By AK Fielding
Last time we discussed what you should self-publish. In this article, we will consider why you should self-publish. You may have several reasons for considering self-publishing, but make sure it is not because you think you will make lots of money by doing it yourself. Below are four reasons why self-publishing may be a good idea for you.
- You want to self-publish because you have something valuable to offer others. Whatever your subject, it should be something that is not only important to you, but also important to your audience. Whether you are writing fiction or non-fiction, your work should evoke an emotion or satisfy a need that your audience has about the subject. For example, if you own a home-based business and have first-hand experience on how to meet customer needs, you could self-publish a book about how to build relationships with your customers and clients that other business owners might find useful. Similarly, if you are a college graduate who knows how to conduct research, you could self-publish a guide for other students who may need help in how to conduct solid research for academic papers.
- You want to self-publish because you want to build a good reputation for your business or yourself as a writer. Having a published work not only solidifies your reputation as a writer, but it may also lead to other opportunities. If you are writing fiction, having a self-published work may bring in a new targeted audience and possible opportunities with traditional publishers. If you are self-publishing a non-fiction work, your book may be used as a promotional piece to help grow your business.
- You want to self-publish because you are an entrepreneur. You want to control everything from the cover design to formatting and the release date of your published work. You enjoy the challenge of creating a product and watching it come to life. You are willing and able to take the risk and responsibility that comes with self-publishing your book. Note, as a self-published author you take a bigger risk, but the rewards can be equally gratifying when compared to publishing with a traditional company. Depending on your ability to work hard, produce a quality work, publish it and market it well, you have the opportunity to earn more than if you were publishing with a traditional publisher. Check out Hugh Howey’s website for a breakdown of costs and incentives for self-published authors. Again, I want to emphasize, although there is a potential for authors to maximize monetarily, your reasons to self-publish need to be greater than making a quick buck.
- You want to self-publish because you want to share your ideas sooner rather than later. Most traditional publishers require you to have an agent before they will even consider your manuscript. At the same time, most agents require you to have a solid track record before they will consider your work for representation. To be sure, there are exceptions but they are far and few in between. If you do manage to somehow find a publisher or an agent who will work with you, it could take anywhere from 3 to 6 months to get a response. Often the response may be a rejection and then the process must begin anew. By this calculation, you could potentially be waiting anywhere from 6 months to a year (or more) just to get a final decision and a contract finalized … and that is if you are fortunate enough to get a contract.
Now before you jump off to self-publish your work, remember that you must have something interesting and informative to publish. You must be willing to take on a certain amount of risk and have a manuscript worthy of publication. You must also remember, as a self-published writer, the success (or failure) of your book depends on you, so, be ready to market your work even before you publish it. If any of this sounds too difficult, remember traditional publishers expect a level of professionalism and strong work ethic from you and you should demand the same of yourself as a self-publisher.
AK Fielding is a historian, artist, writer, illustrator, and homeschool educator. Her articles on American history have appeared in the Journal of the American Revolution, Illinois Heritage Magazine, Hoosier Heritage Magazine, and her blog. Her art has appeared in galleries and national and international publications. For more information about her art and books on American history, please visit: http://trehanstreasures.com/.