Writers, are you still on the fence when it comes to self-publishing? Here are seven reasons you should take the plunge.
1. Because you can. Whether as physical books through POD companies like Create Space, or electronic books through a plethora of platforms like Amazon, Kobo and Apple, the technology to get published has never been easier.
2. Self-publishing is the new cool. At the recent London International Book Fair, the self-publishing hall was where all the cool cats hung out. Names like Amazon, Kobo, Bella Andre and Hugh Howey were the star attractions. The industry is no longer asking whether self-publishing is tantamount to shameless vanity, but increasingly the inherent and historic flaws of legacy publishing are coming to the forefront.
3. There is ample proof of concept. Succeeding in self-publishing is no longer a rare occurrence, but a growing, steady trend. Pioneers like Joseph Konrath who first struck it big are no longer minority examples, but part of a growing list of indie authors who are competing with household name, traditionally published writers. But that’s not all, there is ample proof that even if you are not stratospherically successful, yet, you can in the interim make a decent living as a self-published author, and it’s only going to get better, easier, and more common.
4. Self publishing and legacy publishing are not mutually exclusive. If you are still lusting for a traditional publishing deal, being self-published will not hurt or diminish your chances. In fact, most publishers and agents are increasingly fishing in the self-published ecosystem for the next big thing. I am living proof of that. I’ve been approached by not one, but two traditional publishers in the last few months with an interest to option whatever I write next. And they did it without the help of a literary agent. In fact, because the barriers to self-publishing and the heretofore stigma attached to it are now moot points, not-being self-published while you wait to get a legacy deal will increasingly be the exception rather than the rule.
5. Immediate gratification and feedback. Self-publishing connects you directly to readers, without the need for a buffer layer of traditional publishers and agents who at best can only make intelligent guesses about what the public wants to read. If you are the sort of writer who needs validation if your work is good enough, self-publishing can start providing you immediate feedback from the people who count the most in this game: Readers. You can think of self-publishing as an incubator for your work. Now does that mean you should rush to publish your first draft? Not at all. It’s a given that you should strive to make your book as good as, or better than a traditionally published work if you are to stand any fighting chance. But there are many writers who are unwittingly sitting on highly polished works, coveting the approval of an agent or a publisher when they could be making money out of it.
6. You are not alone. The indie publishing community is tight-knit and extremely supportive. Regardless of your technical know-how or entrepreneurial appetite, there is an ocean of free resources, advice and Good Samaritans who will have an answer for your most vexing question. And there is a vibrant market place of publishing support services like cover art, editing, and PR at various price points to meet all budgets. If your excuses not to self-publish so far have been it’s too technical, too time consuming, or too expensive, then rejoice because nothing can be further from the truth.
7. There is a niche market for everything. And I mean everything. If you write in highly specialized genres or about fringe subject matters, then self-publishing is definitely for you. As stated, agents and traditional publishers are always trying to play catch-up with public tastes, which means they are always looking for things that can quickly achieve mainstream success. So let’s say you write about pet erotica set in Ancient Egypt, self-publishing is the only way you will get your work out there to your nascent fan-base of connoisseurs of the sensual lives of domesticated animals in ancient times. In fact, self-publishing has been credited with rekindling genres thought to be dead or even introducing them altogether.
In other words, self-publish today and ask questions later.