Self-Publishing your book and Traditionally publishing your book seems to be a great divide in the writing world.
If you mention the words “self-publishing” to say ten or fifteen aspiring authors and there will never be an answer that they will agree upon. I’m not about to suggest they come to blows, but almost every writer has a personal point of view about what they see as the way to go in the publishing world.Ask them why and for the most part, they can’t really define it, it seems there are so many choices out there, and there is less time to choose what will work for a book. There are many different plans out there, and since I’ve self-published my book, my view might be biased (Due warning).
I just said ‘self-publish my book.’
Yes, I did. Based on personal experience, I’ve gone the very much self-publishing route when I had my first book ‘published’ although it was more like printing. It wasn’t on demand publishing either, this was a small printing company where I might as well have walked over to Staples to get it done, but it was my first book. It was through a small local printing press, I got the book bound and published, and for a small fee received two hundred books for my efforts. It was for a history of a local church, and it was for an anniversary party they were holding, and they paid for the binding.
Being a new writer, I did the editing, and the manual labour of getting them to the people who wanted them in return for having my name on the book. This is at its finest a self-published book, and it was in 2003 when it made its debut, it is no longer in print, except a few copies can be found at the church. There isn’t an ISBN, but it was a good experience.
I mention of this personal story simply because I believe that research and a marketing plan are needed before planning to go the traditional publishing route or the self-publishing route. However, this can’t be considered my first book, because I simply edited many of the memories of the people who were members there.
However, it gave me the chance to have a feel for the art of writing, and the work which goes into writing. In 2008, when I first began to blog, the issue of publishing a book came back. I was writing a non-fiction book, and I knew I needed to get it out and into the hands of the right people. I had to choose the self-publishing route, or the traditional method of publishing a book.
Traditional publishing has its benefits and its drawbacks, as an emergent writer, it takes longer and there is less marketing given to the books that are published by the major publishing houses. They can help your book a lot if you have a market and a plan for them, and might save you money in the long run, if they think there will be success.
Small and medium sized publishing houses can do the job, if there is a market for your book, but will print out less or will only print out paperbacks. Some might even think it can save you money. Why self-publish when you can get a bit more anyways you might ask.
My book is in a niche market, it is about the people who were a part of the Second World War and were the Saxon people of Transylvania, Romania. This is very much a niche market. Most traditional publishers are looking for a larger audience. My option was a smaller sized publishing company, but also self-publishing, and I had many adventures with that part.
I self-published my book. I used CreateSpace for the first book I was the author of – In Search of the Lost Ones is my first book. I had a lot of help along the way, and I do think the term “self” is a bit of a misconception. I had someone edit it from content and grammar, and I had someone else help design the interior. The process might have been faster if I had chosen to try to traditionally publish but I feel that this made it a better book, as I learned more about myself as a writer and as a business person.
It’s a lot like blogging, you need time and space to make it work. You need the right people at the right time and more importantly at the right price. You need people who are willing to tell you no. It is also a lot like writing, and the questions you face as a writer. I was able to learn about marketing my book to the right audience at the right time, and over the years, I have learned that there is only the difference of preference and knowing the market when it comes to publishing, and I self-publish.
Did I just say self-publish my book?
If the market is right for you, it is a good idea to consider both options of publishing. I use the terms ‘self and traditional’ in a general way since there are many types to both methods of publishing. It depends a lot on you as a writer. I prefer self-publishing, only because I am comfortable with the level of work that is required. I’m also willing to pay for the needed pieces which come with self-publishing: design, editing, layout and media. Some writers aren’t and this is understandable. Some writers are more willing to have others help them, and aren’t comfortable with the added pressure of doing it all themselves.
I self-publish not because it gives me control, but rather because I am willing to learn from mistakes, in the effort to publish something better the next time I follow the process. I’ve learned the ups and downs, and I’ve learned that it works for me.
I’ve also learned there are benefits to considering both methods of publishing before you start the writing process, and always be willing to learn from mistakes that will happen along the way.