If you aren't new to the literary world, you're familiar with self-publishing, which many authors have been doing. It differs considerably from traditional publishing, where the publishers publicize the author and their book. Self-publishing, on the other hand, requires a lot more hard work because the authors are responsible for promoting and marketing their own titles. There are notable authors who have succeeded with self-publishing.
You can self-publish your books through reputable coffee table book printing platforms, and these companies usually include copy editing, cover designing, interior designing, and e-book publishing in their services. That said, here's the difference between traditional and self-publishing, and how we can be successful authors through self-publishing.
Traditional Publishing vs. Self-Publishing
While the route of traditional publishing guarantees more publicity, it involves a load of challenges to be accepted by publishers in the first place. Writers usually need an agent to represent them and increase their chances of getting approved by publishing houses. Publishers invest in writers. They proofread and edit their manuscript, design the book, sell their titles in all channels, market the book, and provide publicity to both the book and the author. Traditionally published titles get the advantage of media coverage and being sold in bookstores right away.
Meanwhile, self-publishing can be done by any writer without needing an agent. In this route, writers have more control of their book's design, and they also get a lot more profit from the book's sales. Promotion and marketing have to be done by the authors themselves through social media, blogs, online ads, and connections with anyone from the media.
How to Make Self-Published Books a Success
Self-publishing author Rachel Abott advises writers to build a mailing list so that their followers can be notified when they have something new. She also says that generally speaking, a self-published book's sales will increase as the author builds up their network of followers. We could say that this implies having many followers earns you an advantage because you won't enter the industry as an author that's completely unheard of.
On being a good writer, author Adam Croft, also a self-publishing one, thinks that creative writing courses aren't a total necessity, the reason being writers possibly getting boxed to a certain method of writing that their instructors have taught them. He adds, however, that this is a generalized statement, and learning the craft is important. Writers should always be learning and see the need to learn at all times.
Adam Croft also says that success is already possible with one self-published book, but it's advisable to write and publish more. With a new book, the sales of your older title can peak, and every new title you publish will be seen by your existing writers and entice new readers as well. When you successfully gain new readers because of publishing another book, your previous work/s are likely to be noticed by them, too.
A notable author who started with self-publishing is John Grisham. He wrote his first novel in 1989 entitled "A Time To Kill", which was rejected 28 times. He then approached a small private publisher called Wynwood Press, where he had 5,000 copies of "A Time To Kill" printed. Today, John Grisham is known for his bestselling titles "The Firm", "The Pelican Brief", and "The Client".
Another self-publishing success story is Amanda Hocking's, who published e-books of the 17 novels she wrote. She was able to sell over a million copies, and in 2011, the rights of her first three books were bought by St. Martin's Press. The publishing house also acquired rights to her new four-book series called "Watersong".
Erika Leonard, more known as E.L. James, also started with self-publishing. "Fifty Shades of Grey" was a self-published novel before its rights were acquired by Vintage Books.
If these well-known authors achieved success with self-publishing, it can happen to any passionate writer as well. The journey takes time, but no road to success is an easy one. Self-publishing has given many new writers the confidence to continue doing what they love until publishing houses come knocking at their doors.