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To Self-Publish or Not Self-Publish Your First Book (371 hits)

Deciding to publish your first book independently rather than going the traditional route is a big decision. A traditional publishing company will offer you money in advance. Then they'll edit your work to their satisfaction after which they'll publish, distribute, and promote it to your targeted audience.

Or you can write the book and do all of these things yourself. If you choose to do it yourself, there are a number of companies that will publish and distribute your book for a fee. Don't be swayed by the big ticket companies telling you all that they'll do for a large price. Shop around. You may be able to get just as good or a much better deal for much less money. And you'll need that money because after you get published, you'll have to market and promote your book. This can be daunting.

But the big thing is to decide which one it'll be.

There are five major publishing companies, mostly based in New York City. They have name, reputation, expertise, experience, and money going for them. They can take you as far as your talent and ambition can go. But they'll only consider your work if it's been submitted by an agent. Finding an agent can also be daunting. You have to write just the right kind of letter saying just what they want to hear. And who knows what anybody else wants to hear? So you're spending time writing or shooting in the dark. And you're going to receive many rejection letters before you connect with an agent. And when you do connect with one, it may or may not work out. But if you're determined and want an immediate pay day, hang in there. It might be worth it.

There are mid-size and smaller companies that may consider your work without an agent. But the word is that their influence is small and so is their money. Furthermore, all of this takes time. According to many successful self-published authors, they'd rather spend that time writing their next book.

Self-publishing your first book can be overwhelming. Just seeing your name on a book cover is enough to send you into a fit of giggles. You may be too excited to read it for a while. And when you do, you'll see nothing but mistakes. But it's yours, and you may not be able to stop looking at it.

In this process, you can see the results of your labor, but you'll have to wait for the big pay day. Experts say you have to get 3 to 7 books under your belt before realizing monetary success. And hopefully these books are well-written and edited. Amazon will definitely distribute them for you. But you have to market and promote them to your audience yourself. Many independent authors swear by social media. You'll definitely want to send out a press release. Let the people in your church, sorority or fraternity, social club and other places that people meet know that you've written a book. Also, there are several books on marketing available wherever books are sold. But a lot of this information is free online. Again, in the real world, it never hurts to tell people you know that you've written a book. Give them a copy and ask them to tell others. Word of mouth is still a very good promotional tool.

The good news is that the wave of the future is probably self-publishing. Amazon and other publishers have taken a bite out of traditional publishing forever and made getting a book to market accessible to everybody. Regardless to what the naysayers say, there's something very rewarding about taking matters in your own hands, not waiting for somebody to tell you your work is good enough and doing it yourself. Your book will sink or swim depending on your efforts. But many authors (including African-Americans) have gone this route and have been pleased with the outcome.

Writing good books, finding innovative ways of getting the word out to your targeted audience, and patience may bring you the success you want.

Happy publishing.
Posted By: Carol Gosa-Summerville
Monday, March 5th 2018 at 10:15AM
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