I have been a writer since I was twelve. I wrote several books for a vanity publisher while in high school and my first few years in college. I worked with a literary agent a few years ago only to end up empty-handed with no book deal. So, without any other choice, I self-published my latest book, Redeem the Story, earlier this year. And I will do it again in the future!
Self-publishing once had a stigma to it that made writers cringe. It was a last resort sort of thing. And only those who could not get a trade book deal self-published.
This is changing. Slowly. According to an article published by LuLu Press, Inc. : “The self-publishing stigma isn’t gone. But it’s fading. Which is a good thing. If nothing else, we’ve learned that readers will consume a wild variety of books and that there is a place for every single kind of author out there.”
It is fair to say that self-publishing no longer has the stigma of being second class. In fact, several publishers and agents I have dealt with over the last few years have encouraged me to pursue self-publishing. And it was not because my writing sucked. It had more to do with my platform. For non-fiction writers, unless you have a massive platform it will be extremely hard to land a trade book deal. Although, there have been some who have landed a deal without having two hundred thousand followers. It is entirely possible, sure. It is most certainly not the norm.
Here are three things I learned about self-publishing and why I’d do it again.
1. It leaves room for more creativity and control
This is the one thing that I loved the most about self-publishing my book. I was able to have complete creative control over the entire project. I got to choose the interior format. I had the final say in the cover design and who I wanted to edit the book.
Honestly, it was interesting to see what all goes into making a document in Microsoft Word into a published book you can hold in your hands.
If you want control over the look and feel of your book, self-publishing is the way to go. From my experience with publishers in the past, signing a traditional book contract you lose some of the creative control over the project. That may not necessarily be a bad thing, but if you want full control you may want to consider self-publishing.
2. You can set your own deadlines
As a writer, deadlines are both dreadful and exciting. Why? Well, for me it motivates me to finish what I started while also getting me excited about the possibility of having what I wrote sent out to the world — whether that’s a blog post or a book. If you’re a writer reading this, what would you say about having deadlines?
When I was self-publishing my book I set a deadline — a day the book would be released — which meant I had to stay on top of every aspect of the process. It was my job to ensure I got the cover completed and the editing finalized.
But it was fun! Yes, the process was fun knowing that the deadline would be the day all my work would be finished. Even if no one purchased it or read it, I did it! I finished what I started and that is enough for me!
If you simply want the satisfaction of finishing your book, self-publish. But do it well. Take your time. Edit. Edit. Edit. Design a great cover. Pour love into the project. For me, knowing all the work I put into it was enough because I know there are many who will never finish their book. Deadlines, for me, motivate me to finish.
I want to be a writer who finishes what I write.
What about you?
3. I get to market the book however I want
Some might say this is the downside to self-publishing — you have to market the book yourself. And if you don’t have a large platform, that can seem daunting.
I don’t have a large platform but I do find it rather fun getting to market my book however I want. I understand I am probably not going to make thousands of dollars and sell hundreds of thousands of copies. That’s not my endgame. My endgame: to have the satisfaction of having a finished — published — book that I am proud of, regardless of sales numbers.
I have utilized Facebook Groups for a Book Launch Team and Instagram to market my book. Mainly through giveaways. I post every so often about the book on all my social media which sometimes generates a sale or two. Nothing monstrous like a New York Times Best-Seller. But that’s okay!
Word of mouth has been a big seller for me — and by big I simply mean people I know buying the book telling someone they know. It hasn’t sold hundreds of copies but if the book reaches just one person who is impacted as a result of reading it it would be worth all the work of writing, publishing, and marketing!
If you have self-published before what have you done to market your book? I would love to hear your ideas and methods! Comment below!