Self-Publishing for Beginners
The typical set up in becoming a successful author is to have a huge publishing company to back you up. Publishers are companies that you pay in order to publish your book out in the market. Payment with these companies are typically composed of royalties or commission for every sale that your book gets.
The main problem with the traditional set up is that it’s extremely difficult to be chosen by publishers. Your book must be stellar enough for it to catch the attention of the major book publishers. And in case your book gets picked by a publisher, they typically alter the true essence of the book, leaving no tracks of the real intent of the author. The result is - you’re typically publishing another version which you did not initially intend to.
That’s not even the worst part. Once your book has been published, you’ll be surprised to know that your royalties are kept at the minimum and most of the sales will go to the publishers themselves.
Sounds dreadful, right?
The good news is that you don’t have to take that path anymore. Nowadays, publishing is made more accessible to anyone who would like to release their own books. This is done through self-publishing.
What is Self-Publishing?
Self-publishing allows you to bypass the traditional process of having to hire a literary agent before looking for an established publisher to release your book. This makes it the perfect choice for independent authors since publishers typically prefer to publish books of well-known authors.
Self-publishing enables you to retain full control over your book without the need to please any publishing company executive. Here, you can publish what you’ve written a hundred percent as is, with no deviation to your original content. The only catch is, you’ll have to do everything – from writing, editing, proofreading, designing your book cover, up until the marketing. The good news is – you can easily do all this through publishing service companies.
What are Publishing Service Companies?
A Publishing Service Company allows independent authors to publish their books according to their preferences without going through the traditional publishing process. These companies offer a platform for authors that enables them to turn their manuscripts into book formats and eventually, releasing them to the target audience.
Many publishing service companies offer authors a full suite of publishing services including professional book editing, book cover design, and ramped up marketing through different marketing channels to make publishing and marketing easy for independent book writers. The best part about this is that you can easily publish your book within a matter of days, or even hours!
Essentially, with this platform independent authors can easily convert their manuscripts into ready-to-publish versions by using formats and templates from these companies. This service also gives authors access to multiple retail platforms, making it easy for authors to sell their books in the market.
Some examples of these publishing service companies are Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP), CreateSpace, , Google Books, IngramSpark, Kobo, Barnes & Noble and iBooks.
How much will it cost you to Self-Publish?
The great thing about these publishing service companies is that they will not charge you the same way as that of traditional publishers. In traditional publishers, your royalties typically range from 7% to 15% while when you sign up for publishing service companies, you get to enjoy royalties ranging from 35% to 90% - which pretty much sums up why self-publishing is financially a better choice. Moreover, many of these publishing service companies won’t even charge you for using ready-made template for your books – which is another benefit that you can enjoy when you choose self-publishing.
Pros of Self-Publishing
One of the main benefits of self-publishing is that you’ll get bigger royalties than when getting published by traditional publishers. With the latter, while it’s true that you benefit from their scope and reach, you pay the price for it by only getting low royalties. Some even receive as low as 7%, which to be honest can be unfair especially when it’s your masterpiece. With self-publishing, you get the most out of your work, some even get as high as 90% when done right. This alone will give you an overview of how much you could lose to big publishers when you go with the tradition process.
As earlier mentioned, with publishing service companies, you can publish your book within a week. Once you’re done with the entire process of writing, editing, proofreading, formatting, and designing the book cover and layout, it will only take a few hours to have your book available in digital marketplaces. For print on demand services, it will probably take at least a day – both of which are better than having to wait for months with a traditional publisher.
Full Creative Control
Many authors don’t have full control over what gets released. Most of the parts of the book get revised and altered in a way that was not initially envisioned by the author. Hence, disrupting the whole essence of the book. With self-publishing, you don’t have to consider other people’s opinion on your books, giving you full autonomy. This is perfect for independent authors who prefer to have complete control over what they release, from the content to the creative side.
Books typically have regulated shelf-life in bookstores. For instance, if your book did not sell well in the first few weeks of launching it, then chances are high that it will be kept in the back shelf, making it hard for potential buyers to see. The good thing about self-publishing is that you leverage on digital platforms like Amazon and iBooks. When you publish your work digitally, the possibilities are endless since a single query will make it visible for anyone in seconds – even to those who are living on far away islands. You can also use online ads to boost your reach which is way more practical than putting out printed ads.
Self-Publishing Success Stories
While it’s true that most self-published authors do not make a fortune out of their work, there are many authors who made a name for themselves through self-publishing. They are:
Andy Weir is the creator of The Martian. His masterpiece began as a blog about a man who got stranded on Mars. When Weir notices that people are started to get hooked about the story, he decided to compile the chapters and sell it on Amazon. If you don’t know it yet, his masterpiece became a New York Times bestseller and eventually became a blockbuster hit starring Matt Damon.
If you’re a fan of the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy then you probably know him. E.L. James is the creator of this worldwide hit trilogy who started as a self-published author. Now, her net worth comfortably lies at $150 million dollars. All thanks to the smash success of her Fifty Shades masterpiece which also made a blockbuster movie hit. And about the book, well, over 100 million copies have been sold around the globe.
Meredith Wild is an erotic romance author who started self-publishing and eventually grew to starting her own publishing company called the Waterhouse Press. Her main drive? She said that she felt her masterpiece was not taken seriously since she was an independent author. Now, Meredith Wild is a #1 New York Times, USA Today, and an international bestselling author.
Dr. Deane Waldman, MD, MBA
Dr. Deane is a man of many hats – he is a physician, educator and an author. In 2016, Dr. Deane Waldman self-published the “Our Allies Have Become Our Enemies”, the first eBook in his seven-book series “Restoring Care to American Healthcare”. The result? His eBook became an Amazon Bestseller in just a month after its release!
Orna Ross’ story is a different one as she was the one who rejected the publishers due to very low royalties. This forced her to shift to self-publishing. She also fancied the thought of having full control on the creative side of her work. And then there was this time when Penguin wouldn’t put their name her book simply because it didn’t target the audience they desired. So, she went on and self-published it – the result? She won the inaugural Carousel-Aware Award for Best Novel.
Self-Publishing: Should you Try it?
Overall, self-publishing is the best choice for independent authors who are looking for an easy way to publish their work. Self-publishing proves to be the better choice than traditional publication because of higher royalties, faster turnaround for publication, better control, and bigger reach. If there’s a downside to self-publishing, the only thing I could think of is that you don’t get the support system from a massive publisher. However, that’s not entirely fatal given the success stories of self-published authors.
Furthermore, with all the available publishing service companies today, you can be sure to find one that fits your preferences and requirements perfectly that can make your life easier in publishing your masterpiece.
Are you ready to become a self-published author? Let me know in the comments below!
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