Is self publishing worth it?
For passion or profit.
I have been self publishing novels since 2017. It has been a wild ride and I'm still struggling to get the recognition I want, book sales are hard to get when you're a one man act who has to do the editing, promoting and cover design all by yourself. Admittedly I thought self publishing my first novel would be truly life changing, where I would become a full time author, but you'll learn quickly that it's very difficult to get a big hit, especially if you're only independent. I have sold a lot of books, although having a regular job is still the way to go if you need regular income. At first; being self published means you'll only make a small amount of money, which is nice to have some extra cash, but if you're doing it solely for profit, you may be disappointed. Which is why I suggest you should look into self publishing mostly for the passion of storytelling rather than making money. With all that said, I love being a self published author as writing can be a very fun and exciting hobby for me personally. If you're itching to tell good stories and you want to share them with the world, then you should definitely look into it. I've sold books worldwide in countries like American, England, Australia and even Canada. Yet I may only make £20 a month if I am lucky. Just because I haven't been very successful, doesn't mean you won't be. Although being traditional published is the best way to make it as a author, being independent gives you a lot more freedom to write anything you desire, no matter how strange or personal your ideas may be.
If your end goal is to make it as a full time author, then self publishing can be a way for you to get your work out there. It gives you a good idea of how the publishing world works and what direction you want to take your writing career. After a few reviews and some publicity. Traditional publishers will take note of your book if it is even somewhat successful, they are far more likely to take an interest in your work. Having self published novels is like building a portfolio which will impress potential publishers. Even employers at job interviews have been very impressed that I have written several articles and self published books. Socially it can also be something to be proud of, many people are impressed when I mention I'm a writer (even though I'm independent and freelance). People find it admiring and it certainly garners respect.
It can be upsetting when books don't sell and genuine feedback is very rare. Editing can be very tricky! If you really want to sell or get noticed, it's going to be a full time job getting those followers up and the sales too, it can take over your life a little bit. Try not to get too obsessed over getting sales, or feeling small when you see others being successful.
You may notice I'm talking a lot about promoting and sales, like I am more of a virtual business man, rather than a author. Well, that's what it's like being self published, not many will read what you've done unless you promote it! You're very much on your own when self publishing and every hour feels like a missed opportunity to get yourself noticed on social media. So here are some promotional tips:
Follow new aspiring authors - Like myself; there are a lot of freelance writers who want their stories read. Show some support and share your experiences. You may even make a good online friend or two!
Put yourself out there! - Not just online, but out in the real world too. Email a local book store or library and write up a professional email asking if they accept independent novels, you'll be surprised how many small book stores actually accept them. You can pay a small fee to get your book advertised in a newspaper too or even get a mention on the radio.
Learn from the best - If you're following a big author, don't get too jealous of their success. Instead you can look at what they do in order to get sales and make similar posts yourself. This has worked wonders for my self promoting, there are also many self help books about writing and (if you want free tips) there are plenty of articles online too, which all give great advice.
Ask friends for help! - There is nothing wrong with getting a friend or family member to review your books, you should boast about how well your book is being received even it's just one 5 star review.
That's self publishing, it can be a very fun and awarding hobby. However if you want to quit your day job and become a freelance writer full time, you're going to have a rough time! I've been writing for 7 years now and it's been a roller coaster of emotions. When you get good sales and feedback, you feel like a king. However when you get low sales and harsh criticism, you may feel like a failure.
So, is it worth it? Most definitely! As long as you have realistic expectations and realize there are many others out there who are all trying to get noticed too.
About the author
My name is Joseph Roy Wright, the British author of 5 Independent novels!
I like to write about movies, pop culture, fiction and horror! I review all the latest films (and classics), I also like to write short stories.