The idea of self-publishing for an aspiring writer is a very seductive one. The appeal is that you can miss out the difficult process of getting an agent and editor interested in your work before unleashing it on the reading public. Instead readers can be marketed to directly by you as an author as soon as you have produced a piece of work that you’re happy with. The act of creating your own book is fairly straight-forward, the most difficult part is probably creating an appealing cover.
The immediacy of self-publishing is very appealing, as is the ability to circumvent the traditional demands of commercial publishers. In a busier, more competitive, marketplace publishers are more careful about what titles they sign up. In the old days an editor used to sign books that they hoped would sell, nowadays they want to publish books that they are (almost) certain will sell. This means that anything that doesn’t fit the mood of the current trends may be overlooked, as will anything that may require a bit more work for the publishing house – help with editing etc. many aspiring writers will therefore get rejected, and self-publishing can be a good outlet for them if they lack the persistence for the traditional route, but I also think that many are also going straight to self-publishing without bothering to submit elsewhere. When you hear stories of million of sales of ebooks for self-published authors the appeal can be hard to ignore.
But is self-publishing really the best option for an aspiring writer? In a series of blog posts I will be exploring the pros and cons of self-publishing in more depth.
Currently I have dabbled with self-publishing, using it to publish short stories that I have found difficult to place elsewhere. I generally feel most of my stories are too mass-market for many publications, so it felt ok to do this. However, for the novel that I am working on I am planning to attempt the traditional route.
My first post on self-publishing pros and cons will discuss earnings potential.