Posted on May 10, 2023 by Gold Coast Writers
Self-publishing has revolutionised the way we read, write, and shop for books. According to some estimates, over a million books were self-published in 2017 in the United States alone, a trend that continues at a breakneck rate. Trends in the Australian publishing market tend to follow those in the rest of the English-speaking world, meaning more and more authors in Australia are turning to online book publishing to get their words and ideas out into the world.
And yet, despite these fundamental changes across the industry, the traditional model of publishing still endures. So, why are so many authors of all genres, backgrounds and industries choosing to self-publish their books instead?
There are many benefits to self-publishing your next project. Here are just a few.
You’re in control. Traditional publishers typically wield final say over every step of the publishing process and book creation: marketing, jacket design, editing, even the title. By the time the final published version winds up on shelves, it’s been through so many hands, it’s hard to know how much of the author’s original vision remains.
When you self-publish your work, you take charge of the process. You have power over every aspect of the design, marketing and creative direction of the book. Of course, if your book features shoddy copyediting or a hideous layout, you may only have yourself to blame. But every element will be seen by your readers exactly as you created it.
Time is on your side. Many authors face tight deadlines for delivery of their manuscripts, then they wait for months or years for the published book to be available. A book that seemed relevant or timely while being written can be outdated by the time it arrives for purchase. Or an author’s fans anxiously await the book’s publication, then endure painful delays at the whims of a publisher’s packed schedule.
With online self-publication, you determine your schedule for delivery and release, and you have the option to coordinate your book publication with an event or book tour. Build hype with your readership by releasing chapters at a time. With the right preparation, you can publish practically the instant the work is done. And it’ll be available for purchase or review exactly as long as you want it to be. That means the only tough deadlines you’ll face are your own.
Keep your rights. When you sign a contract with a traditional publisher even a smaller independent press you surrender your rights to the material for a length of time. The publisher retains the rights over your book, even if they’ve given up marketing it. If the company folds or faces internal shake-ups, your work could languish in contractual limbo.
By self-publishing, you preserve all legal control over your work forever. You can do whatever you desire with it: revise, expand, repackage, or even delete it. And when hotshot movie producers inevitably come looking to purchase the rights for a massive global film franchise, you’ll be the only one signing that lucrative deal.
Target your niche. Most authors who find success self-publishing their work do so by understanding, and engaging with, their readers. Though the marketing budgets of the biggest book publishers might suggest otherwise, the best way to promote your book isn’t through blanket media saturation, it’s with positive word of mouth.
Of course, these days, much of that engagement occurs online. Creating that intimate bond between author and reader is easier when self-publishing your work. Use social media and online networking in conjunction with your publications to get the word out. Identify and target the readers who will actually want to read your words. Genuine reader loyalty is a relationship worth more than any book contract.
Say no to wasted inventory. The old ways of book publishing, with enormous and unrealistic print runs, often meant stacks and stacks of unsold books collecting dust. Online book publishing streamlines the production process. Services like short-run and on-demand printing leverage digital publishing technology to avoid quantities beyond what you need. That, in turn, results in lower shipping costs, less waste of resources and fewer copies of your precious work sitting in corners covered in cobwebs.
Get paid more and often. Traditional publishing houses pay their authors through advances and royalties. An advance paid upfront can be a welcome payday, but it really is just that: an advance on any payments forthcoming through sales. If you don’t recoup your advance, don’t expect to see more cash coming soon. And, in the eyes of your publisher, you’ll be considered a loss – hardly an ideal position to be in when negotiating your next book deal.
Self-publishing, meanwhile, is affordable and budget-friendly, with only minor upfront costs and no advances to make back. And, when it comes to royalties, self-publishing pays far better than old-model publishing. With a conventional publisher, an author might receive only 10 to 15 percent of a book’s list price. By contrast, self-publishing can earn an author up to 100 percent of the royalties after costs such as printing, bookstore mark-ups, and marketing.
Self-publishing also gets you paid regularly and often. While traditional publishers often make their authors wait interminably for the royalties to trickle in, self-publishing revenues are processed instantly and automatically. Seeing the payoff for your hard work racking up in real time can be incredibly inspiring when dreaming up your next opus.
For the fun of it. Remember why you started writing in the first place? Doing it yourself lets you maintain that initial thrill of unleashing your words in a published format. Self-publishing also lets you experiment with risky concepts or wild ideas in a way that traditional publishing can stifle. Let your creativity run wild with the design and feel of your book. Self-publishing allows you to share your philosophies, expertise, and stories all without any limitations on your vision.
Publicious CEO Andrew McDermott (Andy) published his first novel, The Tiger Chase, in 2002 with an American publisher. He launched the book in San Diego and followed up with a book tour of the US, including the LA China Town and Las Vegas.
On his return to Australia, he became disillusioned with the publishing industry. After being locked into an unproductive contract, earning a tiny percentage of royalties for all his hard work, and not owning any of his rights, he decided to follow the self-publishing route.
Category: Guest Author, News, ReportsTags: Author, Blog, Editing, Gold Coast Writers, Gold Coast Writers' Association, Writer
Great post Andy. Lots of really important info here.