Self-publishing has become common practice for many writers who want accolades of having a book published, no matter who publishes it. Writers choose self-publishing for various reasons. Many writers desire the freedom and business aspects of publishing work independently. A self-published writer is one who is in control of every aspect of their published work. The publishing industry defines self-publishing as authors publishing their own books or other media, instead of with a third-party publisher.
Today’s technology has increased the pool of self-publishers, but it still represents only a small percentage of the publishing industry in terms of sales. The proliferation of media channels, such as blogging, video, and audio content, has contributed to the increase in self-publishers.
THE BUSINESS OF SELF-PUBLISHING
The business of self-publishing books and other media is different from any other business. The absence of a traditional publisher makes self-publishing unique. The author of the content takes on the role of the traditional publisher. The author controls the editorial content, arranges for printing, markets the material, and distributes the material to consumers and retailers. Self-publishers publish their books in printed form, or choose print-on-demand with no inventory.
Many self-published authors decide to subsidize their work rather than making money from it. Digital printing technology has evolved self-publishing into digital photo book printing. Self-publishers are able to get individually printed photo books from firms like Apple’s iPhoto, FotoInsight, Snapfish, and Printing-1.
THE MOTIVES OF SELF-PUBLISHING
Many writers have varied motives to self-publish. One common reason is the writer’s work is not of interest to the commercial publisher, and otherwise not marketable. Another common reason is the writer prefers to retain complete editorial control over content. Many writers are unwilling to compromise editing of their work, and some writers prefer to have their work presented “as is.” Literary agents and book agents may deny publishing a book because the author is unknown and does not have a substantial resume.
Self-publishing may also be an alternative for writers who have written material on a popular topic but the topic is only interesting in a small geographic area. Literary agents and book agents may also deny publication because the book addresses an obscure topic in which few people are interested. Writers of controversial works may also choose to self-publish, as many traditional publishers refuse to work with controversial writings. Some authors choose self-publishing because they want a larger royalty from retail sales.
IS SELF-PUBLISHING A SHORTCUT TO SUCCESS?
Self-publishing is not a shortcut to having a printed book. Depending on what your goals are, it may or may not be a direction you would like to take. In the hard copy world, self-publishing is costly. Getting a book into print costs more money than many writers want to spend. This is why the Internet is a blessing — it’s free. You can either start up a free website of your own and post your novel, or pay a small monthly sum and sell your writing online.
If you can write well enough to catch someone’s attention, your readers may be willing to pay for a download of your book. By self-publishing online, you avoid the normal book publishing costs and still get exposure. Who knows, you may be lucky and grab the attention of a publishing guru who thinks you could make a lot of money from your self-published book.
Whatever your reason is for self-publishing, you should know that self-publishing requires extensive work. Self-publishing involves a long list of tasks, which include prepublication and publication. Prepublication includes editing or obtaining editing for the manuscript, proofreading, establishing yourself as a legal retail business, and obtaining an ISBN “Cataloging in Publication” number.
The publication process involves formatting the manuscript, providing front matter and back matter, and providing cover art for the front and back covers and the spine of the book. Self-publishers must also obtain printing quotes, determine how to deliver the manuscript to the printer, and pay for printing and delivery of finished books.
Publishing a book online is easier than publishing in the world of hard copy. The result is not as glorified, but it is a step towards success in the published realm. The more experience you can get writing, the better writer you will be.