It wasn’t that long ago when the only meaning of self publishing was vanity publishing. Self published authors were not considered ‘real’ authors, and could only get published by paying vanity publishers top dollar to print their books. Vanity publishers gave you no distribution, just a minimum print run of 1000 books, which once delivered to your garage, you had the pleasure of trying to distribute to bookshops yourself.
Even with this model, some authors managed to make the jump from vanity to traditional publishing. Australia thriller writer Matthew Reilly is a great example. He wrote his first book, ‘Contest’ when he was just 19. The book had the distinction of being rejected by every publisher in Australia. Undeterred, Matthew got himself a bank loan and self published 1000 copies, distributing them himself. He was finally ‘discovered’ when the commissioning editor of Pan-MacMillan discovered a copy of ‘Contest’ in a bookstore, and signed him to a 2 book deal.
Fast forward to now, and self publishing means incredible opportunities for new writers.
That’s because the advent of Smashwords, KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing), POD (Print on Demand) and the ease of creating a writers’ platform via Facebook, Instagram Twitter and WordPress has been a perfect storm of technologies enabling writers of fiction and non-fiction, to break out of the box, find readers and create their own little publishing empires.
American author Hugh Howey is another self-publishing success story. His SF dystopian saga ‘Wool’ was self published on Amazon and rapidly became a bestseller. This got the attention of an agent, who working together with Howey helped him land the first hybrid six figure print contract with major publishing house Simon and Schuster. This hybrid deal allowed Howey to retain his digital self publishing rights. Wool is currently in production as an Apple TV+ movie. Quite the journey for a little self published Amazon book.
Self publishing can bring great opportunities. In Hugh Howey’s words:
For those who want to self-publish [from the start], embrace that. There’s no stigma from publishers, so if you want to become a hybrid author, the goal is to get as many works published [as possible]—high-quality stuff—build an author platform, and trust that 10 years from now you have 20 works available and one takes off and a publisher will approach you. You have as good a chance of winning a publisher over by getting sales going through your self-published works as you do submitting to the slush pile.Hugh Howey from Writer’s Digest Interview
Self publishing gives you complete control of how your books are presented and marketed. The downside is you have to do everything yourself. Some self published writers are natural control freaks, and love this part of self publishing. However, if taking care of all the details that go into creating and marketing a book makes you feel overwhelmed, there is another way. Instead of doing everything yourself, get help. This way, you’ll end up with an equally professional product – no matter if it’s an eBook or POD (print on demand).
The self publishing space is much more crowded than 10 years ago and the competition is much more fierce. To stand out, you need to create a great product and that means taking care of the little details. So get help. Self edit as much as possible, but make your story really shine by hiring an editor. Don’t design your own book cover, hire a graphic designer. Get help marketing and launching your book.
Self publishing can be a great pathway to finding a traditional publisher. In the meantime, you can find and delight readers, build a platform, sell books, and who knows – you could be the next Hugh Howey.
Are you ready to take the next step? Madhouse Media Publishing helps indie authors like you self publish your book to the highest possible standard. We work with you every step of the way to ensure your book looks great.
Download our free eBook ‘The Real Costs of Self Publishing’ or get in touch for an obligation free appraisal.