In part 1 and part 2 of this blog post series, I explained how I landed my first traditional book deal, signed with an agent, sold more books, and then ultimately decided to leave traditional publishing behind! Following is some guidance on how to decide if self-publishing may be a better fit for you.
One of the major benefits of using IngramSpark to self-publish your book is the distribution that is made available to indie authors. When you self-publish with IngramSpark, you have access to one of the publishing industry’s largest global print and ebook distribution networks which makes opportunities to sell your books that much greater.
Every month I speak to authors who are on the fence about abandoning their search for a traditional publisher in favor of going indie. Their concerns vary, but their top two reasons not to independently publish are fronting the money and their deep-seated desire to be legitimized by outside forces within the publishing industry otherwise known as traditional publishing houses.
Back in 2005, I had written my first book manuscript for a business startup guide, and I attended a writer’s conference where I had the opportunity to pitch agents. Many requested proposals, and in the months that followed, my mailbox filled with rejection letters. Eventually, one of the agents took the time to call me and he said, “I like what you’re doing, but nobody knows who you are. You need to build an author platform. You need to be out speaking to thousands of people each year.”
You had a great book idea, you wrote a fine book, and now you think you're ready to self-publish it. Before you take that leap of faith, however, there are several things you should consider in order to publish like a professional.
As a rule, you should always be evaluating your publishing efforts to identify when and where a problem may exist. By setting up a system that quickly points out where problems exist, you can determine their cause and take steps to solve them.
When a consumer purchases a book, they don't purchase it because a specific publisher published it. They purchase it because it fulfills a need and is well-designed and edited. This means there are no “get-out-of-jail-free” cards for self-publishers. On the contrary, each and every day, self-published books must compete for shelf space and consumer recognition alongside traditionally published books. Because of this, the level of professionalism brought to self-publishing must mirror, or in many cases exceed, the level of professionalism brought to traditional publishing.
Self-aware authors know they’re taking on a challenge when they choose to publish their own work, a rewarding and exciting challenge, but a challenge nonetheless. If your goal is to sell as many copies of your book(s) as possible, it’s important to have a realistic understanding of the effort that entails. With the advancement of technology and opportunity, increase of indie publishing and small presses, and lessening of the bias against self-publishers, every author has a chance to succeed in the publishing space. Making your book available is a necessary step to achieving sales, but commitment and know-how on your part is essential to making it succeed.
The Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA) has been championing independent publishers big and small, self and otherwise, since 1983. That’s over 30 years of advocating for indie voices in the traditional publishing industry. Over this time, we’ve seen a thing or two.
Nothing makes me happier than to see an author successfully publish their first book. It is one thing to say you want to publish a book and become a published author but another to actually do it. It takes incredible focus for some to just sit still long enough to put words on a page. Not to mention that natural storytelling is a talent that few possess. There’s a story inside of all of us, but the craft of writing is one that takes discipline and practice to do well. So when someone reaches the point where they have a manuscript ready to publish, it is an accomplishment worth celebrating. Taking that one step further is to turn their publishing skill into a business.