Hi guys! Sorry for the lack of post last week. I was prepping for an interview. I’m also struggling with the third part of The Red Moon, so… that’ll go up when it goes up at this point. Again, sorry!
As a writer, I have always wanted to publish a book. I mean, who among us writers don’t? Until recently, there was really only one way to do so. Get a literary agent, send it out to a publisher, get rejected a million times, finally get one that really likes it and buys the manuscript, only to have to edit it a hundred more times, and finally get it published. However, times are now changing.
One of you amazing readers, who I will only refer to by their first name, Kelsei, reached out to me last week, asking if I’ve ever considered self publishing. I’ll admit, I did not, until you messaged me. Yes, I had heard it was an option, but I never seriously considered it until then.
So, of course, I began looking into self publishing on Amazon, trying to figure out if it would be worth the time and effort, and put together a list of pros and cons.
Pro: I don’t have to rely on a publishing company or agent. I do everything myself.
This means I have complete control over the project, how I publish it, and what I do and don’t change. I can set the prices, too. This is great. Too often, writers are told to change something in their stories that is vital to the core of the story, based on what the publishing company wants and is looking forward. And sometimes these changes make the story better, sometimes worse. It’s hard to say which it will do, but it’s not fun for any writer either way.
Con: I have to do everything myself, without having the advice of professionals.
There are two sides to this coin. Yes. I have full control. I can do what I want. But I don’t necessarily know what’s the smartest. My expertise lies in story craft, not cover creation, illustration, marketing, advertising, so on and so forth. Also, yes, I know how to write well, but mistakes happen. And without a professional editor, mistakes can happen a lot. This is a huge thing to take into consideration when deciding if I should self publish or not.
Pro: I don’t have deadlines.
When writing on contract, deadlines are hard and fast. A writer can get into a lot of trouble for missing a deadline, by either their agent or the publishers. From what I’ve heard, it’s also hard to negotiate a deadline.
Con: I don’t have deadlines.
And yet, writers are some of the best procrastinators in the world. The deadlines looming over them keep them on track, and makes sure things get done. That’s how authors like James Patterson and Rick Riordan are able to put out multiple books a year.
Pro: I keep most/all the money I make from book sales.
When a book is traditionally published and sold, many people need to get paid. Agents, publishers, book distributors/sellers, editors, illustrators, and finally, at the bottom of the pile, the author. Seems a little backwards, right? With self publishing on Amazon, the author keeps all of the money from Kindle sales, and 60% (minus the printing cost) from the list price on paperback books. Something Amazon does that is really cool is that, with paperbacks, it prints on demand, rather than a bulk amount. This saves on costs, and saves the planet!
Cons: The self-publishing market is over saturated.
Even authors who publish the traditional way have to market their own books. However, they have the advantage of having a trusted publishing company back them up, an agent or the publisher’s marketing team to ask advice of, and the potential budget to create amazing commercials and ads. Not to mention the small fact that their books will also be sold in stores and in libraries. I’m not sure how self publishing works with stores and libraries yet, but just a quick scroll through my Amazon Kindle Store showed me that there are a lot of self published books, and how easily it would be for mine to get lost in the mix, even with a lot of advertising. This fact is more than a little daunting, but something I will have to try to overcome if I decide to self publish.
Pro: I keep the rights to my book.
This is pretty self explanatory, and pretty big. If I don’t sell the manuscript, and I publish it myself, it belongs fully to me and me only.
While there are plenty of great pros and horrifying cons, I think it is still worth it to self publish a book, especially when looking at different best selling titles that started as self published. These include Eragon, by Christopher Paolini, The Joy of Cooking, by Irma S. Rombauer, and The Tale of Peter Rabbit, by Beatrix Potter. Two out of three on this list have gone on to become major motion pictures.
So, Kelsei, to answer your question, no, I hadn’t considered selling my work on Amazon. Not until now, that is!