The argument favoring self-publishing is louder and stronger than ever... ⤺ Tweet This!
Recently I wrote a blog about why I now prefer self-publishing. This resignation if not satisfaction gained organic traction in my psyche after a particularly long, grueling, circuitous path through the minefields of both self-publishing and small presses – not that there’s much difference between them anymore, logistically speaking.
I can’t so I don’t wish certain potentially game-changing opportunities had yielded more substantial dividends along the way, but given the cards I’ve been dealt, I’m confident I’m playing my best hand. That’s all any of us can do.
There is increasing scientific evidence it's worth the hassle.
Take a Selfie, It'll Last Longer
A new extensive data report prepared by Bowker has been released, covering the rise of the self-publishing industry in the years 2010-2015, a crucial phase of its development, when it gained not only a certain amount of credibility from consumers if not critics, but also carved its own niche high on the bestseller lists, especially eBooks.
I recently shared and expounded upon a similar if far less comprehensive report about the enduring popularity of print books in the digital era. Taken together, writers should be encouraged at the thriving nature of their chosen field (though some of us feel it chooses us), despite its challenges in a culture overwhelmed by multi-media entertainment choices.
Another recent article lays out how Amazon has effectively and perhaps permanently monopolized the self-publishing business, largely by getting ahead of the curve when it was still an option reserved mostly for rebels and rejects.
Now that self-publishing has lost much of its stigma – at least with a large chunk of the reading public, if not one’s traditionally published literary peers – Amazon has the market cornered, with major New York houses struggling to keep pace sales-wise, and competitors offering similar DIY platforms likewise lagging behind.
The main reason self-publishing has earned (grudging) respect both within and outside of the industry is because it has proven not only appealing to struggling authors, but also veterans that now see this as a viable and even profitable option, as opposed to an act of desperation.
In the Nick of Time
In his column for the Huffington Post, prominent author Nick Kolakowski wrote about his own decision to self-publish his short story collection Somebody’s Trying to Kill Me (a title that ironically reflects how many indie authors often feel) which is now on the market:
I’m what you’d call a midlist author: every couple years, I publish a book that does reasonably well. I haven’t been to the top of the bestseller lists, but (he said dryly) my books have ended up on the front cover of a couple prominent remainder catalogs. I earn royalties and advances, but I also have a day job…
Over the years, I’ve published short stories in a number of crime-fiction magazines (including Thuglit, Shotgun Honey, Out of the Gutter, and others). Earlier this year, I realized that I’d produced enough material for a full-fledged collection. I made the rounds of publishers, but none bit. “Right now, short story collections are a tough sell for us, so we’re going to pass,” one editorial director told me…
From there he goes on to describe the various phase of the DIY process, all of which I’ve covered myself in this space, from cover art to content editing to product page presentation to promotion and distribution.
These aren’t just suggestions, they’re more like requirements, at least if you want to succeed as an independent author/publisher, professionally speaking. Commercially, peddling a book is always a dice roll unless you have a bankable byline.
But the quality of your book is totally under your control, and it’s a responsibility you need to take very seriously if you hope to compete in this increasingly crowded marketplace.
Taking over the reins of your product, if not your career, is both the rewarding and the challenging part of being a self-publisher, aspects I’ll explore further in my next blog.