Although more and more people are taking advantage of the ability to share their work directly with readers, there are still plenty of myths about self-publishing out there. In between work and family time, you’ve been putting your all into your story for a few years now. You’ve worked with an editor and beta readers, revising the manuscript until it shines, and now you feel like it’s time to get it out into the world. You’re pretty sure self-publishing is the path for you, but you’ve heard a few things that make you wonder.
Let’s talk about five of those myths.
1. It doesn’t cost anything
It’s true that it is possible to self-publish for little to nothing, but doing so virtually guarantees you and your book anonymity. Plenty of folks have written 50,000 words, created a cover with clipart, and uploaded the whole thing to Amazon. And they are technically self-published authors for having done so.
If your only goal is to have a book on Amazon so you and your closest friends and family can download a copy, then, by all means, save your money. But, if you want to put out a book that readers and booksellers take seriously, you’ll need to be ready to invest in professional help.
2. I can do it all myself
This is also true and goes hand in hand with the first myth. But there is so much to the process of self-publishing, for those taking it seriously—editing, formatting, cover design, back cover copy, proofreading, setting up accounts with printers and distributors. Why take all that on yourself when you can get professional help and see better results?
Successful self-publishers adopt an entrepreneurial mindset, thinking of their books like businesses. That means investing so you can put out the best product (book) you can, which will ultimately lead to better sales down the road. You can absolutely bootstrap your operation and still get things off the ground. But if you have the capital to invest up front, you’ll do more than take off. You’ll soar!
3. No one actually makes money from self-published books
Most authors don’t make enough off of their books to quit their day jobs. That’s true of traditionally published ones too. However, the biggest advantage of self-publishing is that you, the author, get to hold onto 100 percent of your profits.
This means you’re likely to recoup your investment and start making money a lot sooner than a traditionally published author, who has to pay back their advance before they begin to receive royalties (a small percentage of post-advance profits).
But no one gets into the writing game for fame and fortune. You’re smart enough to realize that JK Rowling and Steven King are the exceptions. That doesn’t mean, however, that publishing your book(s) can’t be a part of how you make your living.
4. There’s no way to put out a good self-published book
This is just flat out false. Most people automatically assume self-published is code for poorly produced, but that’s not always the case. Like I said before, there are plenty of people who threw their book up online because they could. But you can spot those from a mile away.
There are other indie authors out there investing in quality help—designers, editors, etc.—whose books sit on shelves next to those from traditional publishers and no one’s the wiser. Putting together and managing a talented team will result in a high-quality book.
5. Self-published authors aren’t “real authors”
I call straight up Burly Shirley on this one. What even is a “real author”? Does that mean there’s such thing as a “fake author”?
Things that make someone an author: (1) writing a book; (2) publishing a book. Although traditional publishing comes with a certain amount of prestige, self-publishing has been growing in popularity and validity for years now. Some previously traditionally published authors have even switched to self-publishing to get in on its advantages.
Long story short: if you’re willing to invest in your story, self-publishing is a great option for writers looking to share their story on their terms.
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