Is Self Publishing For You?
With the rise of digital publishing, anyone with a computer and a bit of internet savvy can become a published author. Of course, whether or not anyone reads your book once it’s published is dependent upon how adept you are at marketing and distributing your work. And, therein lies the rub. Competition is stronger than ever, with more and more writers vying for the reading public’s attention. Meanwhile, the powerhouse publishing companies are still out there working to garner attention for their writers.
So yes, you can publish your own book now—quite easily.
But is self-publishing for you?
Well, consider the following…
Control of Your Own Destiny
When you self-publish, your book will do exactly what you make it do. You’ll choose your own designers and editors, as well as marketing and distribution platforms. There’s a lot more to writing a book than coming up with an idea and carrying it out to its logical conclusion. You’ll make all the final choices about every aspect of the process, so success or failure lies totally in your hands. You’ll also have to learn how to sell ebooks on your own website—or figure out how to get a distribution deal. If you’re good at manipulating all of the various elements, you might do well. If you’re not, well…
Expedience is Another Plus
When you self-publish, you’ll set your own timetable. Things will proceed as rapidly—or as slowly—as you want them to. With traditional publishing, your book will take its place in the queue with all of the other titles upon which the house is working. You’ll be assigned an editor with whom to work, and you’ll work according to that person’s schedule. If you’re in a hurry, this could be rather frustrating. On the other hand, if you’re given to procrastination, having an experienced guiding hand on the wheel might help you see the project through to fruition.
Then, There’s the Money
Your potential earnings might be greater with self-publishing—if you’re a known writer with a built-in following clamoring to purchase your book right away. If you’re an accomplished blogger, with a significant roster of readers, you might have a good shot at making some money. Ditto, if you have some other form of notoriety of which a sizable portion of the reading population is aware. But if you’re an unknown and your marketing skills are soft, you’ll struggle to get your book noticed. If a traditional publishing house decides to take your project, you’ll get an advance against future royalties to support you as you produce the book. Afterwards, the publisher will do everything possible to recoup the investment, which means you’ll get the benefit of marketing, promoting and distributing expertise.
Overcoming the Stigma
If you’re a “known quantity” you’ll have a relatively easy time. But if you’re a new writer, you’ll find it difficult to get people to take your work seriously. Many reviewers won’t even look at self-published books by unknowns. It can really be an uphill climb to get recognition for your work.
So ultimately, the answer to the question of whether self-publishing is for you is—it depends. If you just want the satisfaction of writing a book and have no concerns over whether it sells, self-publishing will serve you well. Ditto if you have an audience ready to plunk down cash as soon as you’re done writing. It’s certainly possible to do well otherwise, but it’s an uphill struggle, one for which you’ll need a lot of help, some great luck and of course—a worthwhile book.