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Thursday, October 7, 2021

The Pros and Cons of Self-Publishing

    I’ve had the entrepreneurial spirit for most of my adult life. I realized after I graduated college that working for someone else was never going to make me truly happy, no matter how much money a particular job paid me. I’ve always wanted to own a business, but the problem was I had no special skills or money to start one back in the day. And my credit was bad. Writing books wasn’t something I wanted to do at first because I didn’t see the money in it, and besides that, the Internet hadn’t been created yet. The only way to get a book deal in the 90s was to beg the traditional publishing houses for a contract, and this could take years to accomplish. I wasn’t afraid of rejection, but I didn’t want someone else to determine my fate, either.

    Fast forward to 2005 when I worked a dead-end job that barely paid me enough to make ends meet. Nights of fatigue and frustration helped propel me into a writing career on the side that year, but my skill level was amateurish at best. It took many years to perfect my craft to the best of my ability, but I realized early on that there would always be authors who were much more talented than I was. Getting a publishing contract at the time was too far out of reach for me, and I wasn’t willing to wait years to get signed by someone because my back was against the wall. I knew nothing about self-publishing but making money on the Internet intrigued me enough to give it a shot. Thirteen years and numerous setbacks later, I finally made a profit writing books in 2019.

The Pros of Self-Publishing.

    I can’t describe the joy I felt when I finally started making money writing. It was a long time coming and a sense of accomplishment because I put blood, sweat, and tears into being an indie author. The biggest advantage of being independent is being my own boss―I publish what I want, when I want, and how I want. I’m not saying this to boast―I still have a nine-to-five job so I still have to follow directives every day. However, there’s a tiny space that I call my own where I don’t have to follow someone’s orders or listen to anyone’s opinions on how I should maneuver around, and it feels good to have a steady supplemental income that I’ve created.

    For example, I prefer to write short stories and novellas even though I’ve written three full-length books because readers tend to buy books that are cheaper and shorter from authors who aren’t well known and buy more books from those type of authors at a later date if they like what they read from them. Publishing houses don’t back writers who specialize in writing short stories, so I would’ve been on my own whether I wanted to be or not. My bestselling book is a short story titled The Root of All Evil―it’s an 83-page novella that currently has 200 reviews with a 4.5 rating. I sell anywhere from 100 to 150 books of this title every month.

Publishing House

    Another example is the fact that I’m better at pay-per-click advertising than I am at social media. I use Amazon Advertising and Google AdWords to promote my books as opposed to trying to promote them on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. I’ve always been a loner, so trying to connect with people on social media was counterproductive because in my mind, I can utilize my time better when I’m writing.

    The last example I have is that I prefer to use my own pictures when creating a book cover for my novels.  I don’t know exactly how things are ran in a publishing house―I would imagine that an author has some input in how the book cover should look, but ultimately, the publisher probably has the final say because they’re the ones putting up the money to market and promote the book. I want a book that I’ve written to reflect my vision of the story, not someone else’s vision, and I always hire the same freelance graphic designer to bring that vision to life.

The Cons of Self-Publishing.

    The old adage with great power comes great responsibility rings true when it comes to self-publishing a book. Everything falls upon the indie author to promote a book―book cover design, proofreading, editing, and marketing to name a few things. It’s not uncommon for a traditional publisher to pay an author an advance of anywhere from $5000 to $20000 to write a book, and an established author can expect as much as a $50,000 advance whereas an indie author has to come out of pocket for every single expense―a self-published author is literally a small business entrepreneur.

    For example, the cost of a book cover design and the proofreading and editing of a paperback and an eBook can cost an author thousands of dollars before the book is even published, and marketing of that book will also cost the author thousands of dollars each month. Lightning doesn’t strike too often for an indie author’s first book, so one has to write multiple books in order to start seeing a monthly profit in book sales.

    In conclusion, an indie author can’t have an employee mindset and expect to become successful at writing. A business mindset and perseverance are the two key ingredients needed to sell books on the Internet independently, and the rewards are great for those authors who are willing to put their noses to the grindstone.

2 comments:

areeba said...

I am very much pleased with the contents you have mentioned. I wanted to thank you for this great article. How do you get published as a writer?

The Indie Crime Novelist said...

Thank you for your comment, Areeba. As far as getting published as a writer, I self-publish all of my books on Amazon's platform. You can simply create your own account, and Amazon gives you step-by-step instructions on uploading content.

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