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Even today, authors and readers are carried towards the authenticity of traditional publishing and somewhat sceptic about self-publishing. Some wrongly think that self-publishing is a vanity business where the work is made available in the market irrespective of quality or substance, and there is no genuine review. Some even question the existence of authors who choose to self-publish. However, these assumptions and notions seem to be absolutely groundless and beyond logical support.
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Self-publishing gives an opportunity to talented authors, to bring their work into the limelight, on their own terms and deserved rights, without having to suffer in the unreasonable, exploitative chain of traditional publishing. Finishing a book manuscript in itself is a humongous task, and if again, the author has to wait for years to get it published and reach out to hundreds of publishers and literary agents, just to have them read the book proposal, is pretty discouraging and painful. Many times, agents do not even look at proposals; good manuscripts are rejected through slush piles and spam emails. Authors keep waiting for months without even an initial reply in the process of traditional publishing.
Then, literary agents can also be really expensive at times. After such a tedious process, if your manuscript gets accepted luckily by some traditional publisher, the publication process is longer; you do not have much opinion in the review and edit process or control on the copyright of the work like reproduction or distribution, etc. You are tied down by a mere 10-12% royalty (whatever is offered by your publisher) contract with maximum profits from sales going to your publisher because they have invested in getting the book done.
Self-publishing straight-away has the following benefits for the author-
- Full copyright on the content, with the ability to reproduce or republish.
- 100% profit on book sales
- Complete control on editing and distribution process.
- There is no rejection.
- It saves a lot of time and effort on the author’s part, which would otherwise be wasted in sending out book proposals to many.
Self-publishing is basically investing yourself in your book, rather than finding someone to risk his money on your work, which is by the way, hard to find in today’s world. You are the best person to judge the potential of your work than anybody else, who will care the least to analyze your manuscript in-depth as to put his money into it.
Book promotion master, John Kremer said, “You could stock a superb college library or an incredible bookstore just from the books written by some of the authors who have chosen to self-publish”, and named many famous authors who chose to self-publish.
Stephen King’s, the king of horror, supernatural and fantasy novels, self-published his first book People, Places and Things, with his best friend, Chris Chelsey. This was an anthology of 18 single-page stories published in 1960 by Triad and Gaslight Books, who was formed by both King and Chelsey when they were just eighteen.
Virginia Woolf, the most important modernist writer of the twentieth century, collaborated with her husband Leonard Woolf in 1917 and formed the Hogarth Press which published many of her novels and the works of T.S. Eliot. The first published work from the press was Two Stories, a 32 pages book consisting of two short works, one by wife ‘The Mark on the Wall’ and the other by husband, ‘Three Jews’.
American writer, entrepreneur, lecturer and publisher, Mark Twain, chose to self-publish founding his own company, Charles L. Webster & Co when he was already famous in 1884. This came out of his dissatisfaction with previous publishers and he became one of his time to earn a dual income as both author and publisher. The first two American publications of the firm, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn(1885) and the Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant (1885) were highly successful.
Still, Alice by Lisa Genova is a New York Times Bestseller and award-winning novel which has been adapted into a popular Oscar-Winning film starring Julianne Moore. But this was self-published by Genova in 2007, after being rejected from every other traditional publisher, whom she pitched the manuscript. Her grandmother (who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s) inspired her to write the book. The growing popularity from readers made the book noticeable to publishers and Simon & Schuster picked up the work for republication in 2009.
Fifty Shades of Grey by L. James is possibly the most well-known success story of self-publication in modern times. She self-published the series back in 2011 as an ebook on the web. In spite of receiving mixed reviews, it became one of the most fastest-selling international bestsellers.
Irma Rombauer’s The Joy of Cooking is a cookbook that consumed her life-savings on self-publishing. Five years later the book was picked up by Bobbs-Merrill Company and sold over 18 million copies.
For a novel or book to be successful, the content needs to be ace, and if the author has confidence in his work, the mode of publication is just a medium to get it to the world.
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