Resources for Writers
The Top 5 Reasons to Self-Publish (and 5 easily avoidable mistakes) by Tom Chalmers
If you’ve written a book, there’s a strong chance you’ll have considered heading down the self-publishing route.
Having said that, it’s important to realise self-publishing is no small undertaking. It takes guts, determination and the realisation that you’re more than capable of doing something significant without the aid of a huge publishing house. And this realisation is one of the main reasons why self-publishing continues to capture the attention of growing numbers of aspiring novelists.
There are a multitude of reasons why you should self-publish your next novel but for the purpose of this particular piece here are our top five:
- You’ll regain time
You read that right; by self-publishing your work, you’ll regain valuable time that would otherwise be lost in dealing with big publishing companies.
If you’ve ever attempted to land a traditional publishing contract, you’ll know the huge amount of time which you have to invest in the process – time that is usually lost to constant chasing, and eventual rejection.
Even if you get the deal you’ve been searching for, it can often be a long time before your book hits the shelves. With self-publishing, you gain full control (see number 5), and that means you’ll benefit from a much more efficient process.
- You’ll boost your profile
There’s something very special about self-publishing your work, and it lends a certain credence to everything you do thereafter.
If you’re an aspiring author your profile is vital to your success, and any method you can use to boost it should be taken advantage of. After all, the bigger your profile, the most likely you are to get noticed (and we don’t need to tell you that’s how books sell).
- You set the royalty rate
Most traditional publishing contracts guarantee you a 10% share of the royalties (on average). When you self-publish, you can set the rate and keep more of the profits for yourself.
The counter argument for this is that the book sales may well be less than you might gain from a big publishing house, but it’s important to remember how much time you’ll save when embarking on the self-published route – and time has great value.
The money you raise can then be reinvested into your next book, or simply retained and enjoyed thanks to all of the hard work you put into writing the book in the first place.
- You won’t have to make creative compromises
If you work with a publishing house there’s a strong chance they’ll ask for changes to be made to the novel before it can be published. With self-publishing, you can have 100% creative influence, enabling you to publish the book you want to publish.
- You’ll remain in control
When you self-publish, you remain in control of every aspect of your novel. Whether that’s the creative element (see number 4) or the channels through which your work will be distributed. You get to make the decisions – not someone else.
Traditional publishing houses get more involved than you might initially realise, which is why self-publishing is becoming so popular among aspiring writers. And that makes sense – why on earth would you want to relinquish control of your masterpiece to people you hardly know?
Avoiding common mistakes
Once the book is finished now the hard work really begins…
As a self-publisher, it’s your responsibility to ensure that your book stands the best possible chance of reaching as large an audience as possible. With the right support those countless hours spent developing plots and characters can be made utterly worth it – but there are a few common mistakes it’s best to avoid, if possible.
And here’s our top five to avoid at all costs:
- Not setting up a dedicated email address
Email will likely become one of the primary ways you communicate throughout the publishing journey. For that reason, you need a clean inbox and professional address for the purpose of promoting your book. Don’t use your personal account – set one up solely for your author work.
- Forgetting to check if the book title exists
You’re not necessarily breaking any laws if you happen to pick the same novel title as someone else, but in doing so it’ll be much harder to find during online searches. Do all you can to create a unique, engaging name for your book – you simply can’t spend too much time on this crucial stage.
- Neglecting the importance of an ISBN
Think of the ISBN as your book’s unique ID – one which no one else can claim ownership of. Forgetting to grab one will put you at a significant disadvantage.
- Forgetting to use social media
In the digital age, authors have a number of fantastic promotional tools at their disposal, and they don’t come better or more effective than social media. Use Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and other relevant platforms to promote your finished book and the stores at which it can be purchased.
- Neglecting the local community
Think libraries are a thing of the past? Think again. By approaching literary-based businesses and organisations in your local area, you stand a fantastic chance of gaining a following that resides on your doorstep. Speak to libraries and independent book stores and ask if they’d feature your work – most will be delighted that you’ve taken the time to approach them.
We hope this post has proved useful. There will always be new reasons to self-publish and you’ll never stop making mistakes as an author, but with the list above in hand we hope you can at least avoid some of the most common ones.
(c) Tom Chalmers, Founder of New Generation Publishing
New Generation Publishing was created in 2009. It is a leading UK self-publishing service dedicated to helping writers to sell their books. For further information please visit here.