Rejecting The Noise
There are so many reasons I rejected the idea of self publishing in the beginning, and I'm certain that a lot of them are the same ones others are using to convince themselves that self publishing is impossible for them.
In this post I'm going to address some of the biggest worries I had and correct the myths.
1. Self-publishing means no agent or publisher would take you
Maybe, but so what? In my case, no agent would take me. And that's okay. The publishing industry is highly competitive and fast-paced. Agents and publishers make money when their authors make money, so they have to be safe with their bets. So much of the publishing industry is all about timing. Maybe it's not your time to have an agent or publisher. That doesn't at all mean that your work is not phenomenal or worth sharing, or that you won’t get a book deal in the future. It simply means that you need to bet on yourself. And when you do, others will follow. It's human nature.
2. Self-publishing was your last resort
For so many writers, this is not at all true. I know plenty of independent authors who self publish because they love the control that comes with it. Some do it because their primary goal is to share their work with friends and family or a specific group. Self publishing wasn't my first choice, but it certainly wasn't my last resort. I could have gone on querying literary agents. I could have pitched directly to publishers. I could have submitted it to writing competitions. The real last resort is giving up. As long as you're not quitting, it's not your last resort.
3. Self-publishing is not taken seriously
This was something I believed before I did any research. I don't know if this was the case in the past, but it definitely isn't the case now. Bowker is the number one source for ISBNs and therefore can run really accurate reports that show the rise of self publishing and, according to a 2016 report, the number of ISBNs registered for self published titles has grown by 375% since 2010. Self publishing is becoming more and more popular, and more achievable.
So many authors are self publishing, sharing their work, spreading the word, and then snagging book deals because they've already shown their worth. More and more, publishers are looking to the indie shelves for their next signed author because those authors are proving that they have a confidence in their work that is spurring attention from readers.
4. Self-publishing is too hard
Publishing your own book may seem overwhelming at first glance, and, truth be told, it is a lot of work. But, depending on your budget, there is also a ton of room for delegation. If you are able to, you can hire editors, designers, formatting professionals, and marketing help.
If you are not able to hire someone for every step of the way, there are plenty of resources to help make the process much more manageable! Amazon's Createspace, just to name one example, has such a thorough help and FAQ reserve as well as forums to discuss the business with others who are doing the same thing as you. They have formatting guides and even a cover designing tool. Also, don't underestimate the kindness of others. There are Facebook groups for indie authors, and I know that I have met a ton of amazing writers on Instagram and Twitter who all help each other out.
5. Self-publishing is too expensive
Back in the day, self publishing was a much bigger investment. You had to order your book in bulk, store them at your house, and hope you could sell them. Marketing was tougher and more expensive too-the internet wasn't what it is now. You had to pay for PR, have flyers printed, etc. These days, there's no reason to spend an excessive amount of money. Print on demand services have cut the cost of having tons of books printed at one time and shipped out to you. Social media allows you to reach billions of people for free, and if you want to use social media ads you have the ability to set the budget.
As a self publisher, the editing, design, formatting, and marketing of your book is your responsibility. And while you can always pay someone to do those things for you, there are also plenty of free ways to learn how to do those things yourself. Google knows everything. Guarantee, whatever you need to know, someone has written an article about it. I have self-taught myself so much of the publishing process along the way to keep my costs to a minimum. Editing is the one major thing that you cannot do yourself. Even if you are planning to shop your manuscript to publishers as opposed to self publishing, you should have it professionally edited. Good editing tends to be on the pricier side, but is always well worth it. For my first book, I payed two publishers and bought a critique. That was a little much, and I have since learned to look to beta readers before paying for editing. I have a good friend who goes through all of my work and gives me amazing feedback, and that kindness saves me a lot of piece of mind when it comes to copy editing. When you're paying for services, just make sure to read reviews so that you know you're making the best investment possible.
All in all, self publishing has the potential to be as expensive or inexpensive as you want. If you're willing to learn and put in a ton of effort, a lot of it can be done on your own. If you're into delegating, then by all means!
6. I can't self publish because I have no knowledge, education, or experience
If you have a willingness to learn, you can do anything. When I started, I knew absolutely nothing. In fact, I chose to self publish because I knew nothing. Like I said before, everything can be learned! Schooling is great-I have nothing against education. But sometimes the most effective education is on the job. Self publishing is an experience, and if you just start, you'll have no choice but to figure it out. Once you remove the mind block and the notion that self publishing is impossible for you, you'll realize that it really is as simple as jumping online and starting your research.
7. The only authors who are successful self publishers are the ones with connections
Any and everyone has the opportunity to become a successful author. Don't have the connections right now? Build them! Reach out! The internet makes it super simple to network and build a community. I mentioned before that I've met writers on social media, and that those connections have proven to be so nurturing. We support each other, promote each others' works, leave reviews for each other, and just act as cheerleaders for one another's success.
In this industry, though, your most important connections are your readers. Just get people reading. Leave your book on a table in Starbucks, donate it to a library, do giveaways. Just get it into hands. Make readers happy, because the book enthusiasts are the ones who leave reviews and lend their books to friends and talk about the stories that stay with them.
I hope this post was helpful in dispelling your biggest concerns! Still have doubts or questions? Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'd be more than happy to talk it out with you!
Until next time,
Bowker, 2016 | http://www.bowker.com/news/2016/Report-from-Bowker-Shows-Continuing-Growth-in-Self-Publishing.html