Why do I Trust The Self-Publishing Route?

It’s something that is often met with a derisory look when you mention that you’re going to self-publish a book. It still has a reputation for being the easy route, or dare I say it, the failures route. Traditional publishing contracts have the same level of acceptance as a record deal for a musician, and these milestones are easily identified by the public as a sign that you’re doing well.

On the contrary, when you tell people that you’ll be self-publishing their immediate reaction is to assume that you’re not good enough to get a proper deal. You then spend the next five minutes justifying why you’re self-publishing and you’d be lucky if any of the explanation changed that person’s opinion of you.

Downsides of Self-Publishing

The great part of self-publishing is that anybody can do it, and the bad part of self-publishing is that anybody can do it. There is no filter in place by definition and so unfortunately any old dross can get put out there, and does. How can a reader be assured of quality when your book’s in the same haystack as everything else?

Self-publishing means self-promotion too. One of the benefits of traditional publishers is that they will promote your book for you. We all know that the reality of this in the current environment is maybe less than it used to be but it’s still there.

Self-publishing means self-editing. The reason that so much dross is out there is that fellow authors do not spend enough time having their books edited for quality purposes. If we want to be treated the same as traditionally published authors then our work needs to be strong enough to stand alongside it.

So why am I trusting it?

The industry is changing. It is increasingly more difficult to get picked up by a publisher if you are an unknown author with no track record. The market is saturated by celebrity biographies, and big name novelists. There are very few new authors coming through the traditional route. Also, the money in the budget to support new authors has been cut, therefore limiting the promotional opportunities that were mentioned previously.

I will have my books edited thoroughly and I will have a professional cover illustration because this is the minimum that I must do to be taken seriously. But the real reason I’m trusting the self-publishing route to work for me is actually to just get my work out there.

If I was not to do this then I would spend, potentially years, writing books and churning out work that would never see the light of day. I would send the odd enquiry to an Agent or Publisher but that would be it. The main benefit of self-publishing for me is the development that I will gain as a writer. My books will be reviewed, feedback given, and I will gradually understand my market, my readers, and my weaknesses.

I will then be able to write better books and become a better writer, and if a point then comes in the future where a traditional publisher notices my work, I am in a much stronger position to make a decision.

A successful band will play gigs in clubs for a few years, gradually improving and building up a core fan base, and then they will be noticed by a Record Company and move up a level. Writing now has a similar path to success and this is why I believe that it will work for me.

Why do you trust the self-publishing route?


23 responses to “Why do I Trust The Self-Publishing Route?

  1. It is absolutely wonderful to see a self-pub author who’s actually THINKING about the ups and downs. Honestly, so many first drafts get put out there without a jot of editing, and THAT is why self-pub or indie-pub is getting such a bad rap. The music industry analogy is so appropriate too–though it does bring up the question of HOW do you find good stuff to read in the indie marketplace? (cause the music scene is already difficult for me–without services such as Spotify and Pandora, I’d be lost. Maybe we need something similar for Literature?)

  2. You have so eloquently and thoroughly described my exact thoughts about the subject. A few years ago, I totally recognized traditional publishing route as the only way to not only validate my writing, but to get my work on the shelves. Once there, and once bought by just one person, I would have felt great satisfaction.
    ‘Tis true that the budgets of publishers have been cut, and with fewer editors. It sounded like bad news for new writers, but then self-publishing has been on the rise.
    In reversal of Charles Dickens words: It is the worst of times, it is the best of times!

  3. I don’t necessarily trust the self publishing route as I haven’t looked for books in this way.
    Why not? ‘Cos I don’t know how to.
    Why not? Cos I haven’t typed in self published books into a search.
    Why not? ‘Cos until recently I hadn’t thought of it.
    What’s changed? I’ve recently got to know two authors attempting this route, (yourself and a new friend of mine living locally). So think about it……how do you reach ME with your work?? I’m a reader and a book buyer as well as a library haunter.
    Two pieces of advice: 1. Stop concerning yourself about what others think of you regarding how you’re doing things. Think about ME, (or your Nan). We need to know how and where to find interesting books to read and don’t much care about whether other writers use the same approaches as yourself. We care about good stories!
    2. Don’t recognised publishers and their editors try to mould the work of authors to suit their own brand image……..a bit like record companies? Remember the story of the birth of Punk rock when the Sex Pistols refused to conform to the ideas of the record companies?
    Who’s to say what’s right?
    Just go for it!

    • I always think about YOU. πŸ™‚

      Amazon is where a lot of new books are heard about, reviewed, rated, and recommended. A self-published book vs a traditionally published book in this forum can be made to look identical. You may never know that it was a self-published book in the first place. In answer to the library situation; self-published books are always going to find it hard to break in to these institutions because in order to do so you would have to print a huge number of books up front. Although a local library to stock a couple of your books would be possible, however no money coming from a rented out book doesn’t strike me as a good business model.

      More and more eBooks are being sold and the future route for a writer to reach out to a reader is online undoubtedly. This will obviously leave my Nan behind, but I think you Mrs RC at your age, should know your way round the Internet. πŸ™‚ How I go about publicising my books online is another question, and one that I will definitely address when it’s get nearer the time of judgement day.

      thank you for reading this blog though (a very good example of a hidden gem lost within a haystack)

    • Good reply.

      I have had 8 books published via the traditional route and never made anything except from one, when I was paid a flat fee by a packager.
      I am now going to self publish and acknowledge the task ahead.
      Please take a look at the preview of the book on website of the same name: http://www.travelswithmyhat.com. I hope it may be of interest.

      Thank you.

  4. I trust the self-publishing route for the reasons you mentioned – it helps me get my work out there. I also trust it because ultimately all the decisions lie with me. Nobody will be able to trick me out of what’s rightfully mine. I’m a bit paranoid about all the legal aspects, haha.

  5. I’m self-publishing for similar reasons (this post is my manifesto on the subject: http://gracemakley.com/2012/08/02/why-im-choosing-to-self-publish/). The biggest problem with self-publishing is how many authors don’t take the time to thoroughly edit and make sure they have a professional cover, which is, as you’ve said, the bottom line. This is bad for us because it makes all self-publishing look bad, and readers may pre-judge our work. This is good for us because it makes it possible for our work to stand from other self-published efforts with a single glance at the cover or first paragraph.

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  12. Reblogged this on Arts2090 Publics and Publishing and commented:
    good blog and responses

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  14. Reblogging on julitownsendwrites.wordpress.com
    I agree with your thoughts, and especially like the analogy to the music industry.

  15. Pingback: Essay-in-lieu-of-examination: question one. | Arts2090 Publics and Publishing

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