You became a writer to get famous, have your book adapted, and create good art. So many writers want instant success, so they go the self-publishing route without a following or contacts.
While there’s a time and place to self-publish, there’s a good chance that in your situation, you should skip the self-publishing route. Read on to find out why.
Self-publishing isn’t easy
Many writers choose this route because they think it’s easy. And if all you’re doing is writing a book and throwing it into a self-publishing service, then it might be. But when done properly, self-publishing takes time and effort.
Not only do you have to write your manuscript on a group of pulmonary doctors dealing with romance and tragedy at their hospital (or whatever your topic might be), but you also have to edit, format, and attach a cover to your book. All of that might sound easy, but the price rises quickly. After all, you’re a writer and you write — you might consider yourself a proficient graphic designer, marketer, or editor, but it’s best to get professionals to do those jobs so you can create a quality product. According to my friend, who used to work some of the best editorial assistant jobs NYC has to offer, hiring a professional editor and graphic designer can cost thousands of dollars.
You might be doing the marketing yourself through social media, word of mouth, and email marketing, but you could take it a step further by paying for a digital marketing company, which costs even more money. By the time your book hits digital shelves, you’re going to be in the red.
There’s more room for poor quality
Unfortunately, many indie authors don’t do all of the steps mentioned above and they hurt their chances of writing for big publications or getting traditional book deals. There’s no secret ingredient to scoring a book deal, and there’s no way to jump to the front of the line. You have to put in the work and create a good product. Connections might help you open doors, but you still need good material.
If you throw something together just to force a “writer’s credit”, then hopefully it’s good. If it’s poorly edited and needs more work that an agent or publisher could help with, your self-published book could harm your novelist career before it gets going.
The money is worse
One of the biggest reasons why people go the self-publishing route is to make money faster. Barring good luck, you won’t make a lot if you don’t have a following, or a lot of supportive friends and family members who are willing to buy your book.
A lot of people self-publish and that number is growing. Your book might be the greatest thing ever written, but no one will see it if you don’t market well or you lack a following. If you truly want to make money, then self-publishing a book is a poor way to go about it. You’re better off doing something more lucrative, like selling outdoor inflatables, while you do your writing on the side.
It’s harder to gain prominence
There have been famous self-publishers before, and these self-published books led to traditional book deals later on. However, when that happens, it makes the news. If your end goal is to make a lot of money or be famous, then self-publishing might not be your best route.
When you should self-publish
If you want to self-publish a book, then you have every right to do that. Here are ideal times to do so.
- When you have a following, it leads to sales, and sales make your book more popular and lead to more money. If you have a big enough following before you self-publish, then you might be able to leverage a traditional book deal, especially if you have proof of a successful self-published book.
- When you treat it like work, you’ll have a quality book. This means you’re getting a professional book cover and editor. Even if you don’t have a big following, you shouldn’t publish a sloppy book. Professionally self-publish your work.
Self-publishing a book is a bad route for many aspiring writers who want to jump to the front of the line and receive a book deal before they’ve put in the work. Of course, there are people who want to create their art their way — they don’t care about wealth and fame, they just want to publish their books. For those people, there’s nothing to lose and everything to gain.