Self-Publishing Guide

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
A brief article about the process of self-publishing.

Submitted: April 10, 2014

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Submitted: April 10, 2014



Self-Publishing Guide

By Joseph Logsdon

Why and how do writers self-publish? Many people outside of the publishing industry understand little about the process of self-publishing a novel or article. However, the road to self-publishing is relatively simple if one follows the proper steps. In the modern world, digital publishing has allowed millions of authors to find success. Many writers feel that the traditional publishing industry has rejected them and that their work will never see the light of day. The traditional publishing industry operates very much like a business and does not gravitate towards unknown authors easily. Writers can spend years trying to get their names recognized. However, self-publishing offers a simple solution. Writers self-publish because of their deep need to have control over their own writing. To have success an author should write, publish, and market. All three of these steps allow for a healthy and long career.

In the modern world, it is very easy to get a book self-published. Amazon allows authors to publish their work swiftly and easily. Unlike traditional publishing, digital publishing allows for higher royalty rates. Joe Wikert, a writer for Chatham News, weighs in on the topic of self-publishing. Wikert writes “How much does the traditional publisher add to books these days? That’s become a very difficult question for publishers to answer, especially in light of all the options that offer significantly higher royalty rates” (“Kindle Singles and the future of eBooks”, para. 4). Wikert states that the traditional publishing industry is failing to keep up with modern times. For example, Amazon gives authors a royalty rate of seventy percent on books priced over 2.99. The traditional publishing industry only gives authors a ten or twenty percent royalty rate.

Kindle has become a primary source for writing books. Unlike traditional publishing services, Kindle allows writers the chance to upload digital books almost instantly. Because of this, authors have taken advantage of the digital age of publishing. In the article “Self-published authors find e-success”, Deidre Donahue discusses the topic of self-publishing. Donahue writes “In the past, if the manuscript was rejected, it usually sat unread in a writer's desk drawer because the alternative — self-publishing one's book — carried a stigma. A writer would pay a vanity publisher to print the book, but stores rarely stocked them and critics rarely reviewed them” (“Self-published Authors Find e-success”, para.15). Donahue states that self-published books used to not be taken seriously, that they were often ignored by most mainstream reviewers. However, all that has changed due to the popularity of Kindle throughout the world. Self-published authors now have a chance to be taken seriously for the first time in history.

How does one self-publish? Believe or not, publishing on Kindle can be relatively simple. In CNN’s article “Self-published eBook author”, John D. Sutter discusses the simplicity of uploading a book to Kindle. Sutter writes “That system allows authors to bypass traditional publishers and instead deal directly with Amazon, which claims to be able to publish their books digitally in hours” (“Self-published eBook author”, para.2). Sutter states that uploading a book to kindle can be done quickly and that authors can bypass traditional publishers in favor of Amazon.

Many writers have found success with self-publishing. Joanna Penn is a popular self-published author and writes in the article “How I Do It” about the benefits of self-publishing. Penn writes “I’m passionate about what I do, and extremely focused on becoming the best writer I can be, as well as the best entrepreneur” (“How I Do It”, para.1). Penn states that entrepreneurship is a key part of being a self-published author. Authors who self-publish often wish to write innovative pieces and the traditional publishing industry is usually closed to such literature. In the end, the key to being a successful self-published author is to write. Many authors neglect their writing abilities because of their struggle with the traditional publishing industry and authors who give up hope often find that their dreams have passed them by. Writers must write if they have any hope of succeeding in the market.

Self-publishing isn’t only a field for authors, but painters as well. There are many creative outlets in the world and not all of them can be regulated to writing. Painters also struggle with their work and are often forced to create cover art for books that do not interest them. Larry Elmore, a known cover artist, writes about his struggle for independence in his book “The Complete Elmore”. Elmore writes “You couldn’t sit there every month, painting your own thing and then, when you finish it, start running around trying to sell it so you could pay the bills. You always had to keep the cash flowing just so that you and your family could maintain a decent standard of life.” (263). Elmore states that it is difficult to sacrifice economic stability so one can chase their dream. Some self-published authors struggle with that fact and will often shy away from their dreams because of it.

In order to become successful authors, writers must market their work. Jim Lavene gives advice on the struggles of marketing in his book “Everything Guide to Writing a Novel.” Lavene writes “Everyone wants to be published, but very few people worry about the craft of marketing” (262). Most authors don’t realize that they have to spend their own money when it comes to marketing material. This is one area where traditional publishing has the upper hand, for publishing companies have the contacts and resources to market without involving the author. Self-published authors must market entirely on their own. However, authors can be successful at marketing if they put their minds to it. Facebook can be a great way to market to friends and family. In many cases, it is best for authors to consider their target audiences before distributing begins.

Writers self- publish because of their deep need to take control of their own work. However, they must know how to self-publish properly if they hope to have any chance of succeeding. Some writers presume that self-publishing is the easy path, but it is the hardest path in all honesty. Authors must give all of their attention to making it in a publishing market, a market that can be very unpredictable and unstable. A self-published author must have a very good business sense or their product is doomed to fail.

Researching self-publishing was a very delightful experience. It was always very clear to me that self-publishing was a swift and viable way to reach readers, but it was unclear how self-published books became successes. Authors must write, publish, and market to become successful. I found that most failed authors didn’t know this and that was their ultimate downfall in the publishing world. Self-publishing can be a very pleasant experiment for those toying with ditching traditional publishing and can lead to a viable future if one is willing to put in the time and effort.


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