Though not an easy or quick process, self-publishing has advantages for independent writers, chief of which are preserving their profits and independence. Self-publishing is becoming increasingly popular, building on the success enjoyed by musicians who for years now have been releasing their work online, before being offered recording contracts. By the time they are offered a contract, they already have a fan base which gives them leverage and control over their future endeavors, which was previously a source of conflict between musicians and their record labels, especially corporate record labels.
What is “self-publishing” ?
Traditionally, publishers would pay authors upfront advances and then royalties on sales of their books. The publisher would assist with editing, illustrations, book design, marketing and distributing. In return, the publisher would have control over the content and direction of a book. Self-publishing is the opposite. There is no upfront payment with limited royalties. The author now retains total artistic control and benefits exclusively from sales. The author though assumes the risks, pays for editing, illustrations, marketing and distribution. The benchmark for self-publishing success is arguably E.L. James, whose Fifty Shades books were initially self-published as hot-and-steamy Twilight fanfiction. The difficult, time consuming and expensive self-publishing journey has been increasingly made easier by the invention of the ebook format and the plethora of social media channels to market and distribute through. In addition, there is Reedsy.com to help the self-publishing author.
Author Services Sites
Self –publishing can be a lonely journey, but you are not alone. There are loads of service providers available to walk the journey with you. Author Service Sites serve to bring authors and freelance service providers together. Whilst some of these sites focus mainly on being a clearing house for top publishing talent, they also offer a range of contacts, tools and services for authors, both established and new. As one site described itself, “we are a full ecosystem for authors and publishing professionals,” and claims to be able to help writers at every stage of their publishing journey.
What Author Sites Offer
These sites connect authors with freelance professionals who can help them to self-publish. The site vets those professionals who range from freelance publishers, to editors to illustrators. It vets these professionals by verifying their previous work experience for traditional and mainstream publishers. A site will also try to establish a freelancer’s track record in the publishing industry. Some sites also offer educational courses to help new authors learn about self- publishing, the pros and cons of self-publishing and where to find help. In addition, some sites also have tools available for authors, such as software programs that will help authors to turn their files into publishing-friendly files and formats. An author services site may also have a pre-publication promotion service. For a fee, authors can publish their work pre-launch on their promotion platform, which they advertise to the industry, for vetted reviewers to download a copy for review. It is a way for authors to potentially gain exposure. Most importantly, these sites help authors to find and contract with freelance service providers, usually at a discounted rate. There are currently around 2,5 million authors registered on these sites and over 2 500 freelancers, including editors, designers, marketers and even ghost writers.
Today, just about anybody with an internet connection can write an ebook and make it almost instantaneously available to hundreds of millions of readers. The new challenge is to make these books bestsellers. Many self-publishing writers have risen to this challenge with the help of modern methods and social media, and, of course, help from others.