More authors are choosing to self-publish than ever before, with the number of self-published titles increasing by 40% in 2018 alone. The truth is that self-publishing offers a level of control and creative freedom that traditional publishing fails to achieve. Despite these advantages, though, rumors and misconceptions around self-publishing remain. In this article, I debunk these myths and show, once and for all, that self-publishing is a viable and potentially lucrative option for authors.
Myth 1: Self-published books are not as well written as traditionally published books
There’s a lot of snobbery around books that are traditionally published. But the only real difference between traditional publishing and self-publishing is that the former goes through a set process of editing and fact-checking before it gets the green light. The fact is, there’s nothing to stop self-published authors adopting the same editorial processes, and many do. Whether you self-publish or have a contract with a traditional publisher, control over the plot and the use of language remain firmly in the author’s hands – and it’s these two aspects that truly determine the quality of a book.
Myth 2: Self-Published books do not sell as many copies
Having a traditional publishing contract does not mean that you’re going to sell thousands of books and become a world-famous author. The reality is that some books sell better than others: crime and mystery books, for instance, sell almost ten times as many copies as those in the horror genre. Non-fiction is also likely to sell better in hardback form than an eBook. Clearly, the genre you choose plays a role in the number of sales you will achieve. Competition in your genre is another factor to consider. As of 2018, there were over 80,000 memoir and biography titles available to buy. With such tough competition, you need to find a way to stand out from the crowd. Whether you are self or traditionally published, it’s your responsibility to get the word out about your book and persuade readers to buy it.
Myth 3: Self-published books require more marketing by the author
As we’ve just noted, it really is up to the author to market a book and reach new readers. The most successful authors are the proactive ones – regardless of how your book is published. To be successful, start by building an online presence to raise awareness of your work, long before your book is due. An optimized author website is the first step, along with an active and responsive presence on social media. Even after the book launch and the initial buzz dies down, you need to continue promoting your work if you want to maintain that momentum and become successful. The trick is to treat your book as a business by giving it the time and energy it deserves.
Myth 4: Self-published books do not make as much money
It’s true that the average self-published book makes less money than a traditionally published one. However, the difference in figures isn’t as clear-cut as you might think. Forty percent of all eBook revenue comes from Indie authors, so there’s a lot of potential for profit. Again, it comes down to proactive marketing. Just look at Rob Dircks, a self-published sci-fi author. He sold 10,000 copies of his debut novel in the first 12 months. His secret? Building an author platform and getting 75 reviewers on board before the release.
Myth 5: Self-published books will never end up in a brick-and-mortar bookstore
Arguably the biggest advantage of having a publishing deal is that your book is very likely to end up in a wide range of bookstores and outlets, both online and brick-and-mortar. But self-published authors shouldn’t assume that they can’t achieve the same results just because they don’t have a publisher behind them.
Although these myths around self-publishing continue to linger, indie authors shouldn’t be discouraged. Self-published sales aren’t slowing down and there’s no reason to expect a change in this trend any time soon. With the right marketing, authors have every chance of making their books a long-term success.