Being a self-published author presents us with the wonderful opportunity to partake on a journey that was previously reserved for just a select few. I have heard both sides of the argument. Advocates will argue that if a self-published writer sells 50 copies, then that’s 50 more readers that they would have never had if they hadn’t gone the self-publishing route. That’s very true and the opportunity that it represents is the reason why I’m such a huge advocate of self-publishing.
With that said, being an advocate doesn’t mean that I’m blind to the disadvantages that self-publishing brings to those who are looking to break into the industry. The problem is that most advocates hide these disadvantages.
There is no form of gatekeeper to stop self-published authors from publishing subpar books. Therefore, many of the books that are self-published are of low quality. This puts a significant distain on all self-published authors. Self-published authors will have the task of proving that their book is not one of those god awful books that are being published. Editors and agents serve as a gatekeeper for quality.
Those new to the world of publishing simply don’t understand the importance of hiring an editor or the significance of having a professional sales copywriter on their team.
I have published numerous books in my career and each one of them was made so much better through the awesome skills of an editor. The point that I want you to grasp here is that a book is only great when it has a skilled editor go through it.
A writer cannot effectively edit their own book. They are too close to it.
The issue is that skilled editors are usually expensive so people tend to skip the process. The result is that they end up publishing a book that is low quality. Start looking at it as an investment. Look at it from a reader’s perspective. If you don’t care enough about your book to invest in its success, how can you expect the reader to invest in it?
#3 Covers and Book Design
One of the biggest reasons why self-published books do not sell is due to writers trying to design their own book covers. Let’s face it, most writers are not graphics designers so they tend to just throw something together in an effort to get their book published as quickly as possible.
The cover is the first thing that a reader will see when they are looking through the large list of books available. If the cover is not professional, they will never even click to read the book’s description.
#4 Instant Gratification is a Dangerous Foe!
Self-Publishing offers instant gratification. Instant gratification is very dangerous. Let me use one of the most successful authors of our time as an example. J.K Rowling didn’t have the option to self-publish when she wrote ‘Harry Potter’. She did not even have the choice of instant gratification. In fact, the opposite was true. She was rejected by more agents than she can recollect. After each rejection, she continued to improve the book. Then when it finally got accepted, it went through even more edits. ‘Harry Potter’ has been improved so many times that it’s hard to say if the original version was even good. I would venture a guess and say that it was not.
Now imagine if Rowling had self-published that first version of her book. It would not have been as good as it is today.
I’m not saying that you have to go through traditional publishing to be successful. You just have to think like a traditional publisher. It takes more than yourself to make your book the best it can possibly be.