The publishing industry (just like TV, music, accommodation and many others) has changed rapidly in recent years, and the growth in self-publishing has seen it advance to the point where it’s impossible to distinguish a well-produced self-published book from one produced by a major publishing house such as Penguin.
Self-publishing used to have kind of a bad wrap (sometimes for good reason). The stigma around self-publishing was that if you went this route it meant you weren’t good enough for ‘proper’ publishing. The cost associated with producing a book before digital printing also meant that many self-published books did not look great – often the cover designs were less than stellar, and the print quality was maybe a one step up from your best mate’s Publisher brochure.
Today though, self-publishing is coming into its own. With authors such as Matthew Riley and E.L. James being picked up by major publishers after initially self-publishing, more people can see the positive aspects. Also, with the advent of high-quality self-publishing companies and digital printing, self-publishers can now have books that rival any in a bookstore. So, is self-publishing right for you? Well, anyone can self-publish; even some authors who have previously published with traditional houses have moved into the world of self-publishing as it allows them more freedom to produce their book their way. But usually the type of people who decide to self-publish include:
authors in niche areas/industries
authors who want control over the production of their book
business owners who want to use a book as a marketing and public relations tool
authors who have been unable to get their book published by a traditional publisher (remember, publishing houses receive many more manuscripts than they can make into books – it does not mean those manuscripts not selected are rubbish).
One of the great things about self-publishing is that you, the author, are also the publisher, so you get to make all the decisions regarding your book. If you want a hot pink cover you can have a hot pink cover; you can decide on the title of your book; you can choose whether to have cartoons throughout your book; you can choose what paper it’s printed on (depending on what your printer stocks).
The important thing to remember is that with all the decision-making power comes all the financial risk. As the publisher, you are also the one paying the bills and taking on the risk, and although this can be managed with good advice, as with any project it can never be eliminated. A great way to avoid making costly mistakes as a self-publisher is to seek out professional editors, designers and printers to help you, or use a reputable self-publishing company to manage the entire process for you.
Now, more than ever, self-publishing is opening up the doors for authors in all genres and disciplines, so take the time to assess all the options available and make your publishing decision based on what’s right for you and your book.