My Top Five Self-Publishing Advantages
Self-published authors often feel like the younger siblings of the publishing world. As the younger sibling we may make tons of money, tell great stories. But to our insecurity none of that matters.
All too often indie authors, especially new ones, still want nothing more than to be like their older brothers and sisters at the big five. I know this because the one request I hear from new authors more than almost anything else.
“I want my book to look like a best-selling novel put out by a real publisher.”
First, if you’re going to jump on the treadmill of indie publishing you are a real publisher. Success won’t come easy. You’ll have to find an editor, a cover designer and reviewers. If you don’t behave like a publisher success won’t come at all.
Second, and more importantly, you’re not your older brother. An indie publisher releases books in a different way, to different audiences than traditional publishers. It doesn’t matter how much time you spend trying to emulate the big five. You’ll never be as good as them.
You can only be as good as you.
That can be pretty darn spectacular.
But it’s also different. And every moment that you waste trying to emulate traditional publishers instead of trying to follow self-publishing best practices is a lost sale.
So here are my top five ways you want your book to be different than one that was traditionally published.
1.) Your book can go directly to readers. First.
“We don’t need gatekeepers,” has become a battle cry for indies. And with good reason. Unlike traditional publishers self-published authors don’t have to market to book-sellers. We can find our audience and market directly to them. In my opinion, this means a new author’s shouldn’t seek out high-profile general review sites targeted to book-sellers like Kirkus, but focus on niche-specific influential bloggers and cultivated their social media presence.
2.) Your covers can be optimized for ebook sales.
Most self-published authors make the bulk of their sales through ebooks. Conventional wisdom asserts that this means your title and author name must be visible in thumbnail size. This actually isn’t so important. (Anytime Amazon displays your book right below it will be the title and author name.) What it does mean is that your book’s imagery should be compelling at thumbnail size. A super muddy, detailed painting of a tiny dragon – maybe not the best idea. A giant dragon’s eye – more effective.
3.) You want to write what’s hot, now.
Publishers acquire manuscripts years in advance of publishing them. So they’re always trying to predict what will be hot, instead of scooping up books that are. As an indie publisher you can ask your readers what they want now and give it to them
4.) You can publish fast.
Speaking of turn around, as an indie author your publishing schedule is dictated only by your writing speed and how fast your publishing team works. With freelance editors and cover design artists that can be very fast indeed. An indie author can a whole series completed, before a traditionally published author has even released their second book.
5.) You can build your own team.
When you work with a traditional publisher you get a built in team. Editor, marketers, cover designer, all of that is picked for you. This can make your life simpler. But if you don’t like a member of your team, there’s often little you can do about it. As self-publishers we get to pick our support staff.
How awesome is it that you get to craft your own group of talented individuals that is right for your personal brand?
In sum, when writers tell me that they want to be just as good as traditional publishers I tell them, “How about instead you be the best version of self-publishing you.” Because it’s so much easier to kick-butt as yourself then as somebody else.