Have you always wanted to write a book? Can’t afford to pay a literary agent? Don’t have time to run after literary agents? Are you hesitant about submitting an unsolicited manuscript? Most of all, are you afraid your manuscript will be rejected? Think no more. The world of self-publishing has opened up a new avenue for aspiring authors to get their work out there and become published.
There was a time when authors had to submit manuscripts to numerous publishing houses and subject themselves to equally numerous rejection letters. Margaret Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind was rejected 38 times before it was finally accepted. Since it was published in 1936, the book has sold nearly 30 million copies. Today, traditional publishing houses have become even tougher for new authors. A very small percentage is lucky enough to be picked up by a traditional publisher and even if they are, there are several conditions and clauses that have to be followed before any agreement is made.
However, all is not lost. The success of E.L. James’ Fifty Shades of Grey has made it evident that authors can indeed find success. According to The Wall Street Journal, the Fifty shades of Grey trilogy sold twenty million copies in the United States alone within three months of being available in bookstores. Another famous success story in the self-publishing world is that of Amanda Hocking. After endless rejection letters from publishers, Hocking decided to self-publish her Trylle Trilogy. She sold more than a million copies in a year and made $2m.
The point is: it is no longer a battle between being published through a traditional publisher or being self-published. The ultimate goal is to get your written work to your readers. Also, there is a high probability that a self-published author is picked up by a traditional publisher. More and more authors are now being discovered by traditional publishers after launching themselves through self-publishing.
There are several avenues available to authors who are interested in self-publishing. The largest and most commonly used is Createspace. This is an Amazon company providing free and easy to use publishing and distribution tools to authors. Most people can self-publish with a zero dollar investment through Createspace. Books are printed on demand as and when an order is received and Createspace takes care of both printing and shipping. Createspace is one of the best resources available to authors today.
Another big resource for authors interested is Lightning Source. This is another print on demand option that is cost-effective and easy to use for most writers. It offers pretty much everything that is provided by Createspace but may be a little more expensive since it has a set-up fee and charges more for proof copies as compared to Createspace. Other similar publishing services are offered by Lulu, Blurb and Xlibris.
Another terrific platform now available to authors is e-books. Digital books continue to remain the fastest-growing segment in this market. E-books also account for approximately 20% of all book sales and these figures do not include self-published e-book sales. Nearly 457 million e-books were sold in 2012. Compare that to 10 million e-books sold in 2008.
Again, Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing offers one of the quickest and easiest methods to get your books available in an eBook format. Smashwords is another equally useful and popular option. Both Kindle and Smashwords do not charge any set-up fee or initial cots and authors can receive high commissions (up to 70%) on sales.
It is true that self-publishing may not be the ideal route for all authors but it is certainly a good option for those who wish to publish their work but do not want to go through the long process generally associated with traditional publishers. It is also the best option for those who wish to remain independent and retain full control of their work. Self-publishing is also one of the best ways for authors to establish a reputation for themselves and if they are lucky, to be picked up by a good and genuine publishing house.