Self-Publishing - What’s it all about?

Self-Publishing - What’s it all about?
  • Tuesday 28th May -

Self-Publishing - What’s it all about?

And is it right for your book project?

Self-publishing means that you, the author, become your own publisher. It’s analogous to an actor directing and producing a film. As well as writing the book, you take on the responsibilities of a publisher to turn your manuscript into a professionally produced book: editing, design, production, marketing, and rights sales. 

The term self-publishing is a misnomer, because it implies that you do everything yourself. Very few authors have all the skills to be completely DIY. That’s why the terms independent author, or indie author, or author-publisher, are gaining popularity: they more accurately represent the process.

As an author-publisher, you call the shots. There’s no need for an agent or a publishing contract. You are your own creative director, which means you have full creative control – very liberating for anyone who has ever been unhappy with edits, titles or cover designs imposed on them by a publishing house, and very empowering at any stage of your writing career. 

You are also project manager, directing a team of experts to fill the gaps in your own skill set. Most successful self-publishing authors employ at least two paid specialists: cover designer (who may also format the interior of the book) and an editor, and often a separate formatter and a proofreader too. In many cases, these are the same freelances who work for the big publishing houses, so the quality of service is very high.

Sounds expensive? Well, the more professional your book appears, the better it will sell – so it can be a false economy to try to do more than you’re qualified to do yourself. 
But get it right, and you will be able to self-publish books that are of such high quality that they are indistinguishable from those published by the big trade publishing houses. 

And as an indie, the potential for profit will be much higher. When you self-publish, it’s possible to make as much as 70% margin on the sale of an ebook on Amazon, for example – compared to the typical 5% of cover price passed on to the author for a book published traditionally. 

Of course, your ultimate income depends on how many books you sell, so getting the marketing right is an important part of the indie author’s responsibilities. 

Unfortunately, there’s a lot of misinformation out there, particularly online – and plenty of charlatans who will tell you what you want to hear, take your money and run. So getting informed at the outset will help you make the right choices for your book project. 

Here’s an easy way to get informed: join the one-day course at Bleddfa on Sunday 16th June. Three successful indie authors, myself, David Penny and Katharine E Smith, (all making their living as indie authors) will talk you through the self-publishing process, drawing on examples fromour own work, and fielding questions about your personal writing projects. Then you’ll leave informed, equipped and enthused to give it a try! 

Debbie Young