I’ve done a ton of research on self-publishing books in the last year. My self-published novel, Gevingey, will be coming out this February. For the past year, I’ve been diving into the world of self-publishing along with a few friends who are also on this same journey. A few things surprised me along the way that I want to share with you.
Self-publishing does not mean that a traditional publisher will never look at your book.
Don’t believe me? Just ask Rupi Kaur. Yes, the Canadian poet who almost single-handedly increased poetry sales in Canada 154% in 2016-17 (like, what?!?).
After she was told by a creative writing professor that getting a poetry book traditionally published would be too difficult, she began choosing poems to send to literary journals and magazines. Rejections rolled in and Rupi began to question why she was butchering her work (a series of poems that she realized all went together to create a bigger piece). She shrugged off the self-publishing naysayers and used Amazon’s CreateSpace platform. She typset the book herself, going through several proofs before she found a design that she liked. About five months after she self-published, a traditional publisher got in touch with her through email and told her they wanted to publish milk and honey.
Read more about Rupi’s story here.
Self-publishing is a waste of time.
Well, it depends. Self-publishing requires a commitment from you, the author, that goes beyond what traditional publishers would expect. You’re firmly grasping the steering wheel down the marketing and self-promotion highway. The work doesn’t end when you finish the book, oh no. You’re just getting started.
The blessing and curse of self-publishing is that anyone can do it. But literally, anyone can do it. Putting an ebook on Amazon is monkey-easy, but it’s not like they’re an overseeing body. Submissions can be unedited, riddled with spelling mistakes, hastily put together and never peer-reviewed.
Self-publishing is only a waste of time if you don’t put the appropriate amount of time in to make your book be the best it can be. And even then, the results may not be what you want. But we don’t write for money or fame, right? We write because our fingertips itch and we have something we want to say.
Self-published books are of lesser quality.
This kind of ties into Myth #2. Because of the ease of self-publishing, yes, a lot of the books out there are uhm, not great. But those books do not and should not reflect upon your own work, your own drive, and your own ability.
If you want your book to read like a traditional published book, do as they do. That means a couple of things: first is doing your research. Know your genre backwards and forwards. Know what readers of that genre want, and more importantly, what they don’t want. This means getting beta readers and listening to their feedback (always with a grain of salt, of course – beta reading can be a confusing experience for all).
Basically, edit. And then edit again. And then get a professional editor (yes, one you PAY real money to!) and then look at their edits and do another edit.
Maybe after five, ten, fifteen edits, your book will begin to approach its final form.
Again, you get out what you put in.
Do you think there is a stigma to self-publishing? Are there any other myths, facts or scenarios you’ve heard about self-publishing that you want to know more about? Comment or message me and we’ll talk.