With the popularity of Internet publishing, vanity presses, print-on-demand services and desktop publishing, self-publishing has become an easy alternative to traditional publishing. Writers have the option to bypass the work of finding an agent or publisher. Self-publishing allows writers to have complete creative control and retain rights to their work. However, self-publishing also means the writer is responsible for financing and marketing the project. The budget and effort put into marketing can determine the success of any publishing project.
While authors may dream of topping the best-seller list with their self-published book, this is not the typical reality. Even if self-publishing results in a runaway success, a lot of work, time and money will have to be sacrificed by the author in the process. With proper marketing and enough work, however, self-publishing a book can allow an author to promote her work, make new contacts and even make some money.
Marketing Makes the Difference
Not all self-published books are created equal. Because self-publishing allows authors to maintain control over every aspect of the publishing process, the author has to make the connections needed to sell a book. Traditional publishers have contacts and established credibility to get their books into book stores and make sure they are effectively marketed. How each author markets a book helps determine the book’s success. Some authors with established platforms like blogs or areas of expertise will have the connections and audience to sell a book more quickly than an author who has to establish his brand with a self-published book.
Timing Is Everything
Self-publishing can often move more quickly than the traditional publishing process. In an era of blogs, twitter and instant information, getting a timely book into the hands of readers quickly can make all the difference in the success of the book. A self-published author can take a finished book and find help editing, designing and printing it in what may be the same amount of time a publishing company would take to respond to the author’s query letter. This is especially true of first-time authors.
Self-publishers do not have to do all the technical work themselves. While self-publishing authors are responsible for all the decisions and finances, there are services to provide help with everything from printing to designing to marketing. This can create a professional product that can compete with books published by established publishing companies. The professional quality of a book’s design can help determine its success.
Changing the Game
The Internet has allowed self-publishing to find a larger audience. Books may now be published as e-books, which save the author the expense of printing. Print-on-demand services allow authors to offer a printed book without having to worry about storage and distribution. The Internet also offers free social networking sites, online communities, blogs and new marketing opportunities without the cost of traditional advertising.
Success, much like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. Self-publishing is hard work that may not have large or quick rewards. If authors work hard enough to created a professional, well-marketed product, self-publishing can bring them success. It all comes down to the professionalism of the product, proper marketing and connections, the established expertise or platform of the authors and their dedication to making their publishing dreams come true.