Common misconceptions of self-publishing
Because indie publishing or self-publishing is still in the early stages of being recognized as a viable platform, there are still the old misconceptions being thrown around. These are used to scare potential indie authors away from taking that leap into the market.
“You’ll be lucky to sell 200 copies.”
This was the first thing I was told when I decided to self-publish my first novel Immortalis Carpe Noctem. It scared me, as it was meant to. But after talking with other indie authors and looking at the sales rankings on Kindle and other online platforms, I realized that this was completely untrue. A well plotted book that has been edited and has good cover art sells just as well as its traditionally published counterpart. In fact, Immortalis Carpe Noctem, sold more than 200 copies (print and eBooks combined) within the first couple of months of publication. It has gone one to sell more than ten-thousand copies, and the number rises every day.
As you can see, the quote above is entirely wrong, however, there is a seed of information there that you should take from it. No book will sell without help. I didn’t just place my book online and hope for sales. To start, I made sure the book was edited, two times, it had a beautiful cover. Those two items will be essential. Beyond that, to get Immortalis Carpe Noctem to move, I had to market it. Getting the book online to vendors is just part of the process. Do not think that hitting “submit” will be the final step in your publishing journey. That is just the starting point.
“Self –publishing will ruin your chances of ever being traditionally published.”
Another thing I was told when I decided to self-publish was that it would ruin my chances to ever be traditionally published. That idea is more the old style of thinking. Many authors today who’s books show great promise are becoming targeted by literary agents. Instead of the author querying an agent and then waiting months for a response, the agents, after seeing excellent sales, are contacting authors directly to offer representation for things like: print rights, foreign rights, and movie options. In essence, the indie market is becoming a sort of slush pile for these agents.
Now, as with all things, there is some truth to take from this quote. Only the books that are really selling well will attract literary agents. If you are dabbling with both self-publishing and still considering the traditional route, it might not be best for you to brag about your “publishing achievements,” if your book has not shown continuous positive sales. Remember that it takes time to build and audience and you cannot expect overnight success. If you are straddling the fence between these two methods of publishing, keep them separate until you have something that is really worth bragging about.
“Only friends and family will buy your books.”
This quote makes me laugh every time I hear it. In actuality, your friends and family will expect you to give them the book you publish, for free. Their thought process being, they helped and supported you, the least you can do is give them a free book.And that’s just fine. Give them their free copy. You’re not marketing to them. As an indie author, you want strangers to buy your book. Focus all of your marketing efforts on building a platform and getting to know new readers. Those are the people you want to connect with and turn into fans.