There has been much heated debate in the writing world over the recent decisions by big-name publishing companies like Thomas Nelson (WestBow) and Harlequin (Horizons) to offer self-publishing services to aspiring authors. Many people on writing blogs, forums, and websites have engaged in discussion about both the positive and negative attributes of the self-publishing business. Here are some ideas to consider when trying to decide if self-publishing is the right option for one’s fiction novel.
Motives for Self-Publishing
Motive maybe the most important factor to consider when planning to invest in self-publishing. The author should question their reasons and expectations for the publishing venture. For instance, are they choosing self-publishing because they are tired of receiving rejection notes? Or is it because they wish to have their novel in print, regardless of whether it is ever successful or likely to reach a wide audience?
Many people choose self-publishing because they wish to produce their creative writing in a form that family members and friends can cherish for years to come. Or they may wish to keep the work exactly as they wrote it, without having to bend to an editor’s suggestions and guidelines. In such cases, the writer generally does not expect to make a profit of any kind and is comfortable with the financial cost connected to the venture.
Illusions Connected To Self-Publishing
Those who view self-publishing as an opportunity for fame and success should think carefully before investing money in such a risky business. Certainly, it can be a tempting solution for the author who is tired of being rejected by traditional publishers. But it can also be an expensive and disappointing venture for those who enter it with unrealistic expectations.
After all, marketing is a big part of selling books, and the self-published author has no one official to endorse or promote their work. Even with the advantages of the internet, it is tough for the self-published author to convince readers that their book is worth purchasing.
Alternative Options for Authors Considering Self-Publishing
Aspiring authors frustrated by the lack of publishing houses willing to view unagented, unpublished writers should consider checking out some of the small, lesser known publishers. There are many well-respected publishing companies that produce both ebooks and print books and offer their writers a contract, royalty payments, and in some cases, an advance. Such companies include Desert Breeze Publishing, Avalon, The Wild Rose Press, and White Rose Publishing. And, of course, there are many writing contests held each year that offer a chance to have one’s work read and critiqued by editors and agents.
And so, writers wishing to pursue their craft as a career should explore all the options before turning to self-publishing. There are many less costly and more promising avenues for the struggling author to take as they make their way towards publication. The self-publishing business is always an option, but for the serious writer it should probably be a last resort.