Self-Publishing for the Rest of Us
There are authors for whom the benefits of self-publishing are obvious and undeniable. Any traditionally published author, moderately successful now or in recent memory, whose backlist is unavailable should be doing anything feasible to obtain the rights to those books. (S/he may already be contractually entitled to those rights, as long as certain procedures are possible.) Even if it's necessary to have a new cover made or to have the interior re-formatted, those one-time expenditures are likely to pale in comparison to the revenue stream those books could represent.
Even authors whose books are all in print may want to take the occasion of their next publishing or agency contract renewal to examine the fine print -- which is likely to have changed considerably -- and to consider (possibly with the assistance of an intellectual property attorney) whether the benefits of the new contract outweigh the possible disadvantages.
But what about the newcomers, the debut authors wondering whether to publish their own work or to seek an agent and/or publisher?
There will always be the stories of jaw-dropping success, self-published authors whose first (or first publicized) book sells hundreds of thousands of copies. These authors will have benefited from various kinds of luck, including the luck that the stories they wanted to tell satisfied a need in the world of readers. (I doubt that anyone attempting to assemble a novel according to the apparently popular trends, without feeling the driving need to tell that sort of story, will achieve such success.) I see no harm in dreaming of a mega-bestseller, or of dreaming of winning the lottery -- as long as we treat such dreams as irrelevant recreation.
For most of us, self-publishing means a great deal of work for initially modest -- even minimal -- sales. The income from our books may pay a bill here and there, but it won't let us quit the day job. Strangers, even strangers carrying Kindles, will pass us on the street, ignorant of our identities.
So what do we gain?
We gain books. During the time that our books would have been nothing but computer files or piles of paper, they will be POD paperbacks and ebooks.
We gain readers. When we would have been reading rejection letters or reports on where our books had been submitted, we will be reading reviews.
We gain experience. With our schedule under our own control, we may well be more likely to write that next book, and the next, when we would otherwise have been counting the slow months or years until our first book finally reached its publication date. (We will, however, miss the experience of receiving and responding to detailed editorial critiques, unless we make a point of hiring editors to supply them.) While my first novel, Twin-Bred, has pleased a fair number of readers, I know that as I prepare my third novel for release and edit my fourth, I have improved at my craft. Had I stayed on the traditional publishing track, I might still be awaiting Twin-Bred's publication. And the experience I gained would not have included any serious involvement in my own interior or cover design, let alone formatting for ebook and print. (I would also have missed out on playing with CreateSpace's 3D simulation in its digital proofer. I could twirl the book around for hours, kicking my heels and giggling like a three-year-old.)
And what are our prospects?
We will keep learning.
We will keep hearing from readers who have been entertained, or even moved, by the worlds and characters we have created.
And as we write and publish more books, we are likely to reach more readers, and earn enough to pay a few more bills.
For me, it's more than enough.
Want to find out more: Follow these links...
Author website: http://www.KarenAWyle.net
Facebook author page: http://www.facebook.com/KarenAWyle
Twitter handle: @WordsmithWyle
Blog, Looking Around: http://looking-around.blogspot.com
Twin-Bred on Amazon (Kindle): http://amzn.to/u2OtVP
Twin-Bred on Amazon (paperback): http://amzn.to/JYyGeG
Twin-Bred on B&N online (paperback): http://bit.ly/xsyzwL
Twin-Bred on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17874816-twin-bred )
Wander Home on Amazon (Kindle): http://amzn.to/WeIrf9
Wander Home on Amazon (paperback): http://amzn.to/Z8fFj0
Wander Home on B&N online (Nook): http://bit.ly/TymtxO
Wander Home on B&N online (paperback): http://bit.ly/TkulFu
Smashwords (various ebook formats): https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/239628
iTunes (Kindle): http://bit.ly/YgLOhT
iBookstore (paperback): http://www.ibookstore.com/products.php?i=148116709X
Reach's Smashwords page: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/314247
Reach on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17847283-reach
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