This afternoon I’m happy to give the blog over to Abigayle Claire! 🙂
What it Means to Self-Publish
(from a self-published author)
Self-publishing is all the rage today because anyone can do it. Gone are the days of having to get picked up by a big-name publishing house in order to be a published author!
And before we go any further I want to briefly explain those two terms:
— Self-publishing is publishing a title independently, usually by uploading files to an online publication site (such as CreateSpace or Lulu) and passing minimal technical approval
— Traditional publishing is publishing a title dependently, usually by getting signed by an agent and represented to a traditional publishing house who agrees to help you make your title into something they can sell and get a percentage of
As a self-published author, I’m here to tell you that I really do think self-publishing is the best thing since sliced bread and air conditioning. But even sliced bread can make burnt toast and air conditioning can make you miserably cold. So while self-publishing is an amazing opportunity, it’s just that: an opportunity. You don’t have to do it. Because (1) it’s not for everyone, and (2) it requires a steep learning curve to be done well.
Thanks to self-publishing, anyone with enough willpower can be published. This means it doesn’t require any amount of talent to become an author. This fact really bothers some people about self-publishing, and it’s the reason that many people view self-publishing as lower quality than traditional.
But the fact still remains that it takes a degree of writing talent to make books sell and keep selling.
What it really comes down to is this: Are you someone who will take the time to learn the process and work hard in order to have control over every aspect of your publishing experience? Or would you rather only have to sell your book once (to an agent or publisher) and then rest easy knowing many of the details are in the hands of professionals who will publish your book for you?
I chose self-publishing because I’m a true control freak who wanted to learn how the publishing process worked. Now that I’ve been through the entire process with two books, I’m curious to know if I could make the traditional publishing cut. Thus, I’m looking at becoming a hybrid author (someone who publishes both independently and traditionally). There’s no reason you have to be locked in on your decision between the two!
Since I am successfully self-published, I want anyone considering it to know what they’re getting into! Because it’s entirely independent, you can quit at any point—you’re not tied down to a contract. And you don’t have to do elements like marketing if you don’t want to. But if you let your books just sit on Amazon, that’s probably about all they’ll ever do. So if you’re really serious about being an author, you’ll want to commit yourself to all of these things.
Here’s a brief rundown of some of the decisions you’ll be faced with:
Self-publishing or traditional publishing (I’ve covered this here)
How you’d like to attain an ISBN
Who to hire for editing, formatting, and cover design (note: not if to hire; while it costs money, it’s worth it for professional services)
How much you’re willing to spend on the whole process
Cover finish and trim size
e-Book and/or paperback
Writing a back cover blurb
Your independent publishing name and logo (totally optional)
Phew … and you thought character names and passive voice were daunting?
I had no idea what half those things were when I decided I was going to self-publish, so that made it a Google-intensive road 😉 And there’s nothing wrong with doing that! If I had gone the traditional route, I’m not sure I’d be any the wiser, because I could have let the pros help me with all those decisions or make them for me (it really depends on who you work with; obviously I’m not traditionally published yet to know).
If you’re still on the fence about self-publishing or still completely lost (don’t worry!), I’ve done an entire blog post series on self-publishing. You can find the first post here. I’ve also created a self-publishing checklist that helps outline not only the many decisions but the general timeline they take place in as well.
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I hope that was at least somewhat enlightening, but if you have any specific questions please feel free to ask them below! I know publication can be a daunting thing, but you wouldn’t even be reading this if you weren’t considering it. 😉 And no matter which route you choose to go, I think it’s a complete waste of talent to never be published at all! (No pressure, of course. :P)
What appeals to you about self-publishing?
Abigayle has been a writer ever since her mother taught her how to hold a pencil. However, she devoted more time to reading words with her green eyes than penning them with her left hand. Inspired by a crazy dream at the age of sixteen, she set off on a journey to self-publish her first novel, Martin Hospitality. Since then, Abigayle has devoted herself to sharing what she has learned through the mediums of freelance editing and her blog theleft-handedytpist.blogspot.com … when period drama films are not calling more loudly. None of her successes, including winning a Readers’ Favorite award, would be possible without the support of her Savior, large family, and online community.