Now that we've finished the series on self-editing (Notes from Writing Class), I want to move on to the next phase: Self-Publishing.
Self-publishing has come a long way in recent years. It used to be thrown around like a dirty word. Many people still think of it as a scapegoat for those of us who cannot get traditionally published. But, it’s no longer the last resort of an author who has exhausted all traditional routes. Many authors are turning to self-publishing first for the freedom it allows them and the level of control it gives them in their work.
Is self-publishing right for you?
Only you can answer that.
I am not here to tell you what you should do. Each writer must take their own path.
But chances are, if you’re reading this, then you’ve already got a pretty good idea of what you want to do.
The first thing you need to consider when looking at self-publishing is what you want out of it. Why are you publishing and what are your goals?
Are you doing this just to have a book in hand? Are you looking to establish yourself as an indie author? Are you looking for fame and fortune? Is this a one-time book or a series you’re working on? Are you expecting millions?
Self-publishing is not the fast track to easy money so please do not let the recent news about indie authors “selling millions” fool you. Just like with traditional publishing, this is more the exception than the rule. You can however make a living wage from your writing, but you’ll have to put the effort in. It can take years to establish yourself in the market.
Before you take any steps toward creating your book, sit down and have a real heart-to-heart about what you want and what your realistic goals are.
If you’re just in this to have a book in hand, and that is just fine, then I’d suggest going the vanity publishing route. Places like iUniverse or Trafford will package your manuscript up, and give you exactly what you’re looking for. You’ll have a bright, shiny new book with your name on it!
If you’re in this to truly become an indie author, then you need to treat your book like a business venture.
In essence that’s exactly what self-publishing is, a business venture. You might want to consider setting yourself up as a DBA or LLC, but we’ll touch on that later. Your business is the creation of a product, your book(s). You’re putting this product out into the market with the hopes of making money from it. You have to take all the financial risk in this venture with no guarantee of a return on your investment.
Self-Publishing or “Indie” publishing is not for everyone. You need to go into this with a clear head and the willingness to give it your all. If you can’t do this, then you might want to reevaluate your goals.
In the next post we'll talk a little about start-up and budgeting concerns. See you then.