Self-published authors should consider the cost involved, but many do not, causing the internet to be filled with low quality, non-edited work.
According to readers on various Facebook groups, this is an issue, as many excellent quality books may get become buried under the mass of poor quality books. This may steer readers away from independently published works. But there are things you can do about this.
Editors of Facebook writing group – fantasy writers support group – explain that the issue doesn’t necessarily lie with authors not wanting to get their work polished, it lies with a lack of knowledge about the steps involved. If more knowledge is spread regarding why authors may get low star reviews, and why editing is a crucial part of publishing, this may improve in time. Many authors do not realise this, and often don’t even get close family and friends to read over their work before they hit the ‘Publish’ button.
Self-publishers often also claim publishing is completely free, which it can be if you disregard the important and crucial elements of publishing. You can create your own cover art, but it may not sell your book, as the reader can tell it isn’t professionally done (unless you are a skilled designer as well, which is a huge plus!)
So, how do you self-publish your book? You can do this via platforms such as Smashwords, Amazon KDP, Draft2Digital, and BookBaby. These platforms will distribute your book, both e-books and paperbacks, to many global retailers. They often also offer cheap services to create your cover, and sometimes even editing and formatting services. They offer the publishing process for free, in return for part of the royalties when the book sells. It is an inexpensive option to get your books out there.
Where else can you find cover artist and editors? The internet is full of freelancers who do an excellent job. Facebook groups and other social media platforms such as Twitter can be an excellent source to use. Freelance platforms such as Fiverr and Ozlance are packed with experienced and talented artists and editors.
Are there other means of publishing, which are not traditional?
Yes, many call it vanity publishing, although in many cases these companies are hybrid publishers. Hybrid publishers offer cover art, editing, proofreading, and distribution of your book, along with a little marketing. What you must do in return is pay them a sum of around $5,000 AUD.
According to many self-published authors in the Facebook writing group, this sum is much higher than the costs of self-publishing, even if you decide to outsource cover art and editing. The costs of self-publishing varied between $500 and $2,000 among the authors, and it was much less than the hybrid option.
But how do you know self-publishing can pay off?
A few examples of self-published authors are bestsellers like Bella Forest, Jean Joachim and Amanda Hocking. Marketing, as mentioned before, is a big part of self-publishing, and it can be difficult for inexperienced writers to gain the necessary skills and knowledge. A lot of research is needed before the book is out. Many decide to schedule for a pre-order period, where they experiment with marketing options, to see which one works for them.
At the end of the day, it is quality over quantity. Authors have the option to write multiple books in a year, and publish them, hoping at least one of them will sell well. Or, they can spend quality time on their debut, making sure it is as perfect and professional as it possibly can be before publishing. To gain optimal results, a marketing plan should be in place before the pre-order date.
Over all, the future of self-publishing seem bright, as long as young writers are informed about the risks of not paying for their work to be polished, and get given the tools to plan their release, and the costs involved.