This is the first post in Self-published appreciation week – the brainchild of Jodie @W&SBookclub. It’s probably best that you buckle in because this discussion is going to be a doozy.
So you’re a new author, you’ve perfected that story you’ve had in your brain forever. You are damn proud of your work, and why shouldn’t you be, right? You query publishers and agents and you’re hitting a brick wall, it can be hard not to feel downtrodden and hurt by the rejection of the work you’ve put years of your life into. You find yourself considering self-publishing your work, the only thing holding you back is the negative image that appears to be attached to self-pubbed. I’m going to tell you exactly why this opinion is utter bullshit. I’m going to focus on the self-published horror genre simply because that is where my interests are strongest but is easily applicable to other genres.
The horror community has been plagued with gatekeeping, abuse, and just general melodrama. Too many instances of bullying and sexual harassment have at times made the community a toxic place to exist. But, the community has so many amazing contributors and it is only that select few that try to taint something that is inherently good and it is these people that I will be appreciating this week. So many self-published horror novels are kicking ass, those who choose to go down that road for the many positive reasons that I will list below.
Maintaining Your Rights
The biggest downside to traditional publishing is signing away your rights to your work. It’s a massive wrench and something I imagine that every author dreads. Doing this isn’t without its own set of risks and many things can happen that leave the future of your manuscript up in the air. Imagine if the fine details can’t be hashed out, you don’t have the rights to your work and you could be in purgatory for many months or years trying to regain those rights.
Complete Creative Control
You’ve written your story how you envisioned it and now you’re being told that the story or parts of the story need to be changed. Publishers are at its very heart a business, they want the final product to be marketable, if some of your story or even all of it doesn’t fit with their vision you will need to write to their tune. Imagine having no control over the book title, cover art, or even synopsis. I think this is the biggest point and one that will turn many authors towards self-publishing. Having no control at all is a terrible reality for a lot of authors.
Higher royalty payout
Being self-published means that any payment for your work goes ultimately, direct to you. No publisher is giving you a small cut from the proceeds of sales. If there was ever a reason to go self-published surely that is reason enough?
Timely Publishing Process
Ever just browsed through a publisher’s catalog and seen books advertised for 2-3 years In the future? That must be an absolute drain on authors. The timescale of writing their book to seeing it on the shelves can take years. However, self-publishers can indeed still take their time perfecting their work with edits and formatting but they can hit that publish button and have their novel on sale in a matter of hours…hey presto.
So as you can see there are many reasons to self-publish with any business you have to be willing to put in. if you market your book appropriately it will hit those audiences that will appreciate your talent and skill. Reach out to your favourite book blogger, do an interview, reach out for a book review, participate as a guest on a book-orientated podcast. All of these very small actions can make very large waves in a self-published author’s journey.
Dan Santos’ Take
Hi, Yvonne. Great piece. May I repost?
Feel free 😁
Been published by mainstream (OUP/USBORNE) and now entirely self published as Little G Books. Had an agent too. Have to say, I agree with every word of this. I remember being told by OUP they wouldn’t spend any money promoting me as they were spending their budget on X. I was ‘dropped’ from Usborne as I was a mid~list writer. Now, Oh NOW, I have a fab cover artist, whom I have chosen, no agent who ended up not sending out my stuff, and I keep far more of my earnings. And I can play around with the Amazon metadata to my heart’s content. It was a big scary leap from mainstream to entirely self published ~ a lot to learn, but so so worth it!
Thank you for such a strong post to support self-published writers! As one of those, I very much appreciate it.
Sara Flower Kjeldsen
This is so true! Indie books rock.