That's right--they can't. And that brings up the topic of self-publishing. Self-publishing is a route many indie authors are choosing nowadays, opting to upload their ebooks to sites such as Amazon, Smashwords, and Lulu. In fact, I'm thinking about uploading one of my works as an ebook to the Kindle store. But when I make a decision, I research it thoroughly--and that's how this post came about. Below are some bullet points I've thought up on the topic of how self-publishing can help you, as an aspiring indie author:
- You choose everything. For some potential authors, this may be a turnoff--it's not easy to create an eye-catching cover, write a blurb that leaves readers craving your writing, and format your book properly. However, it can be quite the advantage if you think about it. How often do traditional publishers let you envision your own dream and then actually play it out through your book? You get to accomplish your own goals.
- The process is much quicker. If you get some outside help, it doesn't take too long to have a proofread, formatted ebook ready to go and uploaded. You don't have to jump through the hoops of finding an agent who is willing to represent your book and then waiting for the big-shot publishing editors to bring your baby out into the world. With self-publishing, you get to get it published--and get it published fast.
- If your book sells at least a few copies, you make more money. Traditional publishers don't offer you whopping royalties, and if you want to make a living as a writer by enjoying your passion and making money from it, you're not going to get anywhere publishing traditionally and accepting those meager twenty percent royalties. Self-publishing authors, with certain platforms, get up to seventy percent in royalties and are easily able to earn themselves more money.
- You keep your rights! Once a book has been published by a traditional publisher, they're your baby's new parents. Permanently. You don't get to call the shots when you want to issue a reprint of your book, and you don't get to choose if you have a sudden impulse to edit something in your book someday. You don't get to copyright your book so many times it drives you crazy with giddiness. Self-publishing means exactly that--you get more for yourself.
- You get to choose your niche. Traditional publishers may decline several fantastic book ideas because they're too narrowly focused on one corner of the whole wide world--but with self-publishing, you get to choose how narrowly focused your writing is. If you want to write about how romance authors can make money playing the guitar for tips at the local bar, go for it. No one's going to stop you when you self-publish.
- You catch the attention of major players. Yep, you heard that right. Big, intimidating publishing houses are ready to sign a contract with you if they think your self-published book is excellent and you can churn out plenty more of the same quality. Of course, you may be rebelling against the traditional publishing industry and want to avoid all contact with it--but hey, if you get yourself a nice little deal where you have to do close to nothing after working your butt off for your previous book, I'd leap at the chance. Just saying.
- Your book's lifespan can be as long or short as you want. Traditional publishers stop marketing your book and placing it on the top shelves of bookstores once it gets a few months old. They've got bigger projects to take on. But with self-publishing, you can keep your book on the Kindle store forever, if you so choose. Your book's lifespan is completely in your hands, and because of that, you can be reaping the profits of a book you wrote twenty years ago when you're ready to settle down and retire.
- Your name is splashed all over the world. Readers from all over the world get instant access to your ebook once it's out there in the world. People from a hundred countries can download your ebook and enjoy it, and once they get hooked, you'll be growing yourself a nice little international fan-base when your next book comes out. If you want to be recognized all over the world, give self-publishing a shot.
- You get quick, thorough updates on your book. Traditional publishers offer about two reports on your royalties throughout the year. Huh? How are you supposed to track your progress as a budding author if you learn about your royalty statements twice a year? It's pretty much impossible, and that's where self-publishing jumps into your canoe. You're always updated and in-the-know about your success--which means infinitely more bragging rights and a great deal less stress.
- You attract more devoted followers and readers. If you run a blog, or you write a weekly newsletter which you upload to some websites, linking back to that in the 'About the Author' page of your ebook can mean a ginormous increase in your followers. The more people that get exposure to your promotional page, the more followers you'll get. And the more followers you have, the more people enjoy your work and buy what you have to offer.
Readers, how do you think self-publishing can help you? What's your opinion on self-publishing? Are you thinking about it? And was this post informative, helpful, and engaging? Leave a comment, please!
P.S. If this post did happen to be informative, helpful, and engaging...well, I'm sure your Twitter followers are looking for another great link to check out.