Gone are the days when new authors would spend a lifetime chasing the perfect ‘Book Deal’. How many wonderful, creative, imaginative books have never been put into print because the author couldn’t find a Publisher or Agent willing to take the risk? Now authors are increasingly taking the initiative and self-publishing. Once decried as ‘Vanity Publishing’, and a mine-field of con-artists and broken dreams, in the online age self-publishing has now become a viable route to seeing your work in print. And if it takes off, a mainstream publisher may still come and take it on – and a good sales record makes this more likely than your submission sitting on their slushpile awaiting a two-minute glance.
Writers who choose to self-publish need to understand that all marketing and publicity will be down to them – but those choosing to wait for a publishing deal need to understand equally that much of the work will still be theirs. The main difference is the ease with which you can get your book on to the shelves of book stores. As a new author who has a book deal with a mainstream publisher you will possibly (but not certainly) get copies of your book on a store’s bookshelves for a month or two. Yes, that is a month or two…And let’s face facts, the number of bookstores is diminishing fast, and many outlets will only stock books by known, best-selling authors. The risk of waiting for the elusive Book Deal is the very strong probability of never seeing your work in print at all. And even with a deal, the outcome may be less exciting than you’d hoped. With a mainstream publisher behind you, sales of 2,000 copies in a books lifetime is seen as an above average outcome. Fortunately, there’s an alternative.
Have you heard of Amazon? Heard of iBooks, Kobo, Barnes and Noble? Of course you have, and so have millions of potential readers of your work. Self-publishing gives you the chance to reach them with eBook digital versions of your work – or can connect you to Print-On-Demand services that can deliver a hardback or paperback to readers worldwide, in just a few days. People can even go into their local bookstore and order one to be delivered there. It won’t be on the bookstore’s shelf, but the chances are it wouldn’t have been there anyway. With a self-published book you can take responsibility for promoting and marketing your work now, not waiting around endlessly for someone else’s approval – and then end up having to do it all yourself anyway.
If you have written a book and want to see it in print, be realistic about what is going to happen. There’s a saying that everyone has a book inside them – but how many people actually achieve it? Not that many, but be aware that most make no money from it, and don’t sell that many copies. Publish because you want the satisfaction of completing the journey, and if you can find others who will read your work that is fabulous. It’s a great feeling holding your own book in your hand, an incredible sense of achievement. You can share it with family and friends – some might even support you and buy a copy! – and with an online market you can reach out to a wider readership. Offering immediate download of a digital version of your book by one-click ordering smooths the buying process. Fewer people are buying physical books, and more of those are by well-known authors. Online, new writers have so many more options to be noticed. Ever heard of Facebook? You’re six degrees away from reaching almost anyone, anywhere, on the whole planet.
Self-publishing is an option that is open to you, but it has its own pitfalls and is not a simple or straightforward process. What you send to the printer has to be right first time – unless you want to fill your attic with 50 copies of your first Buck with the ocassionall misspelihg or blank pages… You will need an ISBN, bar-code, cover design, help with editing and proof-reading, formatting, converting text to eBook v3 format, and arranging a contract with a Distributor. When you’re self-publishing you’re responsible for everything – it can be a daunting experience.
Xenmint Publications provides services to help new authors navigate their way through this. We can help with ISBNs, cover-design, arrange world-wide distribution via a Print-on-Demand printer, and convert text to e-book format for publishing via Kindle or other online formats. Editing and proof-reading services are available. The copyright will always remain with you – and all marketing and promotion will remain your responsibility. It really is fun: our advice is if you’ve written a book, whether you choose to work with us or alone, give it a go!