About three weeks back, The Guardian published an opinion piece by author Ros Barber regarding why she wouldn’t consider self-publishing as a viable means of producing her work (find the article in its entirety here).
Talk. About. Backlash.
Midnight Publishing (and me!) won’t get into dissecting Barber’s article here, because though she definitely made some valid points about the discrepancies in self-publishing authors’ quality, financial situations, marketing versus writing time, etc., it was an opinion piece based on her traditional publishing experiences (she’s not a self-published author currently). However, as an award-winning self-published author and editor for Midnight Publishing who works primarily with indie authors and small presses, I wanted to share my own opinion and insight on why you should self-publish or consider being a hybrid author (self-publishing and going the traditional route).
And if you’re curious…here are some responses to Barber’s post on various authors’ blogs:
Why you should self-publish your book according to me, author and managing editor for Midnight Publishing, Ashley R. Carlson:
1. You have the ability to build a team and create a high-quality book worthy of traditional publishing levels.
Ask any author, traditional or self-published, the single most important individual(s) who helped them on their book’s road to completion (even Stephen King), and they’ll immediately tell you it was their editor(s). Developmental editors, copyeditors and proofreaders—these are the sets of eyes you need to help you shape, revise, cut, grow and whittle your manuscript into something truly impressive, something you can be proud to sell. And with self-publishing, you have that ability. (We offer those services and more at Midnight Publishing. Contact us today to discuss your project and get you on the schedule!) The beauty of self-publishing is that you can amass such a team of professional, award-winning, highly trained editors, proofreaders, cover designers, formatters and marketers without a traditional publishing house—plus, you select them. They aren’t assigned to you by your publisher. They are professionals you feel a rapport with and personally choose, and often come highly recommended by your other friends and authors. Self-publishing does not mean scrimping on quality, and for many, it means producing the high-quality book that’s envisioned with a group of individuals who also see the vision.
I’ve heard stories from querying authors or those under contract who stated that their publishers requested them to change book titles, whole chapters, to add in romances they didn’t want, to remove characters they loved—I mean, huge differences. Huge changes. Your editor is going to suggest tweaks and revisions, they’re going to say that something “fell flat” for them, or that there was a plot hole somewhere that needs patching. They may even tell you that the title doesn’t really jive with the book, or that it’s not eye-catching. But ultimately, as a self-published author, the choice is yours whether you will change it. And for me (and many, many others), that’s an invaluable asset to choosing such a path.
2. Self-publishing allows you to share your fiction vision with the masses in a timely fashion.
I published my first novel, the young adult fantasy The Charismatics in December 2014, and since then I’ve been contacted by dozens of fans, many who’ve lived overseas. That is an incredible feeling as an author—to have my work enjoyed by people I would’ve never met otherwise, and have no obligation whatsoever to write to me, support me or tell others about my work. But they do, and that’s in part due to my choice to self-publish and continue to write and publish a series that might’ve never seen the light of day if I’d pursued the traditional route (or maybe it would’ve, but it certainly would have taken longer than six months to be published—the amount it took me from inception to publication). Self-publishing, for many, is very personal; your readers are your close friends, they have access to you through your marketing platforms, and they literally become your “street team” and marketers, touting your books for free simply because they loved them so much. Incredible! So if you don’t want to wait several years while you query and land an agent, make revisions based on the agent’s requests, then have the agent query publishers, send out half and full manuscripts, hopefully land a publishing deal, make revisions for a year based on the publisher’s demands, then wait another year for the book to actually be in print…you might want to self-publish.
3. Financially, there’s no evidence that traditional authors make more than self-published authors overall.
Several polls have actually found that the number of self-publishing authors making a living wage from their writing is actually higher than traditionally published authors—and ultimately, those authors who have chosen the hybrid route of self-publishing and traditional publishing are making the steadiest, highest income. If you want a good laugh, read this article also published by Ros Barber, mentioned at the beginning of this piece) about how, as an award-winning, traditionally published author, she’s not making a lot of money. Totally valid, and a tad depressing for her and authors everywhere. However, she then directs people on how they can support her arts through her Patreon account…so instead of selling self-published books for $3.99 a piece, she’s just asking people to make financial pledges to her.
Self-publishing, with its freedom to produce high-quality books more quickly and to build a book series and readerships and street teams and fans overseas, mathematically has to create a snowball effect for increased revenue. More books published? More chance readers will see them, buy them, like them, and tell their friends. So it’s feasible that, regardless of the already high 70-percent royalty given by Amazon to Kindle Direct Publishing e-books, you stand to make considerably more money over time by increasing your backlist and self-publishing what you write. Ten books/short stories/novella versus two books in three years? Yes, please.
Midnight Publishing is here for all your self-publishing needs! Contact us today for a free sample edit of your first 1,000 words, and we’ll help you prepare for publication or querying agents. Midnight Publishing is an award-winning, affordable book editing and ghostwriting business in Phoenix, Arizona, trusted with over two million words since our inception. Talk with us to find out what we can do for your book today!