I’ve talked extensively about self-publishing in this blog. Naturally, since I am one myself. But I feel that it is important that I discuss the reality of self-publishing, because I think there is a lot of misinformation out there, plus some authors choose this route not fully aware of what they are getting themselves into. Granted, neither did I when I went into this, so I want to share what I’ve learned in hopes that someone looking to self-publishing would really take in account what it is all about.
To put it simply: self-publishing is about you, yourself and no one else.
By that I do not mean it is a chance to be a millionaire, an overnight success with tons of fans worshiping you. Self-publishing means you alone are in charge of your enterprise. That means you alone are the author, editor, employer, businessperson, PR and advertising specialist, and most of all, your own cheerleader. Please note that the key word in self-publishing is the word “self”, and not just “publishing”.
Based on my experience, and watching other self-published authors all over the Internet, I say self-publishing is for the strong. Since you alone have to oversee the production of your product, the selling of it and how you handle yourself during these trying times, you have to be strong enough. Authors who use major or small publishing presses have an agent or an editor to turn to sell their book, and to guide them when it comes to PR tactics. They also have an agent or publisher to rely on when it becomes overwhelming to see negative reviews. In other words, they have a team to help them. For self-published authors, the only member of their team is no one but them.
It is an accomplishment when someone produces and sells their product alone successfully. It is fantastic when they successfully handle the trials and tribulations of going solo while being an author. They alone are doing this. Friends and family may be supportive, but if they are not in the book publishing industry themselves, their support is limited, at least to me. They don’t know what it means to write, publish and sell a book, so they can only help so much.
That is why I really believe self-publishers have to be their own cheerleaders. We have to support ourselves through and through, from beginning to end – whatever that end may be. We are the sole proprietors of our business, so we need to be our biggest supporters. No one else can do that for us, and no one has any obligation to support us. Writing and selling books is a business, and that is something we all have to remember each day of our authorships. If we fail to market our books well, its our fault. If we fail to properly handle negative reviews, its our fault. If we fail to grow as an author, its our fault. There is no one to guide a self-published author. Even blog posts like this one isn’t enough to do what only a self-published author must do.
Let’s be our own cheerleaders, fellow and future self-published authors. If this is the route we chose or may choose, we need to go in ready and willing to go it alone. There is no one to guide us, so we must fill that void ourselves.