Recently, I had my friend and CP Katie French share her thoughts on her decision to self-publish. Her insights were important to understanding why a writer would choose to go this route instead of traditional publishing.
I wanted to follow-up on this important topic with a post from someone who has been part of the e-publishing world for a while. So today, my AQ Connect friend, Caterina Torres, is sharing her thoughts on what life is like in the self-publishing trenches. As she shares in her own words, the saga does not end when you upload your book, and see it in all its shining glory on bookselling websites. No, that is just the beginning of a long process that requires a lot of time and self-promotion.
Risks and Rewards of Self-Publishing
Growing up, I never thought much about how a book got to my local library. I’d simply check out however many books I wanted, gush over the story, and return them when they were due. None of my reader friends mentioned the differences between traditional and self-published books, nor did we care. All we wanted was a good book to read.
Now that I’ve written a couple of books, and published one, all I keep hearing about is the differences between traditional and self-published books. It’s like no matter where I go, this is the heated topic—which is better?
None of them are.
You read that right. Whether you do it by yourself or with an agent, as long as the book is good, it really doesn’t matter which path you choose. The best thing to keep in mind is to make sure the path you DO choose is the right fit for you. Not everyone can go it alone, and not many folks like working with others. It all depends on doing your research and figuring out which will benefit yourself the best.
I happened to choose self-publishing, so I’ll let you in on my experiences and what I found to be the Risk and Rewards of Self-Publishing.
1. YOU DO EVERYTHING BY YOURSELF
You choose the book cover, the price, and editor. You need to decide how to market, which social media site to join, how to get a fantastic website. You decide who’ll want to read your book and when to publish. You. You. You.
2. THE BOOK HAS TO BE PERFECT
In my experience, I find that people are a bit more judgmental when they find out the book was self-published. They will expect it to have typos, plot holes, cliché’s, and other issues. They’ll expect it to not be that great, but they’ll give it a try anyways. The best thing you can do is make sure your book is perfect when you publish, or all you’re going to see in the reviews is nitpicks like, “It had some typos, but it was a good book.” Once that review is up, it’s almost as if the rest of the readers WANT TO see those typos, so they will look for it.
3. GET READY TO SPEND SOME MONEY
When it comes to self-publishing, it’s not cheap. Get ready to shell out some dough for editors, book covers, websites, and giveaways. No one is going to front that money, so save up at least $2,000 and do your research. Not all editors are expensive, and the same goes for book covers. Just make sure the people you choose to hire are reliable and reputable.
4. STICK TO YOUR OWN SCHEDULE
Some folks might not think this is a risk as it is a benefit, but it really depends on the person. If you write one book, thinking that’s it, you’ll be surprised. It takes several books to make it anywhere in this business. You might think, “Oh, I wrote one book. I won’t have to worry about another one for at least a year.” Well, if you want your book to sit there and gather dust, go ahead and think that way. But really the best thing you can do is keep writing more books. No one is going to push you or give you a deadline. You need to stay motivated.
5. NO ONE WILL TAKE YOU SERIOUSLY
Or at least certain people won’t. There will be biased remarks towards you about taking the lazy route or trying to take a short cut in life. Get ready to receive skepticism about the quality of your book. The best thing to do is to grow a thick skin and move on. Those people don’t deserve your time or energy.
1. YOU’RE IN CONTROL
That’s right. No one can tell you how much you want to price your book, what type of book cover to get, or which editor to choose. You get to publish your book whenever you want, on whatever vendor you want. You get to choose how many books to give away for free, or to price your book for free. Freedom never tasted so sweet.
2. MORE BANG FOR YOUR BUCK
If done right, self-publishing can pay you back tenfold. There have been studies done that pricing a book at $2.99 pays you just as much as prices in the $7.99 or higher. Thing is, most folks want to pay the lower price, but traditional publishers won’t go as low as $2.99. That means you could, in a sense, be making more money than people who went with publishing houses.
3. YOU GET TO KEEP ALL THE RIGHTS
If your books take off, guess what—you get all the profits and no one else. If some producer wanted to make a movie out of your series, you get to decide what do to. Ultimately, whatever profits you make are yours to keep. No one has a piece of the pie, so no can boss you around or decide to drastically change the storyline if they wanted.
4. IF YOU FAIL, YOU ONLY FAIL YOURSELF
I know what you might be thinking—this doesn’t sound like some reward. But really, if you go the traditional route and your book tanks, your failure hurts those that helped move your book along. But if you self-publish and your book tanks, you are only hurting yourself. You can always start over and try again.
5. IF YOU SUCCEED, DOORS OPEN
Nothing is more impressive than a self-published author getting on the New York Times Bestselling list. Those authors did it all by themselves, and look how far they went. Now, not only are they making a lot of money and are in control, but doors will open for them. Agents and publishers will come knocking on their door, hoping for a piece of the pie. And the best part of that is, the author gets to choose whether or not they want to join forces.
There you have it folks! Those are the Risks and Rewards of Self-Publishing. In my future, I’d like to see a good mix of traditional and self-publishing somewhere down the line because I believe both paths have great benefits. Would I self-publish again? Yes, I would. I want to gain experience however I can, in whatever field I can.
—Ciao, Caterina Torres
The name I go by is Cat, I’m in my mid-twenties, and I graduated with a BA in Anthropology and a minor in Humanities. I truly aspire to be a writer and I hope you enjoy my books. I love to write about the apocalypse, but not in the biblical sense of the word. Any sort of dystopian, end of the world stories seriously interest me. I guess it has a lot to do with being part of the rat race of life, trying to climb the great ladder of success. Regular life just seems so…boring.
Website/Blog – http://caterinatorres.com/
Facebook Fan Page – http://www.facebook.com/pages/Caterina-Torres/340181086022992?ref=hl
Twitter – @caterinatorres
Zombie Whisperer on Amazon – http://www.amazon.com/Zombie-Whisperer-Trilogy-ebook/dp/B007DKST8A/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1347293824&sr=8-1&keywords=zombie+whisperer