Self-publishing often gets a bad press. But it’s nowhere near what we had to accept in the 1990s when I first started in the publishing industry.
The ’90s was a time when ‘vanity’ publishing was the only route for rejected aspiring authors. Which meant you had to have wads of banknotes stored under your bed. And a huge potential mailing list. Or be a retired Admiral. Or a Dowager Countess. Or a distant relation of the royals.
That’s why I can’t understand why self-publishing has such a stigma.
To me, it’s opened up so many doors for writers that were once firmly shut. Self-publishing has provided a space for creatives to show their talents to the world, instead of keeping them hidden in a drawer because the publishing industry doesn’t deem them famous enough or viable enough to invest in their work.
I have genuinely helped bring some incredible books to life for indie authors over the past 7 years – fiction, non-fiction, business books, self-help books and journals. And becoming an indie author myself has given my business a whole new edge too.
Self-publishing has significantly risen over the last decade (plus) and it’s showing no signs of stopping. Yay! Whilst it’s an easier way for authors and writers to get their work published and noticed, however, there still seems to be some stigma around self-publishing, and this gives many authors reservations.
My opinion? Don’t let it dampen your author spirit.
Thirty years ago, authors had two options when it came to publishing their books:
- spend years researching and pursuing literary agents and/or publishing companies to represent them (often without yielding any results);
- invest all their hard-earned savings (literally thousands of pounds) into a ‘vanity’ publishing company and never get their money back (because the vanity companies weren’t interested in marketing – they’d already been paid, so why would they bother?).
That’s why I’m so passionate about self-publishing, particularly helping those who are slightly nervous about the publication process.
Why shouldn’t we embrace it for the opportunity it provides people just like you and me, whose work would otherwise have remained a secret.
Let me give you a few more reasons why I think self-publishing is always a far better idea than the traditional route …
More Creative Control
The biggest positive of self-publishing is that you have complete control over your book: from the editing style to the book cover design and pricing. And why shouldn’t you? It’s your book – your baby, if you like – and you should be able to publish it in the way you’ve envisioned.
You decide when your first draft is ready. When your final copy is good enough. When you want to publish. So if life gets in the way, as it often does, you can take a step back and a deep breath and return to it when you’re in the right frame of mind. And if you fancy tweaking your book, say, with a new cover, different keywords, or improved formatting you can do this with ease – even once it’s been published! How great is that?
No more waiting for weeks or months to see your book for sale on Amazon. As long as you have everything ready (the blurb/description’s written, you’ve chosen the best keywords and categories, your formatting’s complete, you’ve decided on a price and your show-stopping jacket cover is designed) you can upload your book to Amazon in just a few hours, wait for their approval (which can take between 24 and 72 hours) and see your book on the shelf of the biggest bookstore in the world within a few days.
Springboard into the Traditional Route
Several of my authors have self-published with the intention of searching for a traditional publisher too. They’ve prioritised self-publishing because of all the above benefits and because they have big author plans and can’t wait to bring their book to life. And you could too. I hear many people saying that traditional publishers aren’t interested in self-published authors but I’ve heard of self-published authors being offered contracts too. So keep your options open, focus on creating the best possible book you can, market it consistently and see what happens.
Self-publishing has huge benefits for business owners too
If you’re an entrepreneur, then self-publishing a whole range of e-books, workbooks, low content books and business books can prove a lucrative passive income and beneficial to your business. Sharing your hard-earned knowledge and expertise can increase your following and/or client list, help you get a foot in the door of all kinds of new opportunities (speaking gigs, getting noticed by key influencers, being invited as a podcast guest or interviewee). I’m sure you’ll already have written heaps of content you could easily tweak into your first book, too – take a look at your blogs, your courses, freebies, podcasts for starters.
There are so many indie author success stories. And so many aspiring authors who could easily have given up after receiving rejection after rejection from mainstream publishers (and the rejections aren’t always to do with the quality of your work either – it’s often about being an unknown author, a non-celebrity and a financial risk). But they don’t. They use that fire in their belly to take matters into their own hands and enjoy every single benefit that self-publishing brings.
Remember, it doesn’t matter how you get your “published author” title, what matters is you get there.
So push your doubts aside and go for it.
Who knows where it will lead.
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