The same amount of work, if not more, needs to go into a self-published book. Multiple drafts still need to be written, critique partners still need to read it, the book still needs to get edited. Everything a traditionally published book goes through needs to happen to your book as well if you want a polished product.
You want to stay isolated and think you can do it all on your own without any help. As a self-publisher, you'll still need to find a cover designer. Please don't try this yourself unless you have extensive graphic design experience. You'll also need to find a professional editor. Nothing screams amateur louder than an unedited book.
You don't want to pay upfront costs. A good editor costs money, as does a good cover designer, along with advertising. On top of that, if you want to go down the print avenue, then printing and distribution will also cost money.
You want to see your book in a major brick and mortar store. A self-publisher doesn't have the same clout as a traditional publisher who can give your books a wider distribution.
Just because anyone with a little know-how can self-publish doesn't mean they should. On the flip-side, self-publishing definitely is for some writers. And here's why:
Self-publishing might be for you if…
Your book is time sensitive. That is, if your book covers a world event or a current news story, then to get it published while the topic is still relevant might require the speed of self-publishing.
You want to keep control over every aspect of the publishing process. Not everyone likes to have to deal with multiple points of view about which direction the book should take. Traditionally published authors often don't have a say about the cover or the title. As a self-publisher, you make every decision.
You enjoy doing the marketing on your own. Having a strong media presence and a love of social media is a massive bonus for any writer. However, a self-published writer needs to be even more proactive with marketing because they won't have any help from a publishing house.
You like the higher royalties. Self-publishers are well rewarded for their hard work and initial outlay because they don't have to split their earnings with an agent and a publisher.
You write outside the standard topics. In the risk averse environment of traditional publishing, you might have a difficult time selling a book that covers a genre that's been labelled as done-to-death, a story that doesn't fit into any particular genre, or a book that covers a controversial topic. If this is the case, then self-publishing may be your solution.
There are many more pros and cons to both self and traditional publishing. Of course, to pick one style of publishing doesn't mean you can't pick another as well. Hybrid authors—writers who go both indie and traditional—are becoming more and more popular.
What do you like more about one form of publication than another? Why have you chosen your particular route?
Lynda R Young