Despite naysayers like this, the self-publishing industry continues to boom, fueled from both sides of the spectrum: appreciative readers enjoying the unprecedented range of choices in all genres, and triumphant authors finally able to express themselves as freely as they see fit, without conforming to traditional standards being imposed by cautious “gatekeepers” whose only concern is the bottom line and mass audience appeal.
While any author planning to make money writing needs to pay close attention to market trends and strategically target their demographics, the DIY revolution also means that bold experimentation and boundless, often innovative creativity has been unleashed in a field long dominated by the rigid structures of a conservative business model.
No longer are enterprising authors subject to the fickle approval of publishing houses understandably more concerned with turning a profit by pandering to conventions than forging new and exciting terrain, ripe for discovery by readers tired of the tried-and-true.
Walking the artistic/commercial line
The really smart authors will find ways to both appease their inner muse and appeal to a wide fan base.
Examples of this include Andy Weir’s The Martian, a fairy tale success story in which a self-published book, informed and inspired by his own interests in astrophysics and computer science background, managed to turn his passions into a bestseller that is now a major motion picture directed by Ridley Scott, and starring Matt Damon.
But not everyone who follows their bliss will reap similar rewards. For every tale of triumph there are dozens if not hundreds of stories about self-published books that go nowhere, despite their artistic integrity or even their carefully calculated commercialism. But you'll never be able to predict what will hit or miss, so worry about the writing, not the outcome.
Be as prolific as you want
The point is, when it comes to self-publishing, the only limits for output are decided by the author’s own ambitions. Depending on your imagination and determination, you can publish as many books as you desire, whenever you want, without having to either slingshot your work into a slush pile of manuscripts sitting on the desk of an overburdened editor, or, if accepted, waiting for a year or more for the book to actually come out.
Thanks to the easily manipulated magic of today’s many self-publishing platforms, instant authorial gratification is literally at your fingertips. While you can’t control the reaction to your work by the outside world, you can personally determine the quality of your book’s content, from cover to cover, throughout a creative process that is completely under your control. And that self-satisfaction can be priceless.
So don’t wait for success to come to you. You’re free to march to the beat of your own drummer. Just put one foot in front of the other, and start beating those odds…
What freedoms do you enjoy most as an independent author?