It’s my anniversary! One year ago, I did not have a blog, nor a twitter account. I did not know what a widget was or how to manipulate a jpeg. But I did have a thriller novel that I had worked hard on crafting. I wanted to connect with readers, not only to entertain, but to make them wonder about reality and faith. I decided to take my own leap of faith into the world of self publishing.
Today, my thriller, The Seventh Stone, is on two of Amazon’s Top 100 Best Sellers Chart for Action and Adventure in Kindle Books. I have hundreds of twitter followers, three blogs (but little time), and the gratification of watching more and more readers buy my book. This new world of publishing offers amazing opportunities for writers and readers to connect. As J.K. Rowling said, “Anything’s possible, if you’ve got enough nerve.”
If you’re struggling with the decision of whether or not to self publish, I hope this helps:
Top Seven Reasons to Self Publish:
1. You control the Publication Date. Simply put, the best case scenario for a writer looking for a traditional publisher is that your book will be available for sale in 18 months. This is if you secure an agent immediately, who then sells it immediately to a publisher, who then pushes your book through the process of getting it on sale. More likely, it will take two to three years, if ever, as agents and publishers become more cautious about investing in an unknown author. Consider how quickly the industry is changing. What will book sales be like in a year and a half? Will print books being sold in bookstores still be a viable business model? Or will most readers be buying online or reading e-books? Which leads me to-
2. You control the Price. Traditional publishers have a high overhead. They need to cover their costs and make a profit. They price e-books too high. Readers of Stephen King may pay that high price. Readers are much less likely to pay a high price for a debut author. As a self publisher, you can set the price, change the price, offer sales days and more to tweak and increase readership and sales.
3. You control the Format. For lesser known authors, e-books will make up the vast majority of your sales. Most self publishers release an e-book first, then a print paperback, then, if ever, a hardcover book. Traditional publishers are tuned into selling print books first, which may not be the best way for you to gain readership and prove your books can sell.
4. You retain your Rights, especially E-book Rights. What will happen when the traditional publisher must focus their attention away from you and onto the other, newer books on their list? E-book shelf space is limitless and does not have time constraints, but you will not be able to sell your own e-book and take advantage of changing markets.
5. You control and are responsible for Marketing. Even with traditional publishers, most authors have to do their own marketing. If you self publish, you reap the benefits of that investment with a higher return on sales.
6. You control editorial decisions and cover design. When you self publish, you can work closely with and decide who to hire to edit your book and help design your cover.
7. You will be connected to an amazing community, especially on-line, of self-published writers who help each other by sharing information, experiences and advice. Whatever question you have, writers are out there eager to help and encourage you.
BUT look before you take that leap of faith. Here are
Three Reasons not to Self Publish:
1. Agents and editors at traditional publishers are smart, hard-working people who love books. They give their writers advice on their writing and careers. They are connected to other experts in the industry and you can benefit from that inside expertise. They take the financial risk in paying you an advance and in producing your book.
2. Major review publications like Publishers Weekly and Kirkus will not review self published books. Bookstore buyers and librarians rely on these industry publications to decide which books to order. That means they won’t be ordering yours. This, too, may change as the industry publications take more notice of self-published best sellers.
3. I think that traditional publishers do a better job with “big” books. Traditional publishers have the expertise, connections and distribution network to get books into bookstores. They do a better job at selling print books. With the discounts and return policies that bookstores require, selling self-published, print on demand books in bookstores is not a viable business model. But that goes back to the question of what bookstores will be like in the near future.
Whatever you decide to do, you will be amazed on what you can do in a year. For me, self publishing has been a wonderful adventure. Go ahead and look, but take that leap of faith.