Today I would like to welcome guest writer, Christy Grace. Enjoy!
“I’ve always wanted to publish a book, but I don’t know how…”
“I’m waiting for my big book deal!”
"Self-Publishing is for people who aren't good enough to get a publishing deal..."
You may have said something like the lines above, or heard someone else say them, so where does Self-Publishing stand in the book world?
Okay, you have a book - or at the very least, an idea for one (and probably a pretty good one at that!), but where do you go next?
Is it worth your time and energy sourcing a Book Agent, or a publishing deal? Or is self-publishing not so much the disparaged idea that it used to be?
There's much debate that I've seen, over whether self-publishing is the way to go or not. Personally, I’ve done a ton of research, and whatever your position, it’s always good to KNOW THE INFO before you decide!
Self-publishing has pros and cons, as does Traditional Publishing - but for this article, we're going to focus a little more on the idea of Self-Publishing.
Let’s talk pros first:
· There's a LOT more creative control when it comes to releasing your own work. Where a traditional publisher may decide that you need to change a plot point, character, or even an entire scene (regardless of if YOU agree or not), your self-published work is ALL YOU!
Don’t get me wrong, publishers KNOW THEIR STUFF! But sometimes we don't want an outsider changing something that doesn’t feel like the spirit of our work!
· You can choose your own graphics and style, not only for your book cover but also the interior of your book! Getting to choose the PERFECT image for your story, and how you want to set out your book interior (perhaps you want to have an unusual or quirky idea inside the pages?) is something I'VE always looked forward to when thinking about my first book, and I’m sure you have your own ideas.
Again, publishers know what they’re doing, so if that’s the road you want to go down, you CAN trust their choices – it just may not be what you would have picked…
· You control the narrative! Is there a charity that you want to partner with when you release? Or perhaps you want to control how you as an author or your book, is being perceived? When you self-publish YOU get to control how things go down! If you want to be seen as an edgy, rule breaker who doesn’t care if you buy my book or not, or if you want to be seen as a quirky bookworm, YOU CAN. You control how You and Your Work is perceived.
Publishers KNOW how to market an author and a book, but have you ever heard the stories of those contestants on music shows. They were told what to sing, what to wear and how to act… it can be a bit like that for publishers. They choose how your writing, and you are being shown to the world. It’s for the best of your release, but what happens if you want to die your hair pink and wear only tutus? Something tells me, your publisher would frown on that – especially if you’re a serious historian non-fiction writer…
I hate to use the word ‘Cons’ because when you go over the following points, they’re more ‘Roadblocks to Success’, but here we go anyway:
· When it comes to releasing something yourself, it means you have to do it ALL BY YOURSELF! So, when it comes to actually getting sales, it’s all down to you. It can be hard to sell, but when you’re on your own, it’s what you’ve got to do. Things like regular social media posting, setting up a plan for distributors, making sure you get some publicity (like a newspaper or magazine article about your launch, or an interview on a radio station – even a small community station (they have listeners too!) or an appearance on someone’s podcast) - anything to get the word out, not only to your own fans or readers but also to the general public who may be interested in buying it.
Publishers usually have a ‘machine’ set up to deal with all this stuff for you, so when it comes to that – this is a HUGE help!
· To get people to buy your book (because, truth time, that’s what we really want isn’t it?) you have to put time and effort into building an ‘Author Platform’. Reach out to people who could be fans, start an email list (because believe it or not, it's actually more successful than social media! There’s more engagement and response, and people are more likely to buy your book when it comes out because they’ve heard more about you and your journey). You need to put in the time to reach out YOURSELF to your potential buyers and fans. Researching where they are, where they hang out online (or in-person) is SUPER IMPORTANT!
Even though you should be doing this with a publisher anyway, it does help when they can throw money and staff into helping you with this, so it is a load off your shoulders!
· Along with the debate on Self-Publish Vs Traditional, book tours and signings are another one that I’ve seen a lot! Is it even a thing anymore? Is it worth the time to schlep out to a store to sign only 3 books? The answer I came to through my research (and my general opinion) is YES!
You may only get three books sold and signed, or you may do 20! Out of those twenty (or even those three), you may find a Superfan! Someone who will continue to buy your stuff and tell their family and friends about the AMAZING book they just read! It’s a chance to connect to people - face to face. PLUS, people are more likely to buy a book when it’s signed by the author. So, it’s worth carving out the time! The reason this is in the ‘Roadblocks to Success’ section is because planning out a ‘Book Tour’ or signings can be time-consuming, and some doors may be slammed in your face, so it can also be somewhat disheartening. But, when you find the right stores, the right locations, and the right spaces to reach your fans and your potential buyers, it’s a dream come true.
So, Self-Publishing can be a bit more work, but that’s where this next point comes into play! Have you ever heard the expression ‘Doing It With Others’ or DIWO? Accepting help doesn’t mean you CAN’T do the work, it’ means that you VALUE someone else’s expertise.
Getting an editor to evaluate your book before you throw it out there is NUMERO UNO - Especially if you’re publishing it yourself. But even then, there are ways to get through this uncertain period! There are businesses for graphic design, social media creation, editors and some companies who will do it ALL with you! You just have to find the right fit, like a pair of sneakers, or that perfect cocktail dress!
Have I convinced you about self-publishing, or maybe you’d rather stick with chasing that elusive book deal? They still happen, and they still exist, but truthfully, they are so difficult to grab onto, and you may have more fun with publishing on your own! Many successful authors started out releasing their own work, and YOU CAN TOO!
If you’re interested to learn more about self-publishing, there are books and so many articles or discussions on this topic, but whatever you decide is right for YOU, just keep writing that masterpiece, and don’t give up on your dreams when a ‘Road Block’ may enter your path!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Christy Grace is a creativity chaser. After re-discovering her passion for writing with spy adventures in The Hannah Carmichael Chronicles, she is continuing onward and upwards and never looking back!
Christy has been blessed enough to receive 2nd place in the SparkLit Young Writer award back in 2011, and keeps striving to be better. Launching ChristyGraceScarletPen was the beginning, and things are not slowing down now.
She enjoys her ‘Method Writing’ approach - jumping into her characters world, and capturing most of it to share with the internet.