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6 Reasons Why Every Author Should Consider Self Publishing

by Helen S about a year ago in advice
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Gentle Persuasion for the Undecided Author

My first novel in print

When I first began writing seriously, I did a lot of reading up on the subject of Indie Publishing versus Traditional Publishing and for a while I was in two minds. I weighed up the pros and cons of each before making a decision on what was best for me and decided I really wanted to give self publishing a go. After all, what did I have to lose? I didn't have to close the door on publishing the good ol' fashioned way; the dream of getting a publishing contract and seeing my books on the shelves of Waterstone's are still there, but in the meantime my work is "out there".

Here are a few of my reasons for going down the Indie Publishing route:

1. I don't want to hand over control of my story to someone else. A publisher might ask you to change the story, the characters, or even the title. Whilst there may be excellent reasons for some of these changes, they're mainly done so that the book fits in with current trends or a publisher's other titles. This is why some authors choose to write to a market, but that doesn't inspire me and leads to my next point.

2. I want to write for myself and my readers, not for a perceived market or because such-and-such a topic or genre is "in" right now.

3. I don't want to wait forever for a publishing deal. Some authors tell stories of waiting twenty years or more for a publisher to accept their submissions, even if they have an agent. Getting an agent can be just as hard as getting a publisher, and even if you have one, it doesn't follow that they will take your next book too. You might have to repeat the entire process with every book you write.

4. If I'm going to do all the work anyway, why should I give a cut of my profits away? Traditionally published authors receive just 10% of the profits from their books and publishers do very little to promote them, they expect the author to build their own following. The shelf life of a traditionally published book is just four months. If your book hasn't become a best seller in this time, it's remaindered, returned to the publisher and pulped. What a waste!

5. It's FUN! I want to connect with my readers, not spend most of my time submitting to agents and publishers who don't know or understand me and only see me as a commodity for making more money for themselves. (I appreciate agents are more likely to make the effort to get to know you, but in the end, this is a business and they may not represent you for more than one book (see no.3)).

6. It's environmentally friendly. E-books mean fewer trees cut down for books which may end up just getting pulped anyway. Yes, it's possible to get your books printed too, but you could decide to make this a limited edition print run, or special illustrated edition, thus increasing the value of your book.

I'm sure I could think of a lot more reasons too, but the ones given above cover the major points.

There are downsides. It's extremely hard work, some people won't entertain Indie authors because they think the writing is going to be substandard and there's a lot of competition. I'm responsible for the cover, the blurb, the marketing, everything and though that's quite liberating it's also daunting. It's a great feeling though to see your work up on Amazon alongside your favourite books, and now independent authors and independent book shops are helping each other to survive in an uncertain world.

What do you think? Is one way better than the other? Which one would you choose, and why?

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About the author

Helen S

Indie writer & fiction author, artist, historian, digital craft designer, deltiologist,taphophile & book hugger.

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