Over the next few weeks, I'm going to write posts on the benefits of self-publishing and working with a traditional publisher -- whether a large one or a small press. All methods to reach readers can work, but the author's work (when you have your best draft) is different.
This piece deals with the advantages of self-publishing.Self-publishing permits an author to control book content and production, as well as how a book or other product reaches readers. It is a weighty responsibility, though if you share it with others – critique groups, an editor, a cover designer – you are not working alone.
Don’t think of it as what to do if you don’t find a publisher. You may want to find one, but I suggest that you set a time limit on your search. You decide when to stop looking – not your spouse or best friend, perhaps not even your agent.
If you have an agent, listen to them carefully. They know the markets.
Though you want to be aware of available books on a topic, you have an advantage a traditional publisher or small press does not. You are not comparing your work to twenty proposed manuscripts on their desks.
You present your idea or story directly to readers who will be interested in it. You won’t have invested tens of thousands of dollars in market research, printing costs, or advertising. It costs little to no cash to self-publish – even paperbacks. (You do want an editor -- hold a rummage sale if you don't have the cash.)
The final point in your favor is that the income from your books will be yours. You’ll do some extra work at first, but it will be worth it over time.
Always keep in mind that you don’t want your book in print, whether digitally or on paper, before it is polished. You worked on your book, article, essay, or short story for a long time. Let it be a quality product.
You only get one chance to make a first impression.
The next article will deal with some of the work involved in self-publishing. The one after that will talk about advantages of working with a publisher.
Don't stop writing!
* * *