It’s the 1st Wednesday of the month again. That’s when I take part in Alex J. Cavanaugh’s Insecure Writer’s Support Group. I encourage you to check out their website and even sign up for the IWSG Newsletter. Today I’m going to explore self-publishing with print-on-demand, as I answer the #IWSG question for September –
What publishing path are you considering/did you take, and why?
When I first decided to write my book, Facing Cancer as a Friend, I felt as though I was looking at a timer, counting down the amount of time I had to get a platform set up and some words on the page. It was a midlife realignment of my goals. I had always wanted to be a writer, but I let life get in the way and stopped writing for a long time.
Print-on-Demand Services changed all that
Self-publishing prior to print-on-demand was often called vanity publishing, and with good reason. Prior to this evolution in the publishing industry, writers would pay publishers to print a certain number of books. Most often the author was stuck with hundreds of unsold copies by the end of their lifetime. It was an unappealing notion. Print-on-demand potentially meant that the only thing you risked by self-publishing with them, was your time and your reputation. And by 2015 when I began writing again, print-on-demand was in full swing, thanks in great part to Amazon.com and its affiliated companies such as Createspace.
There are drawbacks
Print-on-Demand has made self-publishing far more approachable to writers across the spectrum of the business. There are also some drawbacks to self-publishing, even with the benefit of print-on-demand and e-book publishing. This is especially true for new writers.
- Self-publishers who do everything themselves, often lack the professional, experienced support of editors. It’s all too common to find books that are “obviously self-published.” A multitude of mistakes and formatting errors that never would have made it past an experienced editor’s eyes fill some of these books from start to finish. It’s understandable. New self-published authors have to learn the skills of an entire team of people who would normally prepare a book for publication. My first book was no different. That’s why this year I am revising it completely to fix errors I didn’t realize I had made.
- Self-publishers have to market their book on their own. Most writers aren’t born marketers. They are writers. With the self-publishing model, writers must find time to write, edit, publish, and market their book—and then do it again. Part of marketing is having a platform. This often includes blogging and maintaining a website and a social media presence, along with your other jobs. It’s not the most efficient way to do things.
- Self-published writers are the ugly stepsister of the writing business. People often look down of them because of a few bad apples that have lowered the bar, in terms of quality.
But there’s good news
Even professional writers such as Stephen King have dipped their toe into the self-publishing world. You get a far greater percentage of the royalties, and once you are established in the business with a solid platform and a good reputation, online bookstores like Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble make marketing and selling your print-on-demand and e-books far easier.
I’m also encouraged whenever I find a self-published author who is doing it right. They are improving the quality of the print-on-demand and e-book markets. It can be incredibly difficult to break into the traditional publishing model. It’s fun to see writers also become entrepreneurs. Often they are using professional services for editing and cover creation, creating jobs and transforming the industry.
What are YOUR thoughts?
I’d love to hear in the comment section, below. I appreciate my readers as well as the writing community. To show that appreciation, I use Comment Luv. Just leave a comment below and your latest post will get a link next to it. Thank you!
I am an author, writer, and speaker and homeschooling mom of 3. Since doctors diagnosed my husband, Dan with stage IV lung cancer in 2012, I’ve focused my writing and speaking on helping cancer patients and their families advocate for themselves and live life to the fullest, in spite of their illness. My goal is to help people face cancer with grace. My books are available at Amazon.com:
I also blog about living with cancer at Facing Cancer with Grace.